By Ashley Breitnauer
Special to The SUN
Farmers and ranchers from across Colorado will be gathering Nov. 20-23 for Colorado Farm Bureau’s 96th annual meeting at the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center. This year’s annual meeting theme is “Tradition, Perseverance and Vision.” Sustaining tradition, persevering through disasters and creating vision is the common bond between farmers and ranchers in Colorado.
“We are excited to gather our membership once again for our state annual meeting, where we will develop policy, elect new leaders and gain new skills that will help Colorado Farm Bureau continue on the path of success,” said Don Shawcroft, president of Colorado Farm Bureau.
The meeting kicks off with the general session, where Shawcroft and Executive Vice President Chad Vorthmann will speak about current issues facing Colorado farms and ranches. General session will also have two keynote speakers — New Zealand ambassador Mike Moore and former Colorado House Rep. Rob Witwer.
CFB members and counties then will be recognized for their efforts to grow CFB at the awards luncheon. Following the luncheon, there will be a trade panel discussion that will provide members insight on how world trade impacts the agricultural industry. The trade panel will consist of Colorado Agriculture Commissioner John Salazar, Moore, Canadian Consul General Marcy Grossman, U.S. Meat Export Federation Senior Vice President for Trade Access Thad Lively and Leprino Vice President of Dairy Policy and Procurement Sue Taylor.
Leadership training and education are also a part of the conference. Matt Rush, a motivational speaker and family farmer from New Mexico, will speak on leadership development and Julie Tesch, American Farm Bureau Federation director of the foundation of agriculture, will speak on how to implement agricultural education programs on the local level.
Young members from around the state have been studying and preparing for the YF&R and Collegiate Farm Bureau discussion meets. During the annual meeting, these members will discuss a wide variety of topics pertinent to the state and national future of agriculture.
During the annual event, voting delegates will set policies for the Colorado Farm Bureau for 2015, make recommendations for American Farm Bureau Federation policy and elect District 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 directors, Young Farmer and Rancher chair, and Women’s Leadership Committee chair.
Throughout the meeting, a silent and live auction will be held to benefit agricultural education efforts.
The meeting will close with the annual banquet, where the Service to Agriculture Award winners will be recognized.
“Each year we honor people who have made significant contributions to Farm Bureau and agriculture,” said Shawcroft.
Colorado Farm Bureau is the state’s largest grassroots organization with over 24,000 members. Colorado Farm Bureau seeks to promote and protect the future of agriculture and rural values.