03-15-17 RMFU: Delegates representing CO, NM & WY farmers, ranchers attend NFU 115th Convention

RMFU Delegates and alternates to the National Farmers Union convention were (from left) Derek Mullen, Liza Marron, John Ellis, Gordon Westhoff, Todd Hagenbuch, RMFU Director of External Affairs Bill Midcap, Harper Kaufman, Jan Kochis, Meighen Lovelace, Ken Anderson, Maria Miller, and Danny Wood. Not shown is Jimmy Dula.

Delegates represent Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming farmers, ranchers at National Farmers Union convention

The National Farmers Union 115 Anniversary Convention was held last week and closed with the adoption of the organization’s policy book and special orders of business.  Nearly 500 family farmers and ranchers convened in San Diego both to engage in thoughtful policy deliberations, as well as to learn from agricultural experts and each another.

“Rocky Mountain Farmers Union has always been the organization that stands up for our own values and believes, even if they are contrary to the national organization,” said RMFU Board Chairwomen Janis Kochis. “We come to the convention and we don’t always agree with what National Farmers Union puts forward, but we think for ourselves and represent our members even when it may be contrary to other groups.”

RMFU delegates were completely successful in getting their policy priorities accepted into NFU ‘s policy for 2017.

Rocky Mountain Farmers Union received the highest organizational honor, the Outstanding Leadership Award, during the convention. The award is presented to Farmers Union state divisions that grow their membership and demonstrate a coordinated effort in community leadership. NFU also acknowledged chapters with the Leadership Achievement Awards for their service within their communities.

The adopted policy book and special orders of business will guide the organization’s government affairs priorities over the course of the next year, including the current farm crisis and upcoming deliberations on the 2018 Farm Bill.

“As a family farmer and rancher-led organization, our grassroots policy adoption process is the most important part of our annual convention,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “This year, NFU delegates adopted strong language to address a variety of issues facing family agriculture and rural communities, including the depressed farm economy, corporate consolidation, and international trade.”

The convention featured two high-level panels on federal farm bill and conservation issues, as well as remarks from industry leaders from a variety of agricultural sectors.  The event featured breakout sessions on soil health, dairy marketing programs, and NFU history, as well as a local farms tour that showcases organic production and small-plot urban farming in San Diego.

As a means of providing the organization a prescriptive set of priorities, 136 delegates from 33 states approved six special orders of business:

~ Family Farming and Crisis Relief

~ Family Farming and Farm Bills

~ Family Farming and Trade Policy

~ Family Farming and Leading the Way on Climate Change

~ Family Farming and Expanded Higher Ethanol Blend Utilization

~ Family Farming and Dairy Policy

Full text of the adopted policy manual will be available soon at www.nfu.org.