Discussed Importance of Exports for Rural Economic Development
Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today sat down with leaders from Colorado’s agriculture and rural communities in addition to local farmers and ranchers to discuss trade priorities and the critical part agricultural exports play in our state’s economy. Bennet was joined by Director of the Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee Steve Beedy, Vice President of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance Joe Kiely, and Lincoln County officials.
Today’s roundtable builds upon a workshop series Bennet has co-hosted throughout the state entitled: “Beyond Colorado: How to Bring Your Products and Services to the Global Marketplace". The workshops, held in Boulder, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Denver, Grand Junction, and Pueblo, are designed to help Colorado businesses looking to expand internationally.
Colorado's agricultural exports for the first six months of 2013 totaled $725.6 million, an increase of $14.5 million over the same period last year, the Colorado Department of Agriculture reported earlier this month.
“We have a real opportunity in Colorado’s rural communities to help jumpstart the economy if we look outside the box and beyond our borders,” Bennet said. “Agriculture is a staple of our economy, and we should be helping our producers find ways to grow their businesses on a global level. These discussions will help farmers, ranchers, and local leaders gain a better understanding of what resources are available to them as they look to expand.”
As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Bennet deals directly with Congress' oversight responsibilities on international trade issues and negotiations, including for the forthcoming Free Trade Agreements with Europe and Asia. Bennet has signed letters to press Japan to increase market access for U.S. Beef products, advocated for Colorado dairy interests in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, pushed for increased market access in Mexico for Colorado potatoes, and authored a letter pushing the United States Department of Agriculture and the Office of the United States Trade Representative to make bison products a priority in U.S. trade policy.
This event is part of Bennet’s tour of the Eastern Plains to highlight issues facing the region and discuss federal legislation that significantly affects rural Coloradans, including the bipartisan immigration and farm bills.