Colorado ag groups promote ‘meat-in’ day
Colorado Governor Jared Polis recently signed a proclamation claiming March 20 as ‘meat-out’ day, a state-wide holiday challenging Colorado citizens to refrain from eating meat for the day.
Polis’ proclamation caused outrage within the Colorado agriculture community. Colorado State Legislator and Rancher Jerry Sonneberg disapproves of the proclamation.
“The leaders of Colorado shouldn’t throw the second top industry of the state under the bus,” states Sonneberg during an interview with CBS4. “A meat-free holiday throughout the state of Colorado is indeed a slap in the face to the agriculture community. This contributes to his war on rural Colorado.”
Weld County, the leading county in the state for several agriculture products, was appalled by the governor’s proclamation. The county is Colorado’s leading producer of beef and dairy cattle, sugarbeets and grain production.
“My family has a long tradition of agriculture in this county,” says Weld County Commissioner Perry Buck. “Several of my friends and neighbors have deep roots for agriculture here. Dismissing their heritage and livelihood is uncalled for.”
Weld County Commissioner Scott James adds, “The governor is insistent on promoting some businesses at the expense of harming others.”
Proclamation affects NWSS
The National Western Stock Show (NWSS) released a statement noting the organization was disappointed with the proclamation. They did not, however, explain how the proclamation would have an impact on the state’s economy.
In addition, the American Hereford Association threatened to leave the NWSS, stating Polis’ proclamation was the last straw. Other agriculture leaders also threatened to move parts of the NWSS out-of-state.
“As an industry, we have to support people who support us,” says Clay Schilling, a Kansas rancher and frequent NWSS exhibitor. “Spending our tax money in Colorado is like making a direct donation to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).”
Schilling states he will no longer be attending the NWSS and will make the eight hour drive to Oklahoma to exhibit his cattle at Cattlemen’s Congress, a new stock show organization started when NWSS was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“I can either give my tax money to Colorado, which is putting out proclamations against agriculture, or I can give it to Oklahoma which is pro-agriculture.” Schilling shares. “I respect the NWSS staff who put on the 16-day event, but I will not support a state whose government is against agriculture.”
During Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitts’ speech at Cattlemen’s Congress, he said the NWSS in an important event for the beef community and he was glad the event could be held in Oklahoma.
“In Oklahoma, we are always going to fight for the ag community.” Stitts says.
He invited exhibitors back to participate in the Cattlemen’s Congress, which he hopes to make an annual event.
The Cattlemen’s Congress brought in 2,793 exhibitors from three Canadian provinces and 41 U.S. states. A total of 9,627 cattle were exhibited during the event and Stitts stated the Cattlemen’s Congress brought in $50 million to the Oklahoma City economy.
CCA proclaims meat in day
Appalled by the governor’s proclamation promoting a meat-free day, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) is promoting ‘meat-in’ day to take place on March 20, the same day as the proclaimed ‘meat-out’ day.
The CCA hopes to use ‘meat-in’ day to promote beef, support Colorado restaurants and raise money for the Beef Sticks for Backpacks program.
Paul Andrews, CEO of NWSS, says he is disappointed in Polis’ proclamation. According to Andrews, NWSS employees will be participating in ‘meat-in’ day alongside CCA.
There are several other groups hosting their own events on Polis’ ‘meat-out’ day, including the Sterling Livestock Commision in Sterling, Colo. The proceeds from the Sterling Livestock Commission will be donated to local children’s charities.
In addition, the Livestock Exchange in Brush, Colo. will be hosting their own event to promote the agriculture and animal protein industries.
Madi Slaymaker is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.