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Carbon Harvest Celebrated in Sterling, Colo.

Sterling, January 4, 2008 — Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture John R. Stulp joined Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) in Sterling to recognize the 35 family farmers and ranchers who were pioneers of the Carbon Credit program in the Rocky Mountain region. Carbon credit programs allow producers to devote acreage to capturing carbon effectively and thus offset industrial impacts on the environment.

RMFU and the producers “should be commended,” Commissioner Stulp said. “This is an exciting time to be innovators responding to climate change.” Stulp went on to describe public utilities eager to embrace conservation and pollution offsets. “Agriculture is the original renewable industry,” he concluded. With the Carbon Credit program, “we get money back in rural pockets and clean up our air.”

RMFU President Kent Peppler presented symbolic checks for $57,000 to three leaders in northeast Colorado (Rick Jackson, Mike Stafford, and Ron Hart) who helped sign up 35 producers and 15,000 eligible acres in the program. “This is only the beginning,” Peppler said. The enrolled acreage can draw a quarter of a million dollars into northeast Colorado over a five-year time span. Meanwhile, RMFU continues to enroll acreage as eligibility is established statewide, in New Mexico, and in Wyoming. So far, more than 200,000 acres are enrolled in Colorado, and RMFU continues to seek innovative solutions that allow family farmers and ranchers to participate in agricultural approaches to reducing air pollution.

Sterling Farmers Union Insurance agent Rick Jackson, who hosted the gathering, was among those honored. Jackson not only recruited other participants, he helped them through the complex process of qualifying acres and he enrolled some of his own farmland. “This is not just a feel-good program,” he said after accepting his award. The program benefits producers, the land itself, and the environment. “We’ll remember this beginning fifty years from now,” he said.