In his budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2023/2024, Governor Polis included funding for several key priorities for the Department of Agriculture and Colorado’s agricultural industry.
“Colorado agriculture is vibrant and diverse and is one of the economic drivers of our state. The Governor’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2023-24 supports CDA’s mission to diversify supply chains, advance stewardship of our natural resources, support future generations, and improve animal health and welfare throughout Colorado,” said Colorado Agriculture Commissioner Kate Greenberg.
The Governor’s budget proposal includes funding for several CDA programs and department priorities. To promote voluntary stewardship programs and improve market diversity, the budget proposal designates funding for a market specialist who will help create and expand market opportunities for Colorado producers who are growing commodities using regenerative agricultural practices and climate-smart. Specifically, this position will help create market-based incentives for producers who are part of the STAR soil health program and who are voluntarily implementing climate and drought-smart management practices in their operations that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which conserves water, or sequesters carbon dioxide. , among other results. As CDA works to scale the STAR program to a national model, we will lead the effort to gain 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 Insect Palisade, a critical resource for noxious weed managers and aging producers. The first part of this funding will support the improvement and expansion of the Entomological greenhouse. The greenhouse serves as the primary research and development facility for the 77-year-old insectary, which imports, manufactures, 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 offer a permanent natural pest control solution. In addition, a funding request for a new lab technician will support Insecary’s Request-a-Bug program, which allows Coloradans to order shipments of biocontrol agents for 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 the CDA 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 throughout Colorado. For example, the budget includes $38.3 million for fire response, including investments in preparedness and mitigation, and another $41 million to preserve water quality and protect water rights and access.