The Grand Valley's two representatives on the Colorado Agricultural Commission may be busier than previous members with the possibility of more meetings, but that's OK with the newest local appointee.

New Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg, who took up the post in January, has discussed holding monthly meetings with some of those taking place over the phone. Now, the commission meets quarterly in Denver.

Kathryn Bedell, who owns Fruita's Roan Creek Ranch, joined the commission this year and feels the extra meetings will make it easier to bring ideas to the table.

"That will help," Bedell said. "We'll have more discussion, even if it's on the phone."

Bedell joined fruit grower and Kokopelli Produce Owner Brant Harrison as district four representatives on the commission. Harrison serves as board chairman and just began his second four-year term.

The commission is made up of nine agricultural leaders from across the state who are appointed by the governor. The group makes recommendations to the commissioner on all matters related to agriculture, including the development of policy.

Bedell feels the current commission is set up well to help Greenberg.

"It's a diverse group," she said. "There's lots of information she can tap into."

Greenberg said in an interview with The Daily Sentinel that Bedell and Harrison's point of view is important to get a sense of what is happening in the Grand Valley and in western Colorado.

"Having that perspective is key," she said. "They're so gracious with their time and expertise."

Greenberg, who was named commissioner by Gov. Jared Polis, said her priorities are to address water shortages, land affordability and access to credit and capital for farmers.

The board will play a key role in shaping how that comes to pass over the next four years.

"I want to be sure that we are leaning on one another to get feedback and input as we are building big goals out," Greenberg said.

Harrison is excited to work on issues of sustainability when it comes to farming and believes recent conversations have gone in a good direction.

"I've heard about sustainability for a long time, but only recently have people been starting to talk about the money aspect," he said. "If you can't afford to do it, it's not sustainable for the farmers."

Harrison said he's worked to make sure as many local farmers as possible know he is on the board and that they can go to him and Bedell with their issues to take to the state. He added that it's important for the state to lobby on behalf of local growers.

"The department of agriculture is a liaison between growers and the federal government," he said.

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