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Colorado Farm Bureau’s Early Action Topples Anti-Livestock Ballot Measure



Erin Anthony

Director, Communications

photo credit: Colorado Farm Bureau, Used with Permission

Colorado Farm Bureau, Used With Permission

A major threat to Colorado’s $5 billion livestock sector in 2021 prompted the Colorado Farm Bureau to join forces with other state livestock groups to establish a campaign committee called Coloradans for Animal Care.

A Colorado Supreme Court ruling in a case brought by the coalition ultimately kept Initiative 16 off the ballot, but Coloradans for Animal Care’s effective early outreach positioned the industry well for addressing further threats. Initiative 16 was a potential 2022 ballot measure that would have criminalized commonly accepted veterinary and animal care practices in Colorado.

Using social media graphics, Coloradans for Animal Care explained how Initiative 16 would negatively affect livestock producers, consumers and pet owners alike. Colorado, Used With Permission

Online engagement and member interest

One of the coalition’s strongest outreach tools was social media. Using paid advertisements targeted to specific audiences and regions, Coloradans for Animal Care reached 56,542 individual users on Facebook and Instagram. Along with their paid advertisements, Coloradans for Animal Care spurred the creation of several supportive Facebook groups the coalition can continue to tap into for future campaigns. The groups are composed of mostly “ag-adjacent” voters – those with indirect ties to agriculture and those with an affinity for farming and ranching. The largest of these Facebook groups has more than 22,000 members.

In addition, to continue engagement with key audiences and remind them that while Initiative 16 was off the ballot for 2022, the threat remains, direct mail pieces were sent to voters after the Supreme Court struck the initiative.

“It’s great to have such strong support for agriculture producers in the face of such a radical initiative,” said Shawn Martini, VP of Advocacy for CFB. “It goes to show that the industry can move public opinion when we have to. And that proper campaign strategy can translate the good will the public has for farmers and ranchers into action and votes.”

Colorado Farm Bureau, Used With Permission

Colorado Farm Bureau reports that their effort not only energized current organization members, but also brought in 213 new producer members. CFB plans to continue to drive further engagement and awareness through direct mail solicitation with a stronger call for Farm Bureau membership, in addition to support for a future campaign against initiatives like Initiative 16.


Coloradans for Animal Care raised several thousand dollars in donations from individuals, which in turn helped garner support from organizational and corporate donors, creating a strong financial base from which the coalition was able to move forward with their successful legal challenge to Initiative 16. Interestingly, like the Facebook group members, a large percentage of the individual donations were from non-Farm Bureau members and voters who had looser ties to the agriculture industry, based on their addresses and professions.

Strategic Action Fund

Coloradans for Animal Care was launched, in part, with a grant from the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Strategic Action Fund. Through the fund, state Farm Bureaus with fewer than 25,000 members were eligible to apply for funding of up to $5,000 for public policy-related projects.

Several state Farm Bureaus – Idaho, Kansas, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas – each contributed $1,000 to the Strategic Action Fund for the 2021 round of projects.