The Weld County Board of Commissioners plans to formally proclaim March 20 as “Ranching, Livestock and Meat-IN Day” on Wednesday in response to Gov. Jared Polis’ proclamation naming the day “MeatOut Day.”
Polis announced MeatOut Day last week, establishing a state holiday in which Colorado residents are encouraged to avoid consuming animal products for 24 hours.
“When Governor Polis declared March 20 as MeatOut day, it was a slap in the face to the thousands of ranching and farm families across this state,” said Commissioner Chair Steve Moreno. “Yet another hit against rural Colorado.”
Weld County is Colorado’s leading county for agricultural products sold, bringing in $2 billion annually.
Approximately 85% of that annual revenue comes from the sale of livestock, poultry and related products, according to the Board of Commissioners.
“Our farmers and ranchers are the original stewards of our environment,” said Commissioner Lori Saine. “To those serving us in one of Colorado’s first industries, this seems like a pre-emptive strike against agriculture.”
Polis has said MeatOut Day is meant to promote eating healthy diets and protecting the environment.
His proclamation reads, “removing animal products from our diets reduces the risk of various ailments, including heart disease, high-blood pressure, stroke … helps protect the environment by reducing our carbon footprint … help(s) prevent animal cruelty.”
After backlash to the announcement of MeatOut Day, Polis and Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg released a joint statement pronouncing the state’s support of agriculture.
“My administration has done everything possible to successfully keep agriculture open for business through the toughest of times because we understand that agriculture is Colorado,” Polis and Greenberg wrote. “We are also steadfastly committed to the future of agriculture.”
However, the Weld County Board of Commissioners says Polis’ actions have “disparaged” the agriculture industry.
“Once again the governor is picking winners and losers,” said Commissioner Scott James. “He’s insistent on promoting some businesses at the expense of harming others.”
The Board of Commissioners will read the Meat-IN Day proclamation at its board meeting at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Members of the public, especially farming and ranching families, are invited to attend the meeting in person at the Weld County Administration Building at 1150 O St. in Greeley.