The 2014 Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture, themed “Farm to Table: What do Consumers Really Want?,” highlights emerging trends in Colorado agriculture. The event is scheduled for Feb. 27, 2014, at the Renaissance Hotel in Denver.
“Colorado farmers and ranchers provide high-quality, diverse products that help drive the state’s economy,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said. “This forum will help connect producers and consumers and encourage an ongoing dialogue about our state’s agricultural strengths and Coloradans’ food preferences.”
The Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture will include speakers from all facets of Colorado agriculture, including produce growers, dairy producers and climatologists.
“We’re approaching the entire event from the nexus of interest between consumers and producers,” said John Salazar, Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture. “Consumers and producers both care about having quality food and a vibrant state economy, two themes that run throughout the entire Forum.”
Bringing an international perspective on consumer preferences, Director Keith Schneller of the U.S. Agricultural Trade Office in Shanghai, China, will deliver the keynote address. Since he arrived in China in 2003, US agricultural exports to China have sky rocketed from $6 billion per year to more than $28 billion in 2012.* Schneller will talk about the rapid changes taking place in China, especially as the internet becomes a powerful tool influencing decisions made by hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers.
The 2014 Governor’s Forum will be hosted by the Colorado Agricultural Leadership Program (CALP), the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA), and Colorado State University (CSU). This is the first time in more than five years that the CALP will assist in the planning of the Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture. The event was originally co-created by members of CALP, CDA, and CSU.
CALP is a leadership training group that exposes emerging leaders in Colorado agriculture to the diverse aspects of the state’s farm economy. The program was re-instated last year under the leadership of Commissioner John Salazar and State Representative Jerry Sonnenberg after several years of inactivity. Now, CALP’s nearly 30 Leadership Fellows are using the knowledge they’ve gained about Colorado agriculture over the past year in order to create a dynamic program for the 2014 Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture.
“The ‘Farm-to-Table’ concept has become popular over the past several years, so I’m glad we’re taking the opportunity to weigh in on the conversation,” said Bob Mattive, CALP Fellow and potato farmer in the San Luis Valley. “I think that we have a strong agenda that will foster an ongoing conversation about Colorado’s agricultural future.”
*A previous version of this press release said “$28 million” instead of the corrected “$28 billion” figure referenced here.