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2022 Board Candidates

Elections Ongiong for president, and districts I, III, and IV

Your Voice, Your Vote

RMFU is a member-driven organization. Guide our future by helping us select our next board members.

*All candidates are listed by position for which they are running and in order of nomination submission.

Candidate for RMFU President

Chad Franke - Lander, Wyoming

I am Chad Franke and I am running to be your new RMFU President. I was the fifth generation on our family farm and ranch near Akron, Colorado. My first involvement with RMFU was through the summer camp program, but I grew up going to potluck dinners at local and county chapters, as well as the entire family normally going to the annual convention. I also worked as a Farmers Union camp counselor. I have served as a delegate at various state and national conventions starting at the age of 16, and received my Farmers Union Torchbearer award when I was 18.

My wife Carolyn and I are lifetime members, and we were members of the Fellows class of 2011-2012.

I earned my degree in Mechanical Engineering from Colorado State University.  I have held jobs in aviation, project management, and mechanical design in ag, oilfield, and heavy equipment. Up until last year, we owned a small farm near Roggen, Colorado, where at various times we raised Berkshire pigs for Whole Foods, sold both pork and beef direct to consumers, grew hay, built and operated a feed mill for small producers, and, most importantly, raised our kids. With both of our kids now attending college, Carolyn and I have taken the opportunity to relocate to Lander, Wyoming, where we continue to be active in RMFU.

In January 2016, I was selected to replace Dale McCall as RMFU Vice President when he was elected as President. I have been privileged to work with Dale, learning from him and the other board members about the insurance industry, the inner workings of RMFU, FUSA, the Foundation, and the NFU organization. I’ve also had the privilege of serving as the RMFU Policy Chair, where I have done my best to facilitate debate and ensure every one of our delegates has a voice at convention crafting the policy that drives all of our advocacy work as an organization.

I want to serve as your RMFU President to continue my support for the organization, and for all the family farmers and ranchers as well as agricultural communities across Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming. I believe my experience of the last six years has given me the knowledge to be an effective leader for RMFU, FUSA and the Foundation, and as a member of the NFU Board. We face some serious challenges with NFU Insurance. These challenges are affecting both RMFU and NFU in membership numbers as well as funding. We need a strong presence at the table to continue to put pressure on our insurance partner in Allstate Insurance to understand this vital service to our members.

RMFU, the Foundation and FUSA are in good shape financially and organizationally, but we need to continue to keep our eye on the future and work toward making our organization stronger.  We need to continue to build coalitions with other state organizations, both in the NFU board room and through other means. I believe I have the experience and drive to earn your vote for RMFU President.

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Candidate for RMFU President

Kathryn Bedell - Grand Junction, Colorado

I am Kathryn Bedell, a small family cattle rancher, agricultural consultant, and grant writer.  As an owner of Roan Creek Ranch, I raise British Park White cattle near Grand Junction, Colorado, on both owned and private leased lands. Farming and ranching have been the focus of both my education and my career. As a veterinarian, I specialized in large animals. As a rancher, I started a grass-fed beef business and direct marketed up to 200 head of cattle per year while managing a 2000-acre ranch.

To support that business, I developed a private label, a marketing program, and started and operated a local food store in Fruita, Colorado. The beef was marketed through farmers markets, restaurants, and the in the local store.

In addition, I am active in local and state agricultural communities by assisting small agricultural businesses across the western states with grant writing and other consulting services. Currently, I am one of the lead organizers working with the City of Grand Junction and Mesa County on a project to build a public market utilizing city park property located along the Colorado River. This project will provide direct access to consumers for area farmers, ranchers, and other food producers. The project is an important step in revamping our food systems in a way that serves the local community while providing direct access to a local market for small farmers and ranchers.

I have significant experience in agricultural and public policy. By serving on the Colorado Governor’s transition team, I played a major role in the selection of the Commissioner of Agriculture, the Director of Colorado Energy Office, and the Director of Natural Resources. Currently, I am serving as a member of the Colorado Agricultural Commission; a position that is appointed by the Governor with a primary role of advising Colorado Department of Agriculture Commissioner Kate Greenberg.

I am an active member of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union and now serve on the policy committee. Further, my involvement in agricultural policy development extends to other organizations as I am the Chairperson of the Food and Agricultural Committee of the Western Organization of Resource Councils.  Also, I was a past appointee to the Garfield County Energy Advisory Board. This experience gives me an opportunity to often speak at regenerative agricultural conferences and on panels focusing on diverse topics ranging from direct marketing, start-up and operation of meat processing plants and local food system development. I have experience working with state and federal agencies and understand the intersections of agricultural policy, nutrition, food access, and rural economic development.

For fun, I enjoy horseback riding, hiking, and traveling throughout Colorado and internationally.

My experience indicates my advocacy for farming and ranching communities and my passion for effective agricultural policy. I am dedicated to the well-being of our society. I understand the challenges of our members throughout our region. By leading RMFU as its President, I intend to use my talents of building collaborative working relationships, leadership, and “outside the box” thinking to look for solutions to expand our policy reach, our membership, and to serve our communities.

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Candidate for District I

Danny Wood - Peetz, Colorado

I am Danny Wood. My wife, Lorrie, and I live in the northeast corner of Colorado on our farm outside of a small town named Peetz. We have a fourth-generation dryland farming operation that covers an area stretching 40 miles. We grow corn, proso millet, winter wheat, and grain sorghum. Our son Zach works for us along with having a farming operation of his own. Our daughter Cassy works at the Peetz Farmers Elevator so the whole family is involved in production agriculture.

My grandson Tanner is 13 years old and operates a combine, grain cart, and tractor for me along with helping me raise a few head of steers.

I graduated from Peetz Plateau School, then attended Denver Automotive and Diesel College. I doubled my classes so I could get through both programs in nine months. This way I got back to the farm to help my father, Raymond, bring in the next wheat crop. Being a small-town eastern plains kid, Denver was not a place I wanted to stay. I became the lead mechanic at a farm implement dealership in Sidney, Nebraska, for ten years while helping my father farm and starting my own farming operation.

For eight years, I served on the board for the Peetz Plateau School District. I served another two years to fill a vacancy on the board. For 13 years I served as a director on the Logan County FSA board. Also, I served 12 years as a director for the Centennial Conservation District board. This was a great experience as six of these years overlapped creating a great time of learning and helping make sure the producers of Logan County were fairly represented. I have been a director on the Peetz Co-op Telephone Company for 34 years, serving as President for the past 16 years. I have been the treasurer of the Peetz Community Church for 15 years, also serving as the Pastor/Parish Relations Chairperson.

My involvement in Rocky Mountain Farmers Union has been extensive. I attended the day camps every year when I was growing up. Lorrie and I were part of the 2016 Fellows class, the greatest leadership opportunity in the world. I was the President of the Logan County Chapter for many years before being in Fellows.

There are many reasons I am running for re-election, and those reasons are found in the RMFU operating entities. I am finishing my third year as a director and have really got a grasp on the workings of the organization which includes the general farm organization of Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. The RMFU Foundation includes the Cooperative Development Center, Education Center, AgWell, and the Hudson Ranch. Farmers Union Service Association is our insurance company. The Farmers Union Rural PAC supports candidates who embrace RMFU policy priorities. RMFU is a large organization with a lot of great projects going on and a lot of holdings to be accounted for.

It has been a trying time the past few years with Allstate Insurance becoming the parent carrier of Farmers Union Insurance. FUSA and our agents have done a great job of retaining policyholders. In 2022 I have invested $10,200 in auto premium, $41,960 in crop insurance premium and $16,074 in farm coverage premium for a total commitment to FUI in the amount of $68,234. I feel that is a real investment and commitment to the sustainability of RMFU. I would be honored to serve all of you, the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Family, for another three years. I would appreciate each one of you to vote for me for District 1 Director. A vote for me is a vote fot vote for Honesty, Integrity, Dedication and Commitment.

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Candidate for District I

Jay Wisdom - Haxtun, Colorado

My name is Jay Wisdom.  I am running for the RMFU Board of Directors to represent District I in Northeast Colorado. Cindy and I live on our farm near Haxtun. Our two daughters are the fourth generation to live on the family farm. I have been a long-time member of RMFU. We are honored that we were selected as the RMFU Farm Family of the Year in 2019.

I am a graduate of Haxtun High School. I am proud to say that I am a graduate of the first Colorado Ag Leadership class held in Colorado. I have also traveled internationally, including in Pakistan, China, and Japan.

Over the years, I have served on the boards of a variety of community and agricultural organizations. These include:

• Colorado Wool Growers Board of Directors (10 years).

• Colorado Wheat Growers Association (8 years) and as President for 2 years.

• National Association of Wheat Growers (2 years) and as  Transportation Chair for one year.

• Boulder County Farmers Market Board of Directors (6 years).

• Haxtun School District Board of Education (8 years) and as Vice President for two years.

• Northeast Colorado BOCES (8 years) and as President for six years.

• Haxtun Fire District Board of Directors (26 years)

I have supported these organizations at various times over the years by traveling to Washington, DC to participate in the lobbying process.

I have been a farmer all my life. I began farming right out of high school on the family farm. During the years that we had a dryland farming operation, we transitioned from conventional farming to conservation to no-till farming practices. Our farm was diversified and always included livestock such as sheep and cattle and always thousands of chickens!

For the last 20 years we have owned and operated Wisdom Natural Poultry, producing all natural broiler chickens and eggs. We added a USDA certified processing plant where we process all our own products. Each year we process about 20,000 broilers and 40,000 dozen eggs which we sell to area restaurants in the Boulder/Denver region. We are a long-time vendor at the Boulder County Farmers Market.

I have always wanted to become more involved with RMFU and feel that I now have the experience and leadership ability to be an effective board member. I have been on many boards and traveled throughout the country and the world and have always used RMFU’s principles as my guide when making decisions. I believe in the grassroots philosophy of RMFU and in the democratic process of this organization. When farmers come together, they can create solutions that support agriculture and ensure the health and welfare of family farms across the nation.

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Candidate for District III

Hana Fancher - Laramie, Wyoming

I am Hana Fancher and I am excited to be running for the Wyoming board position. I view this as an opportunity to give back to the organization that has been influential in my career as a young agrarian. I have been the San Luis Valley chapter secretary and have worked as the RMFU Wyoming Membership Field Representative. Both positions have given me valuable insight into the membership experience. If elected, I look forward to becoming a voice for Wyoming’s membership and working with the dynamic and motivated RMFU and FUSA teams.

In December 2022, I will graduate with a Master of Science in Agricultural Economics from the University of Wyoming. After which, I will start a position with the Land Institute as the Market Stewardship Coordinator. I am passionate about the intersection of family agriculture and conservation, and I am dedicated to helping producers achieve their economic, social, and ecological goals. I have been active in agriculture since childhood and spent the last five years before graduate school working on various ranches in New Mexico, Colorado, and my family’s ranch in Wheatland, Wyoming.

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Candidate for District IV

John Field - Montrose, Colorado

I am John Field, a fourth-generation rancher from the western slope of Colorado. Together with my wife, Linda, we run a commercial range sheep operation where we take care of around 1,600 head of commercial whiteface ewes which are summered in the San Juan mountains above Telluride and wintered in the irrigated valleys of Montrose and Delta. We also farm around a thousand acres where we primarily grow hay for our own operations and additionally supply hay to equestrian centers, training stables, and other equine operations across the U.S.

We have a daughter and two granddaughters that live in Texas.

I attended Colorado State University where I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Industries Management and a Master’s degree in Agricultural Systems Analysis. In addition to my ranching activities, I have worked as a financial analyst and consultant for various banks and agricultural clients throughout the U.S.  I also was a co-owner and helped start up a large capital services company serving clients throughout the western United States where I helped originate and service large agricultural real estate mortgages.

My other accomplishments include serving as state FFA president, being Chairman of the local FSA county committee for nine years, graduating from the Colorado Agricultural Leadership Program, being past member of the Southwestern BLM Resource Advisory Council, holding an American Farmer Degree, and I am currently serving as the regional Vice President of the Colorado Wool Growers Association.

I have been a member of the board of directors of RMFU for the last nine years and currently serves as treasurer for the organization. I was a member of the National Policy Committee, state policy committees, delegate to NationalFarmers Union convention and instituted district leadership training retreat for the officers in my district. I am running for re-election because I believe in supporting our farm families and rural communities. Rocky Mountain Farmers Union has a proven track record of addressing the issues that matter to our farmers and ranchers. The Board is charged with bringing forward the policies of our members and – most importantly – they are charged with maintaining the financial stability of the organizations we serve, primarily FUSA, which is the insurance operation that provides financial resources to RMFU and risk management products to our members. With my experience on the board, I believe that I can act as a stabilizing force as RMFU moves forward with the changes we will be seeing in the next few years.

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Candidate for District IV

Jacob Gray - Paonia, Colorado

I am Jacob Gray, a farmer and rancher in Delta County, Colorado. I fell into agriculture after leaving school ten years ago to work as an intern on a 4th-generation farm. I now operate Gray Acres and Diamond G Poultry, a mid-scale pastured-poultry operation. I completed the Fellows Program (best class) and have sat on our local Delta Farmers Union Chapter board for seven years, revitalizing a dying chapter that has turned into an organization that fosters community education and commands respect in our county.

I also currently sit on the Delta County Planning Commission, Delta Montrose Electric Association Board of Directors, and Bone Mesa Domestic Water District Board of Directors.

I’m running for the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Board of Directors because I want to help shape this great organization that has shaped me. I have found great camaraderie and friendship through Farmers Union, forging bonds that will pass the test of time. I’ve learned leadership skills that help me listen deeply, think broadly, and speak honestly. Through RMFU I found a voice that I really didn’t know I had. From helping shape specific poultry policy at the state level to developing relationships with some of the most innovative growers in our area, Rocky has been a place of solace, communion, and growth.

I hope to continue fostering our core beliefs of diversity, innovation, and cooperation. There is potential for RMFU to be the leading example of how to come together despite differing opinions or backgrounds, and rally behind causes that will have lasting impact. We have the opportunity to be a beacon of hope for all of those that have a relationship to the land and the fruit it bears. Please consider voting for me as your District IV Board Member. Thank you.

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