(Above: Governor Polis, Paul Dawson of United Wind and Erick Farmer of Heritage Dairy)
This past Wednesday, CLA members from the Yuma area hosted a tour of their wind turbines and facilities for Governor Jared Polis and Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg.
Erick Farmer, owner of Heritage Dairy, talked about his 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% 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. We are proud to be part of this movement,” said Erick Farmer. “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, Smithfield Foods; Dwain Weinrich, Colorado Operations Manager for Smithfield Hog Production and Julie McCaleb, Environmental Systems Manager, Smithfield Foods 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 (State Energy Office) tour Yuma county ag operations. 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,” stated Dwain Weinrich, President-Elect of the Colorado Livestock Association.
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 is 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 during a meet and greet hosted by the Colorado Livestock Association. Representatives from Colorado Pork Producers Council and Colorado Cattlemen’s Association were also in attendance.