The Beginning of a New Era in Colorado’s Cattle Industry
Sixty cattlemen and cattlewomen from across the state gathered in the front yard of Muddy Valley Ranch near Kim, Colorado on June 5, 2005. Key issues facing these cattle producers were discussed along with possible alternative actions. By late afternoon, history was made as a new cattlemen’s group was formed—the Colorado Independent CattleGrowers Association—and officers elected.
“We felt like our viewpoints and philosophies and the way we thought ranchers needed to be represented wasn’t happening with current cattlemen’s groups,” said Dr. Doug Zalesky from Hesperus, Colorado. All of the cattle producers present felt the same way, as many issues were not being looked at from all sides. “We decided there was a need for a state association for producers. We are tired of no one listening,” said John Reid who ranches in Lincoln County.
"Independent is the most important part of this new organization. We are true grassroots producers who believe in policies and laws starting at the local level and not from the “top down”. The National Animal ID System is a prime example of a ‘top down’ policy,” said Kimmi Lewis of Kim, Colorado.
Some members had called for a new organization ten years before in 1995 when another well-known cattleman’s organization had started a land trust, but level headed leaders of the group quelled the talk urging for patience. They didn’t want to completely alienate themselves from the rest of the producers in the state, but by 2005 they had heard from over 100 other producers across the state that shared in their outrage and dissatisfaction. That is when CICA started a new era in the cattle industry, providing a choice with the principles and ideals in line with the thinking of the independent cattle growers in this state.
1st Annual Convention
The First Annual Convention was held at the Cage Ranch near Wild Horse, Colorado on July 22, 2006. Speakers for the all day convention included Judy Keeler of Animas, New Mexico who addressed private property rights; Chuck Kiker, R-CALF USA President from Beaumont, Texas; Lee Barron, AgriServe, Lubbock, Texas; Mike Callicrate, Ranch Direct Foods, Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Gary Shoun, Colorado Brand Commissioner, Denver, Colorado.
A chuckwagon BBQ ended the day with dancing under the stars with Country Gold, a band from Las Animas, Colorado.
Thank you awards were given to CICA directors by CICA President Doug Zalesky of Hesperus, Colorado.