Gov. John Hickenlooper to Convene Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture; Consumer Preferences, Trends to Take Center Stage

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper will welcome producers and policy makers to the 2014 Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture this week at a daylong conference focusing on consumer preferences, emerging issues, and strategies to help ensure the future success of Colorado’s agricultural industry.

“Farm to Table: What Do Consumers Really Want?” will be held Feb. 27 at the Denver Renaissance Hotel. The event will include a number of timely talks and breakout sessions. Registration is available online at

The annual event is co-hosted by the Colorado Agricultural Leadership Program, the Colorado Department of Agriculture and Colorado State University.

Hickenlooper will welcome a notable lineup of speakers during the Forum’s morning session. Others on the agenda include:

  • Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture John Salazar;
  • Dean of the Colorado State University College of Agricultural Sciences Craig Beyrouty;
  • United States Agricultural Trade Office, Consulate General Shanghai Keith Schneller;
  • Executive Vice President for Strategy, Insights & Planning for Dairy Management Inc. Alan Reed;
  • CSU Professor of Agribusiness and Agribusiness Extension Economist Dawn Thilmany-McFadden; and
  • CSU Extension Agent in Agriculture and Natural Resources in Boulder County Adrian Card.

“This year’s Forum features presentations that recognize the changing face of agriculture combined with a recognition of the traditions that have been at the core of agricultural production for generations,” said Dean Beyrouty. “Our speaking program will highlight pressing issues in agriculture including new approaches to agricultural education, innovations in production techniques, and enhancements to food safety and security.”

Agriculture remains a central component of the Colorado economy and has contributed more than $40 billion to the state economy and creates nearly 173,000 jobs each year.

“Colorado’s producers have proven themselves to be resilient and innovative, while continuing to meet the world’s needs for food, fiber, and energy,” Hickenlooper said in a letter inviting the public to the Forum.

“Insights into Colorado Consumers: A Statewide and County Perspective” will be presented by Thilmany-McFadden and Card. They will discuss research conducted by CSU that explores the tie between consumer preferences and agricultural literacy. Their presentation also will include results of a survey of consumers in Boulder County, an area where Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are hotly debated, as well as the heart of Colorado’s organic and “buy local” movements.

Other breakout sessions during the Forum will feature:

• “Weather Outlook for 2014” – State Climatologist Nolan Doesken, a life-long weather enthusiast who helped create the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow network (CoCoRaHS) to engage people of all ages and interests in tracking and mapping Colorado’s precipitation resources;

• “Consumer Preferences for Beef: Production, Safety, and Flavor” – Dale R. Woerner, assistant professor in CSU’s Department of Animal Sciences whose research experience and expertise is in fresh meat quality, pre-harvest management of beef for quality meat production, meat cookery, instrument assessment of meat products, fresh meat shelf-life, and innovative carcass fabrication; and

• “Consumer Preferences: Can They Be Changed with Greater Literacy about Agriculture?” -Michael Martin, assistant professor in Agricultural Education at CSU, whose research and teaching focus is on agricultural literacy, the conceptualizations about agriculture and agricultural knowledge levels of the general public.

The forum will be preceded by a reception from 5:30 -7:30 p.m. Feb. 26 at the Governor’s Residence at Boettcher Mansion.

The Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture is held in conjunction with the Farm Credit Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The ceremony will be the evening of Feb. 27, also at the Denver Renaissance Hotel. For information about the 2014 Agriculture Hall of Fame inductees, and to register for the ceremony, visit