Gardner Wheat Tour visits Kit Carson, Lincoln counties
U.S. Congressman Cory Gardner joined Colorado Association of Wheat Growers and Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee officers and staff to tour wheat farms in Kit Carson and Lincoln counties in eastern Colorado on May 29.
Gardner, whose 4th Congressional District accounted for 87 percent of Colorado's total wheat production in 2011, valued at $473.4 million, visited the Randy Wilks farm near Burlington, Dorman Brothers in Burlington, and Homestead Farms at Genoa. About 60 area wheat producers joined the Congressman for lunch at Dorman Brothers and 50 attended the dinner at Homestead Farms, hosted by the Beedy family. Gordon Insurance of Limon co-sponsored the meals.
During the farm visits, the program included brief remarks from CAWG President Randy Traxler, CWAC Vice President Sara Olsen, and hosts Randy Wilks and Steve Beedy, followed by Gardner speaking to the crowd and taking questions.
Gardner spoke about the challenges ahead for Congress before the end of the year. Gardner said it is important for Congress to move on estate tax as well as the farm bill this year.
"I don't think that extending the farm bill is good enough," Gardner said.
"The 2012 farm bill needs to do three things," Gardner said. "It should maintain a safety net for agriculture, it should let you do what you do best--manage your farm or ranch and keep the government out of your way, and it should provide rural development, new opportunities for agriculture to grow rural and small town economies."
CAWG officers presented their concerns to the Congressman, including the 2012 farm bill, crop insurance, burdensome EPA regulations, and transportation. CWAC officers also discussed trade issues and the need for congressional funding of wheat research at Colorado State University and the Central Great Plains Research Station with Gardner.
CAWG President Randy Traxler said Colorado is lucky to have a Congressman who is as knowledgeable about agriculture as Gardner.
"His knowledge of agriculture makes him unique. He has a strong understanding of what Colorado needs in the 2012 farm bill," Traxler said.
CAWG and CWAC are two distinctly separate organizations with different but complementary purposes. CAWG is a voluntary membership association that lobbies on behalf of wheat growers at the state and national levels of government and provides special programs and benefits to dues paying members. CWAC is the producer-elected Board of Control for the Colorado Wheat Marketing Order whose purpose is to invest producer assessment funds to work in strategic areas of research, promotion and education activities.