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Orgainic bill in Colorado passes muster

DENVER>>In a sensible move by Republicans and Democrats of the State, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union’s (RMFU) organic certification bill (H.B. 1198) was passed out of committee 9-0. RMFU’s country-of-origin notification bill (H.B. 1157) did not fare as well, dying on a 5-4 vote.

“H.B. 1198 carried bi-partisan co-sponsorship in the House,” said John Stencel, RMFU president. “I am pleased to see that it also received bi-partisan support in the committee.”

The bill, which allows the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) to pursue accreditation to be a certifying agency with USDA, will be an important tool for organic producers in the state to fully exploit the organic market.

“The organic industry in this state is one of the strongest in the nation,” commented Stencel, “I agree with the committee’s decision to keep the CDA squarely involved in Colorado’s organic industry.” There was no testimony opposing the legislation. Supporters of the bill were numerous and included organic farmers from across Colorado. “I depend on the organic label to realize a premium for my potatoes,” said Ernest New, a farmer from Mosca, Colo. “The organic industry hinges on integrity, that is why we need good certification at a reasonable cost.”

“The leadership demonstrated in regard to this organics bill by both the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Tom Plant, D-Nederland, and Chairman Bill Sinclair, R-Colorado Springs, is commendable,” commented Stencel.

Disappointment over the loss of country-of-origin legislation tempered the success of the organics bill. “Country-of-origin is an issue whose time has come,” said Stencel. “Consumers want to know where their food comes from, and producers are proud to put ‘U.S.A.’ notification on their products.”

Stencel added that Rep. Bryan Jameson, D-Ft. Collins, the bill’s sponsor, helped make this a critical issue. “His support of this legislation will not be lost on his constituents who want to know the origin of their food.”

Producers testifying for H.B 1198
Ernest New, Mosca, Colo. (719) 378-2142
Thomas Cameron, Palisade, Colo. (970) 464-5836
John Kretsinger, Mosca, Colo. (719) 589-0429
John Ellis, Boulder, Colo. (303) 440-0750

Producer testifying for H.B. 1157
Barb Marty, Brighton, Colo. (303) 288-0645