It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season. It’s easy to just keep working and not notice the progress your farm is really making. But one thing that always forces you to slow down is showing a visitor the farm operation you’ve worked so hard to build. That’s when you finally get to take a step back and be proud of what you accomplished. It’s always an honor to give a farm tour and to talk up local regenerative farming and the farmers of Boulder County.
On Wednesday, July 1st, Annaliese and I had the pleasure of hosting Governor Jared Polis and First Gentleman Marlon Reis for just such a visit at Bluebird Sky Farmstead, our small farm in Longmont. They were showing support for humanely raising animals by signing HB20-1343 into law. This law will end the caging of chickens in battery cages by 2025 across Colorado. So long vertical-caged egg farms! We feel this was an important step in the treatment of Colorado’s chickens. Up to 6 million chickens will be affected positively with the signing of this bill. You can find out specifics about it at: https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/2020a_1343_signed.pdf.
On our end, it was obviously both an honor and a pleasure to host Governor Polis for the signing. We want to express gratitude in particular to the president of the Flatirons Young Farmers Coalition, Andy Breiter, for setting us up with this opportunity. Both his support and Nick Levendofsky with the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union made it a breeze to coordinate the event with the governor’s office. Nick and the RMFU were the people who brought the governor’s request to Andy in the first place. We are also grateful we have a governor who cares about the agriculture industry so whole-heartedly. Having heard before the event how much the Governor and First Gentleman care about the vitality and welfare of farm animals, I’ve always had hope for a better future for farming in Colorado. After seeing first hand how much they enjoyed being on a small farm, I now feel increasingly hopeful.
After the signing was over I was able to have a brief conversation with Governor Polis and Mr. Reis. We enjoyed cupcakes to celebrate Mr. Reis’ birthday while our chickens happily picked around and cleaned up any frosting that melted under the hot Colorado sun. We talked about how I landed in Colorado and how I got interested in farming while Annaliese got to show their daughter, Cora, our ducks and pigs. I think Annaliese really gave her an experience she won’t forget. Cora even got to pick some eggs fresh out of the coop and we gave her a dozen to take home with her.
I’ll admit, I was quite nervous about having the governor out to our farm. We spent close to a week cleaning, organizing, mowing, and weed whacking the area where the signing would be. After all was said and done, I was nervous for no reason. The governor and his office are genuinely nice people who are a breeze to work with. Getting to have a conversation about regenerative practices in farming and the goals for my own farm with Governor Polis and First Gentleman Reis reminded me that they’re just humans too. Humans who are particularly interested in the different facets of our great state. It was an honor to get to share both what I know about farming and what I hope to learn in the future. They’re both very approachable and I won’t hesitate to reach out to the governor’s office to let my voice be heard in the future. He really is listening. Information for how to contact the governor can be found here: https://colorado.gov/governor/contact-us
Well I think I can hear some chickens asking for fresh water outside, I’d better run.
Signing off from Bluebird Sky Farmstead,
Danny Dunlap, Owner/Farmer