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The Rocky Mountain Farmers Union is overseen by a dedicated group of individuals representing the wide geographic regions we cover. Our board of directors share their time, talent, and vast knowledge to ensure that RMFU continues to be a leader in advocating for our region’s farms and ranches. If you would like to speak with a board member, please contact board president, Chad Franke.
Chad Franke grew up as the fifth generation on his family farm and ranch near Akron, Colorado. His childhood memories include potluck dinners at local RMFU chapters and family trips to national conventions. His RMFU involvement began through the summer camp program, first as a camper, then as a camp counselor. By age 16, he was a delegate to state and national conventions. At 18, he received the Farmers Union Torchbearer Award. He and his wife Carolyn completed the Fellows program with the class of 2011-2012. Until recently, they owned a small farm near Roggen, Colorado, where they raised Berkshire pigs for Whole Foods, sold pork and beef direct to consumers, grew hay, operated a small feed mill, and raised their children. Chad joined the RMFU Board of Directors in 2016 as vice president. He has also served as the RMFU Policy Chair, facilitating debates. Chad and his wife now live in Lander, Wyoming, where Chad dedicates himself full-time to his role as RMFU president.
Nick Perchess is the owner-operator of Nola Naturals farm, a 45-acre regenerative pasture-raised meat business complete with an on-site processing facility. Her farming endeavors also include the cultivation of stone fruit from 400 tart cherry trees, heirloom hot house tomatoes, and hardneck garlic, as well as honey production and her farm site also houses Pastures of Liberty, a raw milk dairy. A first-generation farmer, Nick has truly built her farm from the ground up and the Farmers Union has been an integral part of her journey. Before becoming vice-president, she re-established the Pueblo Farmers Union and served there as president. She has held seats on the Pueblo County Ag Advisory Board, Pueblo County Farm Bureau Board, Pueblo County Stockmans, New Farms and Soil Sangre De Cristo—a membership-based community loan fund providing 0% interest loans to farmers, ranchers, and food enterprises. Nick seeks to establish exemplary models for future farming practices, paying homage to the wisdom and knowledge of past generations, and passing the torch of excitement to future generations.
Chairwoman, District VI
Jan and her husband Virgil farm and ranch in Elbert County near Matheson, where they raise hard red winter seed wheat, white wheat, corn, proso millet, feed millet, and forage sorghum on their dry land operation. They also have 200 head cow-calf herd. Jan is a lifetime member of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. She completed RMFU’s youth programming, culminating in becoming a Torchbearer. Jan met her husband at a Young Adult Weekend hosted by the National Farmers Union Education Center. She and Virgil participated in the National Farmers Union American Farm Project in 1977-1980 and the first Fellows Class in 1986. She has served as an active leader in the Elbert/Lincoln County Chapter and was first elected to RMFU’s Board of Directors in 1988, where she has served since.
Secretary, District II
Barb and her husband, Albert, farm north of Strasburg, raising corn, wheat, sunflowers, hay, cattle, pigs, and goats, along with their four children. As third-generation members, both their families have ties to the early days of the Farmers Union. Barb attended RMFU’s youth programming and received her Torchbearer Award. She and her husband completed the Fellows program. Barb held an office with the Adams/St. Vrain chapter for many years before being elected to the board in 2006. Barb served on the state’s policy committee and multiple committees for National Convention. She has been a part of the camp program since 2008. She also was appointed to the Colorado State Ag Commission. She is a founding Colorado Food Systems Advisory Council member and leads a 4-H club for Adams County.
Treasurer, District IV
John is a fourth-generation rancher from the western slope of Colorado. He and his wife, Linda, run a commercial range sheep operation caring for around 1,600 head of commercial whiteface ewes. They also farm around a thousand acres growing hay for their operation and to supply equestrian centers, training stables, and other equine operations across the country. John has been an active agricultural community member his entire life. He served as state FFA president and local FSA county committee chairman. He graduated from the Colorado Agricultural Leadership Program, served on the BLM Resources Advisory Council, and holds the position of Vice President of the Colorado Wool Growers Association. John joined the Board of Directors of RMFU in 2013 and served on state and national policy committees for the Farmers Union.
Danny Wood lives and farms in the northeast corner of Colorado near the small town of Peetz. He, his wife Lorrie, and son Zach run a fourth-generation dryland farming operation growing corn, proso millet, winter wheat, and grain sorghum. A lifetime member of the Farmers Union, Danny grew up attending RMFU camps every year. As an adult, he continues to be an active member of the Logan County Chapter, serving multiple years as chapter president. In 2016, Danny and Lorrie completed the RMFU Fellows program, and he joined the Board of Directors in 2019. In addition to his responsibilities on the farm and with RMFU, Danny is also an active member of his community, having served on the board of directors for his local school district, the Logan County FSA, and the Centennial Conservation Board. He and his wife are also active in the Peetz Community Church.
Hana Fancher lives in Laramie, Wyoming, where she works in agricultural economics, focusing on perennial crop development. Hana spent part of her childhood working on her family’s sixth-generation cow-calf operation in southeast Wyoming, which instilled a passion and appreciation for agriculture. After completing her undergraduate degree, Hana continued to pursue her passion for ranching by working for ranches in Colorado, New Mexico, and Hawaii. She served as the foreman at San Juan Land and Livestock in Colorado’s San Luis Valley, where she became involved with the San Luis Valley Chapter of RMFU. After returning home to her family’s ranch, Hana served as the Wyoming Membership Coordinator for RMFU. She is a graduate of the 2018 Fellows class and now serves as the Director for District III.
Emily and her husband Kyler work with Emily’s parents to run Elliot Farms in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, growing Russet potatoes with rotation crops of Coors barley and cover crops. They run a cow-calf grass-fed beef operation, which is being integrated into the farming operation. Before farming full-time, Emily’s background was in public health. She remains active in her community’s public health and agricultural realms. She serves on the Board of her local Critical Access Hospital, the Rio Grande Hospital, and as an advisory board member for the University of Denver’s Center for Rural School Health & Education (CRSHE). She is active in the Quivira Coalition and participates in the Women in Ranching network. Emily assisted their farm in becoming a STAR Plus farm through the Colorado Department of Agriculture, is a graduate of the first SLV Annie’s Project class and supports the San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition.
Sarah Wentzel is the executive director of the Quivira Coalition and has worked in food and agriculture planning for over a decade with a focus on supporting young and beginning farmers and ranchers. She was the editor of Edible Santa Fe from 2011 to 2017. From 2013 to 2015 she worked for the National Young Farmers Coalition as an organizer and is currently on the board of the Southwest Grassfed Livestock Alliance and the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. She is a committed champion of the local food movement and of resilient and regenerative agriculture. In her free time, you can find her feeding pigs, turkeys and cows, checking the compost pile, or possibly weeding a patch of beans at Polk’s Folly Farm where she lives.