It's been a busy spring for the Colorado Pork Producers Council (CPPC) as members try to keep monitoring happenings in the state legislature. Two bills in particular could impact the state's swine industry. Senate bill 88 (SB 88) was a swine-specific bill requiring lagoons be covered, among other things. House bill 1308 (HB 1308), a water quality bill, had been supported by the CPPC in its original form. However, amendments made it more like SB 88, and thus not good for the swine industry. At presstime, SB 88 was stalled in committee, and HB 1308 had been sent back for committee consideration.
"We don't have a lot of non-checkoff funds available for lobbying," says Brett Rutledge, CPPC member and a pork producer from Yuma, CO. "This means members of our board have been putting in a lot of volunteer hours driving back and forth to the capitol."
Water quality seems to be a major issue to Colorado's pork industry opponents. Rutledge says if neither of the proposed bills pass, a constitutional amendment has already been drafted and could end up on the ballot during the November elections.
Colorado's pork industry has been growing during the past few years. Elena Metro, CPPC executive director, says the 7-8-hour distance to packers, and relatively low supplies of corn in the state, have helped make Colorado a sow state. Many of the pigs farrowed in the state go to other states for contract finishing.
"Despite what some of the opposition groups are saying, since Colorado started major pork industry expansion in 1993, most of the pork production entities that have moved into the state have been well received," Rutledge says. "Producers here make good use of environmentally friendly technologies, and companies have been very responsible toward their neighbors."