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 .

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Dairy Production in Colorado

In contrast to the US, the Colorado dairy herd is increasing. In fact, the total number of milking cows in the state has grown from about 75,000 cows in 1975 to 120,000 in 2008, which is a 1.4 percent annual growth rate. However, the rate appeared to accelerate after 1990, when the dairy herd grew at about 4.1 percent, suggesting at doubling of the cow herd in about 17 years.

A number of potential issues may hinder continued growth of the industry including:
  • Continued urbanization of Colorado's Front Range that converts agricultural land to housing developments.
  • A shortage of qualified labor.
  • Costly regulations surrounding air quality and ammonia emissions.
  • The growth of the biofuels industry.

What issues are the most critical?


Bre said...

In my opinion, two of the most critical issues involving the dairy industry are the continues urbanization of Colorado's Front Range converting agricultural land into housing developments, and costly regulations surrounding air quality and ammonia emissions. Because of the steady increase of the Colorado dairy herd and total number of milking cows, the loss of agricultural land area is going to cause some major problems for agriculturists. Without the proper space needed for these animals and these businesses, the dairy industry cannot continue to prosper. These business people are going to run into problems including running out of space, and not having anywhere to run their industry. A dairy farm takes up room, away from the housing facilities. The urbanization isn't going to stop, it's just going to keep getting bigger and more spread out to the point where eventually there will be nowhere for these dairy farms to run efficiently. The other critical issue of the costly regulations has to do with our economy right now. With things becoming more expensive and laws more strict, producers are going to have a difficult time being qualified. I know from personal experience in an animal industry that right now the Humane Society and the government in general is putting outrageous regulations on things regarding agriculture and animals especially involving genetic testing and yearly requirements. These requirements are getting to the point where they are almost too costly for producers to afford, so they cannot produce effectively like they want to. Producers are going to have to be much more cautious in regards to regulations, and have the money and necessities to meet those regulations properly.

jarvis said...

The two most critical issues are the air quality, and urbanization taking land away from agriculture. If there is no land, there are no cows. If the air quality is bad, the cows could get sick and produce bad milk.

Gorrila Zoe said...

I think that out of all of these issues urbanization would be the one that would cost the biggest problem in the milk cow production. I can see how it wil cause a rather large drop in production and money the farmers have in our state. I don't see how we can try and turn everything into Urban area's because it is only hurting the ag industry in which supplies us with most all of our food. With all the expansion of urban area's I think the reason that the cows had doubled since 1990 would be the farmers are becoming more worried about the production. The second problem I think will be the emitions problem because, you can't stop an animal from farting you just can't and trying to regulate what an animals body can and can't do isn't right at all.