State Plans Cantaloupe Program

In the wake of Colorado’s cantaloupe controversy, state agricultural officials are planning a new certification program for Rocky Ford produce. State Agricultural Commissioner John Salazar discussed the possibility of a new certification program earlier this month, but balked at potential price tags.

However, certification plans have recently become more concrete with news that the proceeds of a sale of a railroad line in Southern Colorado could go towards funding the farm program.

The planned Rocky Ford Proud certification brand was discussed with local growers earlier this week. In order to qualify for the label, growers would have to conform to stricter production and hygiene standards suggested by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Colorado politicians have come out in favor of the certification program. While they are insistent that farmers and growers need to be the driving force behind it, many hope that the label could help rehabilitate a struggling industry.

The sale of the Tower Railroad line could bring the state about $9 million. Agricultural officials have estimated that about $150,000 would be needed to seed a certification program.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer