Colorado’s economy is predicted to keep growing in 2020, but slower. Here’s what this means. |

Colorado’s economy is predicted to keep growing in 2020, but slower. Here’s what this means.

DENVER — The way Dale McCall sees it, farming has enough uncertainty. Unpredictable weather. Unreliable buyers. Even a year with overproduction can drag produce and meat prices down as a farmer’s costs rise. If only Congress would finalize foreign trade agreements, he’d feel a lot better about 2020. 

“Luckily in Colorado, we got our sugar beets out,” said McCall, who farmed for years out in Yuma County, where his son and grandson now tend McCall Farms. “But in North and South Dakota, it’s my understanding, a lot of those sugar beets froze in the ground. They have zero income.”

It’s a different story over in one Greeley neighborhood. 

Leprino Foods completed the last phase of its 1.3 million square foot mozzarella cheese plant in a former sugar beet factory two years ago. The company, which now has more than 500 employees in Greeley, buys milk to make the cheese from local dairy farmers. Its revenues, according to Forbes magazine, came in at $3.2 billion in 2017.

Large companies like Leprino are giving economists optimism that Colorado’s economy, especially in agriculture, will continue to remain strong in 2020, albeit grow slower than last year, according to the 2020 Colorado Business Economic Outlook from the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado. This was the same prediction last year for 2019.

But the report also acknowledges the incomplete picture of just noting data points, since big companies can skew the results. “Someone is making money in Colorado agriculture and food systems. It just may not be farmers and ranchers,” says the report, which will be released Monday. “The agriculture value chain has many segments, and one often makes money while others experience losses.”

Read more at The Colorado Sun.

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