LARIMER COUNTY AGRICULTURAL ADVISORY BOARD
November 19, 2015
Present: Jennifer Bornhoft (liaison), Tim Clouse, Brenda Gimeson (liaison), Charles Gindler (liaison), Nic Koontz, Minerva Lee, Val Manning, Gail Meisner, Greg Schreiner, Jon Slutsky, Ted Swanson, and George Wallace. Guests: Commissioners Lew Gaiter, Tom Donnelly and Steve Johnson and James Thompson from Senator Bennett’s office.
Absent: Jason Brothers, Karen Crumbaker (liaison), Sarah Fox, Debra Herston, Richard Seaworth and Zach Thode
I. Gail Meisner called the meeting to order at 12:30 p.m. Introductions were made.
II. Members interacted with the County Commissioners and discussed issues that they felt were important for the AAB to address in 2016. Commissioner Gaiter thanked the members for the presentations made in 2015 and complimented them on how well balanced the information was presented and how useful the information is to the Board of Commissioners.
Immigration issues were a top discussion item. Some issues that could be included in research and reports could include:
· The need to distinguish immigrants from refugees;
· housing for migrant workers, including Land Use Code regulations and limitations and what could be done to mitigate restrictions, federal regulations on housing, water restrictions for housing, types and location of housing needs, possible funding; etc.
Commissioners would like to see AAB research some of these issues and report back.
Discussions also included topics as follows:
· How the AAB can participate in the education of citizens including the use of Commissioner Citizen’s meetings, work sessions with various boards including planning commission and BCC, presentations to other groups, etc.;
· Land & Water Conservation district possibilities including the idea of a small mill levy proposal;
· The transfer of farming to the next generation and ideas on how to help encourage the transfer and support of new ag producers including the preservation of water rights, fulfilling equipment needs and the possibilities of incubator farms on Larimer County lands;
· Taking advantage of teachable moments and opportunities to educate public about agricultural issues;
· Revisiting Land Use Code regulations to see if keeping up with the times and agricultural needs, including ag housing and development options such as RLUP;
· The possible update of the Land Evaluation Site Assessment model for use within the County.
III. The September 9, 2015, AAB Meeting Minutes were approved, with some minor corrections to the committee reports section.
IV. The presentation on Land Tenor Issues was postponed until the January meeting due to unforeseen scheduling conflicts.
V. Charlie Gindler gave a report on the Solid Waste Recovery meeting that took place on October 14, 2015. Charlie reported this was a forum to evaluate how to handle waste in Larimer County in the future. The Landfill is set to close in 2025 so they are beginning discussions about different options available. They broke into groups with moderators to discuss what was felt to be important for the future and how the community perceives the level of services and options for service. He mentioned how interesting their vision of a complete reuse waste facility was presented for the existing landfill location. The discussions were centered around the partnerships with the government entity and the businesses and the long-term goals for solid waste.
VI. Members began to brainstorm ideas for next year’s work plan. A long list of possible topics was generated including topics for possible task/focus groups and educational topics. The list will be sent out to the members so they can categorize and group prior to January’s meeting where topic selection, prioritization and next steps will be determined.
VII. Committee reports:
· Education Committee – Will be determining priorities for topics when the ideas generated from today’s meeting are selected.
· Legislative Committee - Jon reported the Waters of the US was stayed nationally and the rule is on hold. The Interim Water Resources Review Committee tried to pull the permitting process away from regulators (EPA, Army Corp of Engineers, State Health Department) and put into Division of Water Resources. The item failed on party vote. Recommendation was for a Bill. Tim reported that USDA is changing the rules for animal/plant outbreaks—more warning from USDA.
· Water Committee – George reported that 3-4 Committee members are involved in the potential purchase of irrigated lands with the County/City. Still in negotiation so can’t speak about the details. The Committee is also involved in the 2nd phase of water sharing work which includes the merging of the work with the Poudre Runs Through it Group. A grant has been received from the Gate Foundation and they are working to defining goals and objectives. The possibilities include: Land and water bank; conservation district, possible partners, NGO’s. Still a lot of work to do.
· Question arose if need to do anything official as follow-up to the video about Centennial Livestock Animal Cruelty. The decision was that is not the role of the AAB.
· Charlie gave a brief report about the Bison Release on November 1st. This was a great partnership between various groups and received a lot of press. There was much public interest and they were happy with the experience and it was extremely successful form a public relations standpoint.
· The next AAB meeting will be held on January 13, 2016, at 12:30 p.m. at the CSU Larimer County Extension Office, 1525 Blue Spruce Drive, Fort Collins, CO. Items on the agenda will include Committee Selection, Election of Officers, brainstorm list selection and prioritization, and idea generation of AAB webpage revamp. If interested in serving as an officer for the AAB (Chair, Vice-chair, Secretary) please let Brenda know ahead of next month’s meeting.
IX. The meeting was adjourned at 3:00 p.m.