The Colorado General Assembly finished their session in May 2022. As a result, a few new laws will take effect this year that will affect rural and farming communities.
At Colorado Farm Bureau Insurance, our goal is to find every way we can to support our agricultural community. One way we can support you is by keeping you informed of any legislative actions that may affect your interests. Below is a summary of new legislation that has gone or will go into effect this year, as documented by the Colorado Session Summary.
HB22-1007 – Assistance Landowner Wildfire Mitigation
This bill extends an income tax deduction for a landowner’s costs incurred in performing wildfire mitigation measures. This tax was set to expire in 2024 but will now last through the 2025 income tax year. The bill also creates a state income tax credit to reimburse a landowner for the costs incurred in performing wildfire mitigation on their property. The tax credit amount is equal to 25 percent of up to $2,500 in costs for wildfire mitigation measures.
HB22-1132 – Regulation and Services for Wildfire Mitigation
The bill requires a fire department or other appropriate local entity be notified before a person conducts a controlled burn on private property. The bill also more closely defines the term “controlled burn” to mean as intentionally started on private property, including:
- A burn used as a technique in farming or livestock production to clear the land of existing native vegetation or crop residue, or to kill weeds and weed seeds
- A controlled ditch burn, except when involving an irrigation ditch
- Non-commercial burning of trash
- Open burning of slash piles
Open burning lawfully conducted during agricultural operations are not considered controlled burns and do not fall under the purview of the bill.
HB22-1301 – Controlled Environmental Agricultural Facility As Agricultural Property
A “controlled environment agricultural facility” (CEA facility) is a nonresidential structure and related equipment that combines the following in crops grown for human or livestock consumption:
- horticultural science
- computer management techniques to optimize hydroponics
- plant quality
- food production efficiency
Any agricultural equipment used in a CEA facility is exempt from the levy and collection of property tax. However, if the sole use of the CEA facility is not the growing of crops for human or livestock consumption, then the property is classified and valued based on actual use and taxed accordingly.
Another thing to note is that marijuana and any other nonfood crops are not considered agricultural or livestock products.
HB22-1308 – Agricultural Workforce Services Program
The bill creates the Colorado agricultural workforce services program in the Department of Agriculture and requires the department to create and maintain an online resource portal for agricultural employees and employers.
The bill also creates the Colorado agricultural workplace improvement grant program. This award grants to Colorado agricultural employers and entities that provide services to Colorado agricultural employers or agricultural employees facilitating:
- labor law compliance
- improving workplaces
- providing education to agricultural employees to help them understand their legal rights
SB22-172 – Colorado Rural Healthcare Workforce Initiative
The bill establishes the Colorado rural healthcare workforce initiative to expand the number of healthcare professionals practicing in Colorado’s rural or frontier counties. As part of the initiative, an institution of higher education is authorized to establish and operate a rural track for healthcare professionals within any healthcare professional education program offered by the institution.
A rural track must set aside seats in its healthcare professional education program for students who express an interest in studying and working in a rural or frontier county. It must offer curriculum related to practicing the healthcare discipline in rural or frontier counties. Next, it must place students in rural or frontier counties for hands-on instruction and training. Finally, it awards scholarships to students in the rural track. To receive a scholarship, a student must commit to working as a healthcare professional in a rural or frontier county for two years after completing education and training.
SB22-209 – Meat Processing Grant and Loan Assistance
The bill instructs the Commissioner of Agriculture to hire an employee or engage a contractor to provide grant and loan application assistance to small meat processors or people attempting to start a small meat processor business. The grant or loan must be used to start, expand, or support a small meat processor business. The employee or contractor may also assist agricultural producers and agricultural businesses in applying for and obtaining grants.
Insure Your Agribusiness with Farm Bureau Insurance
When you insure with Farm Bureau Insurance, you advocate for the rights of Colorado farmers. We insure agribusiness operations with our comprehensive Country Squire policy. To learn more about insuring your farm with us, contact a local agent near you.