11-17-16 RMFU applauds Peppler for service to ag

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Colleen and Kent Peppler accept the President’s Award from Rocky Mountain Farmers Union President Dale McCall.

Colleen and Kent Peppler accept the President’s Award from Rocky Mountain Farmers Union President Dale McCall.

RMFU applauds Peppler for service to ag

DENVER, C­olo. ­­–  Kent Peppler and his wife Colleen of Mead, CO, accepted the top award given by Rocky Mountain Farmers Union during the organization’s annual convention. Dr. Dale McCall, who succeeded Peppler as president of RMFU, led the applause after handing the President’s Award to the Pepplers. The award recognizes an individual whose achievements are having a positive and lasting impact on farmers, ranchers, and rural communities.

Whether driving a combine or offering testimony before a congressional ag committee, Peppler worked hard on getting results. “Farming is in his blood and being an advocate for agriculture is in his heart,” said McCall. For nine years Peppler was the president of Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, a general farm organization whose 22,000 members farm and ranch in Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming. He stepped down at the end of 2015 to have more time for farming. McCall served as vice president during Peppler’s presidency, and he became the president in 2016. RMFU members just elected McCall to continue as their president for 2017.

“I received a lot more from you than I ever gave to the organization,” Peppler said to Farmers Union members attending the convention. Peppler put much of his personal life on hold to work on behalf of farmers and ranchers. He appeared before committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, to share his insights and experiences on topics ranging from the relative effectiveness of the farm bill safety net to clean water regulations. He also led delegations of RMFU members that participated in National Farmers Union legislative fly-ins and NFU conventions.

In fact, Peppler was the first RMFU president to be a farmer. He not only understood what other producers were going through season by season, he lived it. By continuing to farm during his time leading Farmers Union, Peppler was well versed in topics such as water rights, crop insurance, transportation rates, input costs, market prices, yields, crop variety research, and what producers were talking about over Saturday morning coffee.

During his leadership, Peppler successfully worked for passage of Colorado’s net metering law to further the growth of renewable energy. He was an advocate for passage of Colorado’s Cottage Foods Act and Beginning Farmer Loan Program. Peppler and the farm organization were early promoters of local foods initiatives. Those efforts continue to yield results. At the national level, Peppler played an active role in the leadership transition at National Farmers Union when then-NFU President Tom Buis left to head Growth Energy. NFU members elected Roger Johnson as their president. Peppler served on the National Farmers Union board of directors. Peppler’s business acumen was put to good use during a couple of tough years with the farm organization’s insurance operations.

Peppler is a fourth-generation farmer from Mead, Colorado. His family farm consists of 500 acres of corn, wheat, alfalfa hay, and barley. His family has raised sugar beets and sunflowers in the past, and they have fed cattle, sheep, and hogs for three generations. He has farmed the family operation since graduation with a degree in agriculture education from Colorado State University.

Peppler served five years with the USDA Farm Services Agency. He has also served on the boards of directors for the Longmont Co-op, the Sanborne Ditch Co. and the Highland Lake Lateral Ditch Co., and the Colorado FFA Foundation. He is a past president of the Colorado Young Farmers Educational Association. Peppler was appointed by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper to represent agricultural interests on the state’s Oil & Gas Task Force.

Kent and Colleen are parents to two adult children: their daughter Ashley is an attorney in Iowa, and their son Tyson is a student at Colorado State University.  Colleen handled membership duties for RMFU; Ashley worked as a summer camp staffer, and Tyson attended Farmers Union camps and was elected to NFU’s National Youth Advisory Council.

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