PEP Seeks Support for Ag-Oriented Legislative Bill



Aaron Leiker, President of PEP, Prowers Economic Prosperity, detailed a state senate bill that if passed, could help steamline regulations for agriculture producers that are transporting their goods to this portion of the state. Leiker addressed the board members on the issue during the monthly PEP meeting which was held at the Rancher’s Restaurant at the Ports to Plains Travel Plaza on Tuesday, April 3rd.

Leiker explained that Senate Bill, 18-197, initiated in part by State Senator Larry Crowder, has already received bi-partisan support and has passed through the senate. Now, the measure has to get to the House for action.

One hindrance to future agriculture development is a rule that stipulates that agriculture producers must stop at a port of entry if they are within it by five miles. A letter written to Chairwoman Jeni James Arndt of the Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee in the House of Representatives, details that passage of the bill would remove an unnecessary burden on producers wanting to move their product around our region.  Past PEP President, Rick Robbins, the General Manager of Colorado Mills in Lamar, has stated in the past, that regional producers are reluctant to come to this area because of the five mile rule, which can also become a highway safety hazard when semis have to do a 180 turn-around to stop at the Port of Entry.  The amount of lost time, he explained, also translates into loss of potential revenue.

The letter adds it is no coincidence that there are no commodity trading companies other than Colorado Mills in Lamar, especially being located on a main line of the Burlington Northern Railroad and at an intersection of two major highways in southeast Colorado. The letter requests passage of the senate bill as it will help aid farmers and ranchers in the region.

PEP Executive Director, Eric Depperschmidt provided an update on potential business activities in the county, nothing that Sagebrush Meadows has met their feasibility study funding goal for the development of a nursing/assisted living facility in Lamar. PEP pledged financial support when the goal had been met.  Jessica Junker of Core Distinction Group has been in the community, gaining information for a feasibility study for the development of an upscale hotel in Lamar.  Depperschmidt explained the study may be available within the next two months.  He noted the office hour schedule for PEP in Holly has changed, now to the first and third Wednesdays which will accommodate the schedule for the Holly Commercial Club on the first Wednesday of every month.  It was noted that Legacy Bank has become the latest PEP board member.

The next PEP board meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 1st at Noon at a site yet to be selected.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: AgricultureCity of HollyCity of LamarConsumer IssuesCountyEconomyFeaturedPublic SafetyTransportation


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