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The HSUS Colorado Agriculture Advisory Council

Local farmers, producers and other agriculture professionals join with The HSUS to foster better animal welfare and environmental stewardship

Meet the members of The HSUS Colorado Agriculture Advisory Council, part of our emerging system of state agriculture councils.


Mike Callicrate, member of The HSUS's Colorado Agriculture Council

Mike Callicrate

Mike Callicrate

Mike Callicrate is the owner of Ranch Foods Direct, Callicrate Banders, and Callicrate Cattle Company. He is an independent cattle producer, business entrepreneur and political activist, who serves as an outspoken leader in addressing the rural, social and cultural impacts of current economic trends.

Since the mid-1990s, Mike has been active in social and political efforts to improve the welfare of family farms and to restore effective publicly regulated markets. He was a founding member of several farm advocacy groups including the Organization for Competitive Markets, R-CALF and the Kansas Cattlemen's Association . He also was a lead plaintiff in a class action lawsuit against the world's largest meatpacker, IBP, now part of Tyson Foods, alleging unfair and discriminatory marketing practices.

In recognition of his efforts, he has received the "Westerner of the Year" award from Western Ranchers Beef Cooperative; the first ever Legacy Award from the Kansas Cattlemen's Association; and the Carl L. King Distinguished Service Award from the American Corn Growers Association. Mike has been an advisor for the films Food Inc. and FRESH, and is cited in several books including The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Fast Food Nation. He is revered as the "go-to expert" for understanding negative consequences of trends in the modern meat industry.


Matt Kautz, member of the Colorado Agriculture Council, with his family

Matt Kautz

Matt Kautz

Matt Kautz is a third generation Colorado farmer and the owner of Cottonwood Creek Farms. He lives on the farm with his wife and two sons and raises pastured livestock fulltime.

Cottonwood Creek Farms produces eggs, poultry, pork, turkey, and beef with an eye towards production in harmony with animal welfare and sustainability.

Matt rotates his animals through pastures to mimic the patterns found in nature. As evidence of this philosophy, he recently constructed a USDA-approved poultry processing facility on the farm to minimize animal stress and maximize quality for concerned consumers.

At Cottonwood Creek Farms, everyone is welcome to stop by and visit, chat with the family, tour the farm, observe the animals, and even help collect eggs. Cottonwood Creek Farms never uses antibiotics, growth hormones, chemical wormers, animal byproducts, pesticides, or herbicides on the pastures. After all, farming is more than a way of life—it’s a commitment to living.


Carrie Balkcom, member of The HSUS Colorado Council for Agriculture

Carrie Balkcom

Carrie Balkcom

Growing up in rural south Florida, where her family still cattle ranches today, Carrie was exposed to the pleasures of good homegrown food.

She has spent the past few decades involved in all aspects of food and food production. She was certified by the American Culinary Federation as a Certified Executive Chef and taught culinary classes for Metropolitan State College of Denver.

She currently acts as the executive director for the American Grassfed Association, representing grassfed producers all over the United States. The goal of the association is to promote the grassfed industry through government relations, research, concept marketing, and public education. She sat on the national board of overseers for Chefs Collaborative and the American Livestock Breed Conservancy.

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