RBC — As a citizen of Colorado and the United States of America, I notice something’s wrong in Colorado. This past year I witnessed something I thought would never happen: Government agencies and so-called “grassroots” groups using our children for money and power. Colorado State University Extension set an Oct. 1, 2007, deadline for all 4-H youth to have National Animal Identification System premises registrations. Colorado FFA was following their lead when a huge resistance was born across Colorado and beyond, reaching from the Pacific Northwest to the Midwest and from border to border. CSU waited until the last minute and backed off the mandate for county fairs. Also in 2007, the Colorado State Fair required premises registration for all 4-H and FFA youth attending the state fair. That requirement was not enforced until the market sale. That’s when my phone started ringing off the hook. I witnessed lies and corruption at the highest levels of the Colorado Department of Agriculture and the Colorado State Fair. I was shocked and rendered heartsick. How could this be? What happened to the state where I was born and have lived all my life?
Something’s wrong when government offers huge grants, or what some of us view as “bribes,” to enforce or coerce an agenda that is hidden and corrupt. The NAIS program, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture is pushing in steps, has already cost us taxpayers over a million dollars. Sold to the public as being voluntary, don’t tell our Colorado kids, because it was slated to be mandatory for them. To reiterate, it is a massive government project, still in the works, upon which Congress has already poured over a million dollars to enforce. The USDA churns out more ideas and programs to get people to sign up their property into a premises registration. They like to use the word voluntary, but their “voluntary” isn’t what you have in your dictionary. These government employees are on the Colorado State Fair Board and the Colorado Animal ID Committee, pushing their agenda. This past year, they chose to target our children to get the numbers they needed. They need increasing premises registration numbers so money from big government will keep pouring in.
Something’s wrong with so-called “grassroots” groups like Colorado Farm Bureau and Colorado Cattlemen’s Association that took grant money to push this agenda. The Colorado Farm Bureau took $30,000 and the Colorado Cattlemen took nearly $8,000 just to push NAIS. If the number of premises registrations stops, the flow of money stops. Thatís where the kids come in. Jeff Goodwin, CSU 4-H youth director, issued something titled “A Few Thoughts about Premises Registration in the State of Colorado.” His eight-page document contains the number of members in 4-H and FFA that are enrolled in livestock projects. He is blatantly targeting our children in Colorado, plus, he ends that document with these remarks, “Even though premises registration is currently a voluntary program at the federal level … the bottom line … We stay the course, and in two years this will be a non-issue.” Goodwin should have been fired from his job, but I’ll bet he never missed a paycheck. Goodwin is also a member of the Colorado Beef Task Force that came up with the idea of using our children to enforce mandatory premises registration.
Something’s wrong in Colorado when we have to come up with a state bill to keep our children from being used. Thank God for real men like Colorado State Representative Wes McKinley and Colorado State Senator Greg Brophy, who drafted HB 1129 http://www. leg.state.co.us/CLICS/CLICS2008A/csl.nsf/fsbillcont3/94E78B8FE197437D872573C900542527?Open&file=1129_ren.pdf which states that the Colorado State Fair cannot mandate our kids be forced to get premises registrations. These men are truly freedom fighters, fighting for our freedom every day. They represent rural Colorado with honor. Truth be told, most people in agriculture do not like big government telling them they have to sign up with NAIS. HB 1129 is all about doing right by our kids, but it is a shame that we have to come up with state bills to protect our children. Another freedom fighter is John Reid, President of Colorado Independent CattleGrower’s Association. No one pays or reimburses him for his volunteer work opposing the NAIS monster. He has taken the big boys on with his quiet and true cowboy spirit of the West.
HB 1129 is a good start at changing what’s wrong in Colorado. HB 1129 has passed the House and is now in the Colorado State Senate’s State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee, likely to have a hearing the last week in February. Please support passage of HB 1129 and help us fix what’s wrong in Colorado.
Colorado citizens, please visit: http://www.leg.state.co.us /Clics/CLICS2008A/csl.nsf/directory?openframeset for information on contacting your state Senator to request his/her support. Of particular importance are members of the State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee. Get bill information by calling (303) 866-3055. To contact Republican Senators, call (303) 866-4866; Democratic Senators, (303) 866-4865. For more information on contacting legislators: http://www.leg .state.co.us/Clics/CLICS2008A/csl.nsf/directory?openframeset.
Lewis wears many hats: Rancher, mother, former 4-H leader and judge, vice-president of the Colorado Independent Cattle Growers Association and R-CALF’s Private Property Rights Committee Chair.