Polis budget includes priorities for diversifying ag, growing markets – Sterling Journal-Advocate

In his Fiscal Year 2023/2024 budget proposal, Governor Polis included funding for several key priorities for the Department of Agriculture and Colorado’s agriculture industry.

“Colorado agriculture is vibrant and diverse and one of the drivers of our state’s economy. The Governor’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2023-24 supports CDA’s mission to diversify supply chains, promote stewarding our natural resources, supporting future generations of ag, and improving animal health and welfare across Colorado,” said Colorado Agriculture Commissioner Kate Greenberg.

The Governor’s budget proposal includes funding for several CDA programs and department priorities. To improve volunteer stewardship programs and improve market diversity, the budget proposal directs funding for a market specialist to help create and expand market opportunities for Colorado growing producers. commodities using renewable and climate-smart agricultural practices. In particular, this position will help create market-based incentives for producers who are part of the STAR soil health program and who voluntarily implement climate and drought-smart management practices in their operations. which reduces greenhouse gas emissions, conserves water, or sequesters carbon dioxide. , among other results. As CDA works to scale the STAR program to a nationwide model, we will lead the effort to promote widespread adoption of these practices in the private market and create market opportunities for climate-smart producers.

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Included in the budget is funding for the Palisade Insectary, a critical resource for noxious weed managers and ag producers. The first part of this fund will support the improvement and expansion of the Insectary’s greenhouse. The greenhouse serves as the primary research and development facility for the 77-year-old insect operator, which imports, breeds, researches, and distributes biological control agents for the state. in Colorado. Successful biological pest control reduces production costs, reduces the amount of chemicals entering the environment, and builds colonies of beneficial insects that offer a natural, permanent pest control solution. In addition, a funding request for a new lab technician will support the Insectary’s Request-a-Bug program, which allows Coloradans to order shipments of biocontrol agents to be used as natural methods to reduce the spread of invasive species in the agricultural community and industry.

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To support emergency response and disease detection and response, the budget proposal includes additional funding for CDA’s Animal Health Division to support critical disease detection and emergency response functions. The budget also requests additional funding for a full-time Compliance Investigator and resources for a social services and mental health contractor for the Bureau of Animal Protection.

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These requests are part of Governor Polis’ FY2023-24 Budget Request document. The document also includes a request for funding that will benefit rural and agricultural communities throughout Colorado. For example, the budget includes $38.3 million for fire response, including investments in preparedness and mitigation, and another $41 million for preserving water quality and protecting water rights and access.

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