In his budget proposal for the 2023/2024 budget year, Governor Polis included funding for a number of key priorities for the Department of Agriculture and Colorado’s agriculture industry.
“Colorado’s agriculture is vibrant and diverse and is one of the economic drivers of our state. The Governor’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2023-2024 supports CDA’s mission to diversify supply chains, advance stewardship of our natural resources, support future generations, and improve animal health and welfare across Colorado.” said Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg.
The Governor’s budget proposal includes funding for various CDA programs and departmental priorities. To promote voluntary stewardship programs and improve market diversity, the budget proposal designates funding for a market specialist who will help create and strengthen market opportunities for Colorado producers who grow commodities using regenerative and climate-smart agricultural practices. Specifically, 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 that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve water or sequester carbon dioxide. , among other outcomes. As CDA works to scale the STAR program to a statewide 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.
Included in the budget is funding for the Palisade Insectary, a critical resource for noxious weed managers and agricultural producers. The first part of this funding will support the improvement and expansion of the Insectary’s greenhouse. The greenhouse serves as a primary research and development facility for the 77-year-old insect, which imports, raises, researches and distributes biological control agents for the state of Colorado. Successful biological pest control reduces production costs, reduces the amount of chemicals entering the environment, and establishes colonies of beneficial insects that provide a natural permanent pest control solution. Additionally, 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 use as natural techniques to mitigate the spread of invasive species in the community and agricultural industry .
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.
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 across 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.