There was no shortage of farmers, businesses, lawmakers and others who helped make 2016 an outstanding year for the Colorado Corn Administrative Committee (CCAC) and Colorado Corn Growers Association (CCGA). And during an annual banquet in Yuma this month, both organizations honored some of them who went above and beyond for the agriculture industry.
Colorado Corn Amicus Friend of Agriculture Award Winner: Charlie Bartlett
Charlie Bartlett was honored with the Amicus Friend of Agriculture Award, presented by both the Colorado Corn Administrative Committee and Colorado Corn Growers Association. Charlie was a long-time leader and friend of the Colorado Corn organizations, and who was recently announced as one of this year’s inductees into the Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame.
Among a number of accomplishments in his lifetime, Charlie – who was serving as the president of the Colorado Corn Administrative Committee up until his untimely passing in February – was credited with helping co-author the agriculture industry’s input for the Colorado Water Plan, and also co-founding the First Farm Bank in Greeley that was developed with a strong interest in helping ag producers.
Charlie farmed his family ground near Merino, and over the years served as the chair of the Colorado Agricultural Water Alliance (CAWA) and vice president of the Colorado Corn Growers Association, and was a long-time board member of the South Platte Ditch Company and his local school district. Charlie was a patient and thoughtful difference maker. His tireless work ethic and ability to always bring intelligent dialogue to the table – covering some of the most critical issues surrounding ag, water and organizational leadership – could only be surpassed by his big-hearted, good-natured personality, and eagerness to laugh and smile. He brought encouragement and thoughtfulness to every conversation.
CCGA Jean Sirios President’s Award Winner: Rod Hahn
Rod Hahn was honored with the Jean Sirios President’s Award, presented by the Colorado Corn Growers Association’s board of directors. Under Rod’s watch as the Member Services Action Team chair, the Colorado Corn Growers Association (CCGA) saw its sponsorships hit historic heights, with much of that being the result of Rod’s long hours spent spearheading those efforts. Additionally, Rod was a leader for CCGA in membership recruitment.
There’s no way to overstate how critical that is for CCGA. Because the Colorado Corn Administrative Committee’s one-penny-per-bushel assessment funds are prohibited from being used for political and lobbying efforts, those endeavors fall on CCGA, and their success is dependent on CCGA membership dues, CCGA sponsorship dollars and other support of the organization. Simply put, CCGA can’t be the political voice for Colorado’s corn farmers if there are no dollars supporting those efforts.
As CCGA President Dave Eckhardt stated during the banquet, “we will miss Rod’s leadership in that critical role, but look forward to all that he accomplishes in his new and well-deserved capacity, serving on the National Corn Growers Association Engaging Members Committee.”
CCGA Legislators of the Year: Rep. Jeni Arndt and Rep. J. Paul Brown
Rep. Jeni Arndt and Rep. J Paul Brown were honored with Legislator of the Year awards, both presented by the Colorado Corn Growers Association.
Rep. Jeni Arndt
Rep. Jeni Arndt of Fort Collins partnered with the Colorado Corn Growers Association during 2016 to help pass a vital water bill, House Bill 16-1228, the “Ag Protection Water Right Transfer Mechanism” measure. With that now signed into law, it allows water rights-owning producers more flexibility in leasing portions of their water to other beneficial uses – providing an alternative to the ongoing “buy and dry” trend of irrigated ground. As is the case with nearly all water legislation, this measure certainly experienced opposition, but with the help of Rep. Arndt, CCGA was finally able to push this vital measure through after several years of attempts and revisions. This new law may one day play a role in helping keep a corn farmer operating on their family’s ground, and CCGA can’t thank Rep. Arndt enough for helping the organization finally make this bill a reality.
Rep. J. Paul Brown
Rep. J. Paul Brown – a Durango-area rancher – played a key role in pushing through legislation that will further examine storage opportunities in the South Platte River Basin. House Bill 16-1256, the “South Platte Water Storage Study” measure, will require the state to research the South Platte River Basin and determine the amount of water being delivered to Nebraska in excess of what’s legally required. This legislation – which must also identify potential sites for new reservoirs – is critical for Colorado agriculture. The South Platte Basin is the most populated in the state, and is also where a huge portion of Colorado’s ag production takes place, putting massive water demands on the area. With limited storage capacity statewide, Colorado has lost more than 3 million acre feet of water since 2009 above legal requirements.
CCAC and CCGA Companies of the Year: Kum & Go, McAfee and Taft
Kum & Go was honored with the Company of the Year Award presented by the Colorado Corn Administrative Committee, while McAfee and Taft was honored with the Company of the Year Award presented by the Colorado Corn Growers Association.
Kum & Go
Prior to this year, Kum & Go was already one of the CCAC’s leading partners in ethanol-education efforts – teaming up to host the popular E85-for-85-cents-per-gallon events, among others. But they took their commitment to ethanol to another level in 2016, playing a key role in helping bring dollars to Colorado through the USDA’s Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) program. USDA awarded $600,000 in BIP grants to the Colorado Department of Agriculture, which – with matching funds from various partners – will add 84 higher-blend ethanol pumps at 17 stations in Colorado, most of which will be at Kum & Go stores. Ethanol plays a key role in cleaning our air, reducing foreign-oil dependence and boosting rural economies, but proactive companies like Kum & Go are vital to these achievements.
McAfee and Taft
CCGA took great pride in its efforts this past year that successfully helped address the county yield accuracy issues that impacted many farmers’ eligibility and payments under the Agriculture Risk Coverage County Option (ARC-CO) Program. However, much of the applause is also owed to Jeff Todd with McAfee and Taft – an attorney who has a reputation for assisting producers facing challenges similar to the recent ARC-CO issue. Not long after McAfee and Taft came on board to help farmers impacted by these questionable county yields, the Farm Service Agency distributed updated ARC-CO program payments to farmers in Adams, Baca, Bent, Cheyenne and Kit Carson counties. If not addressed, this could have had a big impact on farmers’ bottom lines, and therefore CCGA is incredibly grateful for Jeff’s legwork on this issue.
Colorado Corn, based in Greeley, is made up of the Colorado Corn Growers Association and Colorado Corn Administrative Committee. The Colorado Corn Growers Association (CCGA) is comprised of dues-paying members who are politically active, focusing on policy that impacts corn producers and agriculture in general. The Colorado Corn Administrative Committee (CCAC) oversees how Colorado’s corn check-off dollars (one penny per bushel of corn produced in the state) are spent on research, market development, outreach, education and other various endeavors. See more about the work of the two organizations at www.coloradocorn.com.