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Farm Bill, Renewable Energy, Water – Key Issues for Delegates

DENVER—Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) delegates and other members leave this week to participate in the 2007 National Farmers Union convention in Orlando, Fla, March 2-5. Delegates will bring before the national body, issues that affect the family farmers and ranchers they represent. The convention theme is “Feeding the World, Fueling the Future.”

“RMFU’s top priority for this convention and for the coming year is the farm bill,” said RMFU President Kent Peppler, Mead, Colo. “This has to be the number one issue in agriculture. The next farm bill will control the destiny of thousands of family farmers all over the world.”

Specifically, Peppler and other RMFU delegates will ask the NFU convention policy-making body to focus on an adequate safety net, permanent disaster assistance, implementation of conservation programs and aggressive development of renewable energy at the community level.”

“Producers should not be fooled by the high commodity prices we are currently enjoying,” Peppler said. “Remember, this too shall pass. With the constant increases in operating expenses, we need to protect and expand our safety net now, more than ever.” Another priority issue for Western states is water. Additionally, RMFU delegates will bring up the issues of eminent domain use, trade and national animal identification.

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will be the keynote speaker, opening the national convention March 2. Convention participants also will hear a farm bill panel led by U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chair Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and featuring Reps. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., Jon Porter, R-Nev., Dave Weldon, R-Fla., and Kenny Hulshof, R-Mo. U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary of Rural Development Tom Dorr will also speak.

In addition to Peppler, RMFU representatives attending the national convention include: Marty Brophy, Eckley, Colo.; Cecil Crowe, Blanca, Colo.; John Ellis, Boulder, Colo.; Dorys Fehringer, Peetz, Colo.; Cleta Felzien, Limon, Colo.; Michael Gardner, Pine Bluffs, Wyo.; Gregg Gossett, Portales, N.M.; Todd Hagenbuch, Steamboat Springs, Colo (and spouse Sarah); John Noffsker, Monte Vista, Colo.; Trent Lauridson, Ft. Collins, Colo.; Charles Petty, Clovis, N.M.; Elwin Poe, Holyoke, Colo.; Armando Valdez, LaJara, Colo.( and spouse Daisey); and Marge Zavorka, Torrington, Wyo. Others attending from the Rocky Mountain region include RMFU Executive Director, Leland Swenson (and spouse Kathy); RMFU Executive Assistant Lynn Eschbach; RMFU board members Jan Kochis, Barb Mary, and Charles Klaseen and his spouse Betty.