How many hands are involved in agriculture? From the rancher that raises and cares for the animals, or the farmer that grows the crops, to the grocery store owners and the workers that sell the final product which provides the lunch for the children at school. What actions are being taken that affect those hands? To answer these questions, we must include those hands at the capital. 

  Regulations and restrictions are concerning Representative for Colorado State House District 64, Richard Holtorf. It has been a tough year. The regulations and restrictions for Ag employees and workers are causing effects on the overall costs of farming and ranching. When higher costs start at the production level the consumers see the increase at the grocery store. A seven hundred million dollar budget error last year because of the COVID concerns, and the effect on the economy projections by the budget analysts, brought about an excess of funds. Unfortunately however, there was a quick movement to allocate the funds to different programs, and not necessarily to the all the right programs. Representative Holtorf believes that one area to be recognized, as a smart program to fund is Agriculture in Colorado. This not only feeds Colorado, but is also a major revenue source for many families here. 

  Also, Federal funds allocated for the Cares Act were quickly pulled in by Governor Polis, who continued to quickly spend the money in existing programs as well as creating new programs. Representative Holtorf is concerned about the spending because even though the funds came from the Federal Government, the funds are still fed by the taxpayers. Concerned about responsible planning and reviewing of the needs during COVID, Holtorf looked at the Cares Act Funds to assist with agriculture. He believes the path starts with producers and leads directly to consumers.  Working together at the Senate and legislation, Representative Holtorf works to insure the basic need for food to keep our community fed is met, and he stands for those that work, from sun-up to sunset, to care for the land and animals. 

 One example is Senate Bill 21-248. Representative Holtorf was proudly the House Co- Prime sponsor of this Bipartisan Bill, which addresses the loan and or grant program for Colorado Agriculture. This transfers money to programs like the Farm-to-Market infrastructure. This provides eligible applicants with low interest rates for farms and ranches in Colorado. The fund has thirty million dollars allocated and is suggested to be divided up with twenty million for loans and ten million for grants. This has been presented as a legislative intent; the Governor of Colorado has this bill before him at this time to be considered and signed.  This will also be a good place for the smaller micro beef processing plants to look at for assistance, as well as meat shops and processors.  Direct or indirect loans could be available on or after June 1, 2023 with the passing of this bill the Bill was sponsored by, Senate District 5 Kerry Donovan, Senate District 35 Cleave Simpson, Representative 11 Karen McCormick and Representative District 64 Richard Holtorf. 

  Another would be House Senate Bill 21-234, which is concerning creation of the Agriculture and Drought Resiliency Fund. This fund would provide three million dollars for programs and mitigation in response to drought and soil conservation districts. Representative Holtorf would like the districts to be aware of the short-term opportunity that includes fifth teen thousand dollars for each district. Sponsors of the Bill; Representative District 25 Lisa Cutter, Senate District 17 Sonya Jaquez Lewis, Senate District 1 Jerry Sonnenberg, District 64 Richard Holtorf. 

Additionally, Representative Holtorf supports Senate Bill 21-079; “Deregulate Meat Sales Direct to Consumer”, which could benefit both ranchers and consumers. If passed, this will open new opportunities to provide informed consumers with quality meats directly from the packer. Prime sponsors of the Bill were; Senate District 1 Jerry Sonnenberg, Representative District 65 Rod Pelton, Representative District 62 Donald Valdez. 

Education and research of bills will keep you informed of accurate information that will affect your day-to-day life, as well as future generations. For further information on current Bills and Representative for Colorado State House District 64, Richard Holtorf, refer to future articles, State of Colorado website, and holtorfforcolorado.com 

 

Written by Juliet Lundy with information provided by Colorado State House District 64 representative Richard Holtorf.

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