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Awards announced at annual RMFU convention

PUEBLO—Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) at its 93rd annual convention here, Nov. 16, awarded Legislator of the Year to Colorado House Minority Leader Dan Grossman, Denver, and Excellence in News Media to Denver Post business reporter Steve Raabe, also of Denver.

“Representative Grossman has been an excellent bridge builder, repeatedly demonstrating his interest in bringing together rural and urban communities to work on issues of mutual concern,” said Dave Carter, RMFU’s retiring president who presented the award to Grossman. “He continues to remind us that urban consumers care about the quality of their food as well as about the important environmental role played by Colorado farmers and ranchers.”

In receiving the award, Grossman said: “Colorado cannot be back on track economically until rural Colorado is back on track.”

Grossman was recognized by the family farm and ranch organization for his efforts in bringing rural concerns before urban legislators. He collaborated with RMFU to organize a series of five “Urban Legislators Listen” forums throughout rural Colorado this fall. The town-hall-type meetings enabled urban legislators to better understand the concerns of rural citizens.

As a result of the forums, Grossman and other members of the Colorado Legislature have agreed to introduce legislation beneficial to farmers, ranchers and rural citizens. Some of the measures include: requiring state institutions to buy Colorado food when financially feasible; better access to and more affordable rural health care; country-of-origin food labeling; continuation of Colorado’s organic certification program; and inclusion of farmers markets in the Women, Infants and Children’s federal feeding program.

“These issues are not partisan issues,” Grossman said in reference to the likelihood of such measures being adopted into law. “They only become partisan if we make them partisan.”

Also presented with RMFU’s Excellence in News Media award for his investigative reporting on biotechnology and a variety of environmental issues affecting agricultural producers was Denver Post writer Steve Raabe.

“Steve has displayed a tremendous ability to learn and explore the intricacies of topics such as biotechnology and its impact on agricultural producers,” Carter said. “He brings a thoughtful approach to his stories, always careful to show the impact of these issues on consumers in urban areas.”