Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture Explores Timely Topics; Registrants Begin with Food and Festivities at Governor’s Residence at Boettcher Mansion

The future of agriculture in Colorado will be discussed this month at the annual Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture. "Learning from our Past, Cultivating our Future" will be held on Thursday, Feb. 19, at the Renaissance Denver Hotel. Speakers will include state and national leaders in the field of agriculture including Gov. Bill Ritter, Commissioner of Agriculture John Stulp, Farm Foundation President Neil Conklin and Abner Womack of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute.

The forum will kick off at 8 a.m. Feb. 19 with opening remarks from Commissioner Stulp and Gov. Ritter. Colorado State University Interim President Anthony A. Frank also will address forum participants.

The future of Colorado agriculture will be explored by members of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at Colorado State. Details of a year-long study that addresses major issues facing the agriculture industry in Colorado will be presented.  The study, supported by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, Colorado State Extension and several Colorado agricultural organizations looks at consumer demand, economic conditions, marketing, environmental factors, water, labor practices and land use issues. CSU presenters include Steve Davies, chairman of the department, and professor’s Norm Dalsted, Steve Koontz, James Pritchett and Dawn Thilmany.   

Conklin, president of the Farm Foundation, previously served as director of the market and trade economics division of USDA’s Economic Research Service. Before joining USDA, Conklin spent six years at the Farm Credit Council as vice president and chief economist. He previously worked at the Office of Management and Budget and has had teaching assignments at Arizona State University, University of Arizona and Colorado State.

At the University of Missouri, Womack serves as senior economist with the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, of which he is a co-founder. During his employment at the USDA Economic Research Service, Womak’s work involved econometric models that focused on the structure of the global food system.

Afternoon break-out sessions will examine new technologies in fertilizers, credit and finance opportunities for agriculturalists, animal care and welfare, and the H-2A agriculture labor pilot program.    

Early registration ends this Friday, Feb. 6. The cost is $100 or $45 for students. After Feb. 6, registration is $120 or $50 for students. Registration is available at or (303) 239-4100.

A pre-forum reception will be held Wednesday, Feb. 18, at the Governor’s Residence at Boettcher Mansion from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

The Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture is hosted by Gov. Bill Ritter, the Colorado Department of Agriculture and Colorado State University with the support of the Colorado Agricultural Leadership Associates and more than 50 organizations, businesses and agencies interested in the future of Colorado agriculture.