DENVER - In a place that seems far from a farm field, farmers and agriculture leaders talk about the future of farming inside Denver's Union Station.
"Technology is changing farming every day of the week," Don Brown, Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture, says. "I have a cell phone here that can turn on and off all of our sprinklers a thousand miles away."
Colorado Proud is a state program created by the Colorado Department of Agriculture to promote local food and farmers.
Colorado Proud launched a campaign called "Faces and Stories of Colorado's Agriculture" kicking it off with a panel discussion including Brown, farmers Kate Petrocco and Brooke Proctor, rancher Todd Inglee, and Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture Chris Wiseman.
"Most people think you just go out and put a seed into the ground and it grows," Wiseman says. "But, most producers really have a science in the way that they produce it."
The panel talked about things ranging from technology to weather to more women involved in farming.
"I think women for a long time have played a silent role in agriculture," Proctor says. "We're seeing a whole new arena where women are stepping up and are being acknowledged for the work that they do on the farm."
Petrocco believes communication is a big part of promoting locally-grown produce.
"If you're in your grocery store and you tell the produce manager, 'I would like Colorado lettuce. I would like Colorado cantaloupes,' they will listen to that and they will respond."
The panel acknowledges that the size of farms has become an issue.
"It takes a larger and larger operation for it to maintain a viability," Brown says.
But, Inglee says, moving forward, farmers and ranchers will be relied upon more than ever.
"We're going to have to double the amount of food production just to meet the global food needs by the year 2050," Inglee says.
Colorado Proud will take its effort, "Faces and Stories of Colorado's Agriculture," to Grand Junction and Colorado Springs.
Organizers have also created an online experience on the Colorado Proud Facebook page. If you want to learn more, click here: https://www.colorado.gov/agmarkets/colorado-proud.
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