Media Contact: Norman L. Kincaide Ph.D., Southeast Colorado Private Property Rights Council, Phone 719-388-8844, firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictured Left to Right: Rep. Edie Hooton, House District 10, Boulder, CO, Rep. Barbara Hall McLachlan, House Dist. 59, Durango, Rep. Kimmi Lewis, House Dist. 64, Kim, CO, at Hanagan Farms, Swink, CO.
Rocky Ford, Colorado — Rep. Kimmi Lewis, Colorado House District 64 and Southeast Colorado Private Property Rights Council, sponsored an Eastern Colorado Rural Agriculture Fall Tour, Saturday, October 21, 2017. Joining the tour which began at the Reid Ranch, Lincoln County, State Highway 71, were Representatives Edie Hooton, House District 10, Boulder, and Barbara Hall McLachlan, House District 59, Durango, former State Senator Greg Brophy, and Las Animas County Commissioner, Mack Louden.
The purpose of the tour was to raise the awareness of state representatives concerning rural and agriculture issues. At the Reid Ranch, John Reid along with Shad Sullivan of Ordway, explained their issues with conservation easements and how the State Land Board conducts business, particularly concerning the termination of long term leases while accommodating the desires of The Nature Conservancy.
Also joining the tour at the Reid Ranch were Shaun, Doug and Sharon Carlson of Rye, Colorado. The Carlsons detailed their experience of placing conservation easements on their C/C Ranch, which has resulted in a continuing trail of misery for the Carlsons as their easement tax credit value was later determined to have zero value. This situation has impacted hundreds of other property owners who had similar experiences that have resulted in penalties and interest and continuous harassment by the Colorado Department of Revenue.
Southeast Colorado Private Property Rights Council entertained the tour group to lunch during the Rocky Mountain Mennonite Relief Sale at the Gobin Building in Rocky Ford. Tour members then paid a brief visit to the Mennonite Relief auction at the Arkansas Valley Fair Exhibition building.
From there the tour drove south of Swink to Hanagan Farms where Eric Hanagan gave a brief overview of the farm’s operation, the formation of the Rocky Ford Growers Association, issues with finding competent labor to harvest melon and other field crops and described how agri-tourism has helped diversify the farm’s operation.
The tour concluded at Rep. Lewis’ Muddy Valley Ranch on State Highway 109 in Las Animas County. Mack Louden gave a brief history of the formation of Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site and the successful efforts to prevent expansion.
Jillane Hixson, Lamar, CO and Alan and Julie Gentz, Sterling, CO, detailed their experiences in placing conservation easements on their respective properties, which bore a striking similarity to the Carlsons.
Korry Lewis, Esq., Cheyenne, WY, reviewed National Park Service designs on the seven counties that comprise southeastern Colorado, of which one design was the Canyons & Plains National Heritage Area initiative, which was defeated in 2014.
Patricia Valverde, from Aurora, Co-director, Patient Navigator Training Collaborative, Colorado School of Public Health, gave an overview of the Baca County Mental Health Coalition, its current status and needs assessment.
The Fall Tour concluded with refreshments provided by Colorado Heritage Defenders, Lamar, CO.
Most of the issues aired dealt with state and federal government regulatory abuse, overreach, and harassment which inhibits flexibility, productivity and hence, profitability, in farm and ranch operations. Pressure from front-range growth places additional burdens on rural populations to defend their natural resources and property rights against state and federal government encroachment. It is hoped that future tours will further educate and enlighten more state representatives to the challenges that face rural, agricultural communities.
Norman L. Kincaide Ph.D.
701 N. Main St.
Rocky Ford, CO 81067