Standing Up for Rural Colorado

It’s been said that some of the finest people and places just can’t be seen from the paved road. In this Op-Ed Rachel Gabel, longtime agriculture writer and assistant editor of The Fence Post magazine, questions why the current Colorado legislature and governor are waging a thinly veiled assault on Colorado’s fourth largest industry, agriculture.

Standing Up for Rural Colorado

Rural Colorado shows up, albeit perhaps in less visible ways than some do. It’s been said that some of the finest people and places just can’t be seen from the paved road.

One would be hard-pressed to find demonstrations or signs being waved by the angry amid chanting, but you can find the county commissioners riding on an Independence Day float with red, white, and blue banners and signs their kids and grandchildren helped make. You can find those same folks sitting in meetings trying to figure out how to keep one-size-fits-all legislation and mandates from Denver from hurting their neighbors and crippling their industries and small businesses. Signs are more likely to be waved at ballgames, proclaiming love of the hometown heroes and chants are more likely to be answered by fans also cheering young student athletes one free throw or basket at a time.

You’re unlikely to find “encampments” in small towns and, while no doubt rural areas certainly battle hunger, you will find packages of donated beef in church freezers, ready to be placed in the hands of someone who needs it. Checks, cups of hot coffee, and prayers are passed quietly from one person to another, without the fanfare of expecting something in return. Casseroles and banana bread and homegrown tomatoes appear on the doorsteps of those who are trembling in the wake of losses. It is grace in action.

In many rural homes, the big city tv newscast has fallen silent, save for the weather report. Instead, people are supporting local papers and the small businesses who advertise there, tuning into farm television and radio, and turning to proven news sources who treat their industries, values, and livelihoods with respect.

Rather than kneeling athletes, sporting events may be a small town rodeo or Friday night football game where everyone stands, removes cover, bows their head, and sings along with the anthem.

Combines roll through fields, cattle producers check cows and feed stockpiles with an eye on the horizon, hoping for rain. The people who do hard work are the ones who are producing food and generating the income to keep the lights on at the schools and churches and grain elevators and cafes.

Call it showing up or standing in the gap or being the tip of the spear or supporting salt of the earth communities that reflect the good in people if you will, but standing up for rural Colorado at the ballot box is giving a voice to the outnumbered voters in the “other Colorado”.

Be it forced wolf reintroduction, thinly veiled anti-agriculture agendas stemming from the Governor’s office, or just a disregard for and comfortable detachment from the people who kick off dirty boots at day’s end, now is the time to stand up for rural Colorado and the state’s multi-billion-dollar agriculture industry. Allowing the voices of those feeding the state to be drowned out by the noisy minority ought not to be so, even if you can’t always see them from the paved road.

Image credits: By Cobun Keegan – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

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One Response

  1. This writing is well done and is worthy of being posted in the interest sections of major newspapers across the country. The writer’s voice is clear and strong, the content is concise and on-point, the sentence structure is varied, the cultural references infer the reader is intelligent, and the circular structure is an added-bonus. I suggest the author submit this piece to all major newspapers. Farmer’s lives matter.

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