Future of Colorado Agriculture

What are the critical trends in Colorado's food, fiber and green production? Will labor, water or cash be the factor that limits agriculture’s success in the next few years? What role do rural communities play in agriculture's future?

Colorado State University is spearheading an effort to discuss, define and consider the potential paths that Agriculture may take in the next generation. We need your help to highlight the important issues and offer your vision of what lies ahead. Extension specialists with the Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics will facilitate the discussion both out in the state and on the internet.

Agricultural sectors are listed on the right-hand side of this web page. Take a look at the agricultural sectors and their respective issues, read the opinion of others, and post your own comments. You can also email comments and suggestions for discussions to futureofcoloradoag@gmail.com .

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Dairy Industry

A recent article in the Journal of Extension, "Layered Community Support for Sustainable Dairy Farming" outlines environmental, community, and economic sustainability issues related to dairy production. In a Pennsylvania survey, they found that grazing dairies are positively viewed, and nearly 70% of respondents are willing to pay a $0.50 premium for milk from grazed cows. Most respondents indicate strong support for dairy farm sustainability, especially when compared with industrial development.

Some other important findings...
  1. There was overwhelming support for dairy farm sustainability in the study region.
  2. Dairy farming was seen as being highly important to local economies. This finding, among the strongest in the study, was linked to the positive impact of dairying on employment needs of local dairy farms and the perceived benefit of dairying to the community work ethic. At the same time, low profits were recognized as a compelling issue mediating against small dairy farm survival.
  3. Vistas of cows grazing, crops growing, farm land, and freshly mowed fields were highly valued. Such core visual values associated with the green and open spaces of productive dairy agriculture cannot be underestimated in the Susquehanna watershed region.
    Dairy farm amenities were particularly valued near housing developments.
  4. The key to large dairy sustainability was advanced pollution control technology. Three of five respondents would welcome a 500-cow dairy in their community if manure runoff and odors were well controlled.
  5. Grazing dairies were far more positively viewed than large confinement farms.
  6. Agricultural land preservation policies for poor quality soil farms practicing grazing or organic farming was supported by four of five respondents.


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