Western Slope Disaster Declaration
The recent freeze that took out at least 50% of all produce crops along the Western Slope is now compounded by the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 crisis.
Grower and president of the Mesa County Farm Bureau Bruce Talbott says while the freeze took out about 90% of his family’s peach orchards, it is not as bad as it could have been.
Talbott “In the spring there’s a lot going on but we don’t have all the direct to consumer farm market fundraiser activity that so many people are involved in. If this occurred in late July, August, early September, and the ability to do fundraisers. Because half of this industry never sees a grocery store. Half of it is off the back of a pickup or the Rotary Club or the band or the LDS church or the boy scouts or whoever using fruit as a fundraiser and distributing a lot of it for us in a lot of places. A lot of it into Colorado but a lot of it goes into Minnesota and Iowa and Wisconsin. If we were having those issues and were not able to sell this stuff. You know if we’re going to lose it we’re a lot better off losing it now than losing it then.
Meanwhile, Colorado’s Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner are urging Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to quickly sign a disaster declaration for the Western Slope counties .
A letter signed by the senators and Rep. Scott Tipton explains that “during an already disruptive time in our economy, additional stresses and disruptions in the food supply cannot be taken lightly.