CAWG in Action

While the Colorado General Assembly is in session, CAWG works for wheat farmers in by monitoring bills and issues which could affect your right to do business. In December 2013, CAWG established a Legislative Committee which meets weekly via conference call during the legislative session, to stay up-to-date on current bills. CAWG board members or alternate board members have testified at the legislature twice so far in 2013. Officers of the Colorado Association of Wheat Growers (CAWG) met with members and staff of the state’s congressional delegation to discuss issues important to Colorado wheat farmers while attending the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) meeting in Washington, D.C., January 28 - February 2, 2013. Issues that CAWG officers discussed with each congressional office were: the farm bill - especially crop insurance, research funding for the Central Great Plains Research Station at Akron, wheat research funding at Colorado State University (CSU) and federal funding for research, support of the Foreign Market Development program (FMD) and the Market Access Program (MAP) trade programs, and environmental regulations. CAWG hosted its annual state legislative lunch for Colorado state senators and representatives February 12, 2014. More than 60 legislators and aides attended to enjoy lunch with Colorado wheat farmers, as well as Simon Tafoya from the governor’s office and James Eklund, director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board.
CAWG board member alternate John Sauter (back to camera) visits with State Senator Greg Brophy (R-Dist. 1), while State Senator Pat Steadman (D-Dist. 31) and State Senator Mary Hodge (D-Dist. 25) talk with CAWG board member Chris Tallman at the CAWG Legislative Luncheon February 12.

CAWG board member alternate John Sauter (back to camera) visits with State Senator Greg Brophy (R-Dist. 1), while State Senator Pat Steadman (D-Dist. 31) and State Senator Mary Hodge (D-Dist. 25) talk with CAWG board member Chris Tallman at the CAWG Legislative Luncheon February 12.

While the legislature is not in session, CAWG continues to work for wheat farmers in Colorado. U.S. Congressman Cory Gardner joined Colorado Association of Wheat Growers (CAWG) and Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee (CWAC) officers and staff to tour wheat farms in Prowers and Baca counties in southeastern Colorado on Friday, May 31, 2013. Gardner, whose 4th Congressional District accounted for 97 percent of Colorado’s total wheat production in 2012, valued at $584.4 million, visited the Steve Shelton farm south of Lamar, and the Terry Swanson and Bill and Brian Brooks farms near Walsh and Springfield. About 35 area wheat producers joined the Congressman for lunch at the Steve Shelton farm and 40 attended the dinner at Baca Crop Care in Springfield, hosted by the Swanson family. Another tour with Gardner is planned for spring 2014. On August 21, 2013, CAWG hosted a legislative field trip to familiarize Colorado state legislators with issues facing Colorado wheat farmers and other agricultural businesses.  The legislative field day is part of CAWG’s continued efforts to educate the largely urban Colorado General Assembly about agriculture and its importance to Colorado. Only one state legislator was able to attend this year, Representative Lois Landgraf (R - Dist. 21), who represents El Paso county. CAWG and Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee (CWAC) officers and board members joined Landgraf to tour the Cargill grain elevator and train loading facility at Byers.  The group then traveled to Kalcevic Farms near Bennett for a chuckwagon lunch and a farm tour.  Lunch included a brief program from Kent Kalcevic on their family farm’s operation. Kalcevic also explained how legislative changes can affect farmers’ long-term planning, by changing laws that change farmers’ input costs or other costs to their operations. Also in September, Senator Michael Bennet and his aides visited Cooksey farms near Roggen, primarily to hear about the importance of research to the wheat industry s part of his tour of eastern Colorado during Congress’ summer recess.  Jerry Cooksey, a former Colorado Association of Wheat Growers (CAWG) president and current board member, hosted the Senator and described their diversified farming operation, including wheat seed, wheat production, cattle, corn, pumpkins and watermelons. Jerry’s father Vernon Cooksey, and nephew Dustin Cooksey also participated in the tour. Beyond discussing research, CAWG President Mark Linnebur also reminded the Senator of CAWG’s position on farm bill issues such as AGI limits and conservation compliance.