Colorado Livestock Association members from the Yuma area recently hosted a tour of wind turbines and farm facilities for Governor Jared Polis and Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg.

Erick Farmer, owner of Heritage Dairy, talked about his use of wind turbines and discussed the benefits and some of the obstacles to increasing the use of turbines throughout rural Colorado.

"Terri and I were honored to host a discussion on wind energy with Governor Polis in Yuma County. Renewables are an important part of our ag operations in both Colorado and Kansas. Our wind turbines provide approximately 60 percent of our power at Heritage Dairy, and even more at our feedyards. This allows us to not only be more efficient and cut costs, but also allows us to be part of a bigger picture of becoming more sustainable," he said. "It was important for us to also inform the Governor not only of our success with these wind projects, but to also enlighten him with the hurdles associated with renewable energy implementation in our county and state. We hope that this discussion with the Governor will help lead the path to more renewables as part of the future of ag in Colorado."

Following the tour at Heritage Dairy, the group visited Smithfield Hog Production where Bill Gill, Assistant VP for Sustainability and Environmental Affairs, Dwain Weinrich, Colorado Operations Manager, and Julie McCaleb, Environmental Systems Manager, gave a bus tour of the hog farm and talked about the benefits of using renewable energy from wind turbines to power their facility and their future plans for wind turbine construction at the Yuma operation.

"It was good to have Governor Polis, Commissioner Greenberg and Michael Turner (from the State Energy Office) tour our Yuma county ag operations," Weinrich said. "The tour highlighted livestock production along with crops that are grown in the area to feed the livestock in Yuma County. Renewable energy is a focal point for the Governor and as we concluded the visit, he stated how impressed he was with the current and proposed wind projects."

On the bus ride following the tours, Yuma County Commissioner Trent Bushner shared information about the county's impressive agricultural production and discussed how the agriculture industry is the driver in Yuma County and critical to the sustainability of rural communities throughout Colorado.

Livestock producers from the local area had the opportunity to visit with Governor Jared Polis and Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg following the tours at a meet-and-greet hosted by CLA. Representatives from Colorado Pork Producers Council and Colorado Cattlemen's Association were also in attendance.