Commissioners declare March ’All Meats March’ in support of local ranching industry
Declaration is in direct opposition to Gov. Polis’s “Meat Out” proclamation, targeting March 20 as a day to remove animal products from the diet
A jab aimed at the lucrative agriculture industry in Colorado by Governor Jared Polis has rallied a number of agriculture communities across the state, leading to “Meat In Day” for many.
Moffat County’s commissioners took it a step further Tuesday, declaring March “All Meats March” in support of the local ranching industry, which makes up a significant portion of not only Colorado’s economy, but Moffat County as well.
Commissioners adopted Resolution 2021-22 Tuesday, recognizing the many past and current contributions of livestock producers and supporting the local ranching industry proclaiming March 2021 as “All Meats March” in Moffat County.
The proclamation comes less than a week after Gov. Jared Polis declared Saturday, March 20 “Meat Out Day” urging state residents to go vegetarian. The proclamation by Polis comes three weeks after he called agriculture the “cornerstone to the foundation of our state” in an open letter aimed at preserving the National Western Stock Show’s future in Colorado.
“There are a lot of attacks coming our way in Moffat County from a lot of different angles,” Commissioner Melody Villard said Tuesday. “A one-day boycott of meat in our state and our county is pretty large.”
According to the 2017 census (2020’s census information is not yet available), agriculture sales in Moffat County made up $33 million in total market products sold.
“That’s a pretty big industry to target on one specific day,” Villard added. “We’re the second-largest county in the state; we’re not very highly populated, so that’s a pretty large number for our economy.”
Undoubtedly, Colorado is a cattle state. The industry brings in billions of dollars a year to Colorado’s economy and is responsible for about 170,000 jobs.
Polis’s proclamation isn’t the first from the governor and comes in the midst of the introduction of multiple pieces of legislation that are potentially damaging to the agriculture industry.
By signing the proclamation, Polis is using it as a way to promote meatless diets to his constituents. “Meat Out” started in 1985 by animal-rights group Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM). The MeatOut initiative was created to educate consumers about the benefits of a healthful, plant-based diet.
With his support of the initiative, Polis joined governors and mayors in 40 additional states and cities who have signed similar proclamations in recent years.
That decision led to a quick response from the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association on Thursday, Feb. 25.
“Colorado Cattlemen’s Association is promoting “Meat In Day” on March 20, 2021. On this day, CCA encourages Colorado to meet in a restaurant and order your favorite meat dish, meet your family and friends for a meal featuring meat,“ the association said in a press release.
“The goal of this day is to not only promote the benefits of meat consumption to Colorado, but to also patronize our local businesses, restaurants, etc. that have been deeply affected by the economic struggles of the pandemic. CCA is working with multiple groups to promote meat products through discounts, specials, and more! As we approach this day, we will be posting a full listing of businesses and restaurants to show your support to on this day.
“Take to social media with hashtags #BetterWithBeef and #MeatIn to promote your business and to showcase how you will be celebrating “Meat In” day!“
Locally, many businesses and restaurants will promote MeatIn Day. Vallarta’s Mexican Restaurant announced it will be hosting a Prime Rib dinner on Saturday, March 20.
“Without our Farmers and Ranchers where would we be? They are the backbone of America and are an important part of agriculture! We understand the importance of what these men and women do for us, we are proud of everything they do & support them 100%!!! Therefore we will be serving nothing but beef at Vallarta’s on March 20th in support of our local farmer/rancher families. So come join us along with Moffat County Cattle Women for a Beef meal at Vallarta’s 03/20/2021,” the restaurant’s Facebook post announcing the event reads.
Villard added that some members of the Downtown Business Association will celebrate Meat In Day downtown with a variety of meat products. Those details still need to be finalized though, Villard added.
With the agriculture community rallying across the state, Commissioner Donald Broom says he’s a bit optimistic about the outcome of Polis’s decision.
“I’m optimistic about this; I’m excited to see just how much money is made off of meat sales on that day,” Broom said.
Broom also lamented the stance of the Governor during a time in which many cattle breed associations are heading to Oklahoma for stock shows rather than Denver, which could lead to a move out of Colorado for the National Western Stock Show.
“Can you imagine how much money would be lost in this state if the stock show leaves?” Broom asked those in attendance at Tuesday’s commissioners’ meeting. “This is all a slap in the face to the agriculture industry. Shame on him.“
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