Governor’s forum focuses on future of agriculture

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, will speak at the annual Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture, Thursday, Feb. 19, at the Renaissance Denver Hotel.

The forum, themed “Learning from our Past, Cultivating our Future,” will kick off at 8 a.m. with opening remarks from Commissioner Stulp and Gov. Ritter.

The future of Colorado agriculture will be explored by members of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at Colorado State University. The details of a year-long study that addresses major issues facing the agriculture industry in Colorado, including consumer demand, marketing, environmental factors, water, labor and land use, will be presented. CSU presenters include Steve Davies, chairman of the department, and professors 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 the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) 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 council’s office of management and budget, and has had teaching assignments at Arizona State University, University of Arizona and Colorado State University.

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.

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.

Deadline for early registration is 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, by calling (303) 239-4100.

The forum is followed by the annual Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame banquet and reception. Registration for the event is separate from the forum. Information is available at or, by calling (970) 249-1465.


Jan. 30 — 2 p.m., rabbit project meeting.

Jan. 30 — 3 p.m., turkey project meeting.

Jan. 30 — 3:45 p.m., poultry project meeting.

Jan. 30 — 4 p.m., livestock declaration deadline.

Feb. 2 — 6 p.m., mandatory livestock meeting.

Feb. 3 — 6:30 p.m., Colorado Kids Club meeting.

Feb. 3 — 3:30 p.m., sportsfishing project meeting.

Feb. 5 — 6:30 p.m., Shady Pine Club meeting.

Feb. 6 — 1:30 p.m., Cloverbuds meeting.

Feb. 6 — 2:15 p.m., Colorado Mountaineers Club meeting.

Check out our Web page at for calendar events and info.