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Awards at RMFU 98th Annual Convention

Denver– Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) presented its Legislator of the Year award, Nov. 17, during its annual convention to Sen. Dan Grossman, D-Denver, for his demonstration of strong leadership and standing up for the Colorado agricultural producers and consumers who are seeking more accountability in the food marketplace. He fought hard to establish a viable, workable program that would let consumers know exactly where their food was produced. He was also a champion on environmental concerns as it relates to rural communities.

RMFU also presented Rep. Kathleen Curry, D-Gunnison, with its Legislator of the Year award for her continued work on surface rights for landowners in regards to the increased oil and gas development taking place in our region. RMFU also recognized Curry for her continued support for farm and ranch families within Colorado, as well as for her commitment to other issues affecting rural Colorado.

“What I really want to fight for are conditions that sustain small producers because they will always be key to feeding the nation and to providing a future in agriculture for our youth,” said Curry.

Chris Woodka, Pueblo Chieftain, Pueblo, Colo., was presented RMFU’s 2006 Excellence in News Media award. Woodka, whose writing covered water quality and water resources, as well as many other agricultural issues, has been with the Chieftain since 1985. His writing covers community and state news and events while providing an important voice to rural communities in Colorado.

RMFU honored the Richard Wolf family, Ault, Colo., with the Farm Family of the Year award for their outstanding agricultural achievement in proficiency production, agricultural and civic organizational involvement, conservation and preservation of soil, water and energy.

RMFU honored those who have served as education directors and youth leaders of their local Farmers Union organization for 40 years or more. Honorees included Dorys Fehringer, Peetz, Colo., and Dorothy Davis, Peetz, Colo.

Tom Bramlet, Wheatland, Wyo. was recognized as RMFU’s (Insurance) Agent of the Year. The award was given for outstanding insurance business, as well as willingness to work with RMFU on issues affecting family farmers and ranchers.

At the convention education luncheon, Nov. 18, RMFU recognized the winners of the RMFU education program’s “Food for Thought” agriculture themed poetry and artwork contest. First place winners in the grades K-4 category included: Tyson Peppler, Mead, Colo.; Blaine Trimbach, Brush, Colo.; Holly Logan, Chandler, Ariz.; Kyle Rosenbrock, Brush, Colo.; and, Michael Towle, Denver, Colo. In the grades 5-8 category, the winners were Julia Birgen, Lafayette, Colo.; Beth Lenz, Holyoke, Colo.; Tanner Cook, Elizabeth, Colo.; Alexandria Schweitzer, Brush, Colo.; Michael Martino, Pueblo, Colo.; and, Morgan Hetterley, Littleton, Colo. In the grades 9-12 category, the winner was Tim Davis, Pavillion, Wyo.

In summing up the success of the contest, RMFU Education Director Jennifer Luitjens Bahr said, “This was a creative way for kids to express and explore their connection to agriculture.”

Also honored during the convention were the 2006 Torchbearers, including Danielle Goranson, daughter of Michael & Debra Goranson, Peetz, Colo.; Tracy Roelle, daughter of Larry and Joanne Roelle, Peetz, Colo.; Bryce Schumacher, son of Gary and Kristi Schumacher, Peetz, Colo.; and Jessica Schumacher, daughter of Gary and Kristi Schumacher, Peetz, Colo. The Torchbearer Award is the highest honor earned by Farmers Union youth.

Another highlight of the convention was the presentation of speeches by local winners of RMFU’s annual speech contest. The statewide winner was Justine Naibauer, Gill, Colo.