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Media Releases, Legislative News, Agricultural Updates
It’s Time to Think About Policy
County conventions are finished, our members have chosen delegates, and the RMFU Convention is just around the corner starting on November 16. While conventions are a great time to reconnect with fellow RMFU members, learn about the exciting things happening within the organization, and elect officers, it’s also time to think about policy. RMFU has a grassroots policy process, which means you and your fellow members direct our advocacy efforts by telling us which policies you’d like us to support. There are several ways for you to address policies that you care about. Check out the Path Towards Policy document here for more information on how you can impact the policymaking decisions of RMFU. We strongly suggest that you submit policy proposals by the November 8 deadline to have them considered by the Policy Committee. You can do so here. Please let Dan Waldvogle (email@example.com), Director of Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, know if you have any questions.
Legislative Sessions are Rapidly Approaching
Although the legislative sessions for our three states all occur during the first third of the year, the interim between sessions is a busy time when legislators plan for the coming sessions, interim committees are held, and task forces and working groups that are established in the previous session convene. As we rapidly approach the end of the calendar year, we are also quickly approaching the upcoming legislative sessions in our three states. During the interim, our government relations staff has been hard at work to address the legislative priorities of RMFU members.
In Colorado, water has been the most significant policy area we have focused on during the interim. During the 2022 RMFU Convention, members directed us to put a major emphasis on our work related to the Colorado River through the passage of a Special Order of Business. Since then we have worked diligently on this matter at the Colorado General Assembly and with the Colorado River Drought Task Force that was created from legislation we worked on with various stakeholders. We have attended most of the meetings of the Task Force and are working with a coalition of agricultural organizations who are united in ensuring that any recommendation that is made is fair for family farmers and ranchers and is voluntary, temporary, and compensated. We have also been busy working with legislators on preparing legislation for the upcoming legislative session. While there are going to be a variety of pieces of legislation that we will work on, two of our priorities during this next session involve addressing issues around mental health in agriculture and rural communities and issues with land access for beginning farmers and ranchers and underserved, underrepresented communities.
In New Mexico, a big focus this interim has been around ensuring that the Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund has the proper funding moving forward to ensure that it succeeds in helping farmers and ranchers in New Mexico for years to come. Your legislative advocates in New Mexico, Gillian Joyce and Pam Roy, have also been busy addressing numerous other programs and watching out for the best interest of family farmers and ranchers, including rallying opposition for a federal grazing bill that would have been harmful for ranchers in New Mexico. During the upcoming shorter fiscal session, we expect bills related to increased funding for the Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund and meat processing among others.
In Wyoming, your legislative advocate, Scott Zimmerman, has been attending numerous interim committee meetings that have addressed issues ranging from property taxes to the possibility of farmers and ranchers having a greater capacity to manage the elk populations on their property. While the 2024 legislative session in Wyoming is a shorter fiscal session, there will be legislation and budget items that are priorities for RMFU that our dedicated Wyoming legislative advocate will be hard at work on.
Be on the lookout for the LegisLetter starting back in January to stay up to date with the legislation affecting agriculture and our efforts to advocate for the family farmers and ranchers in Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming.
Innovation within the H-2A Program
We understand that many farms and ranches struggle to find specialized labor. We also believe that workers deserve safe, dignified working conditions. Our member-led policy directs us to bridge these gaps.
We have worked toward this goal by not only informing the development of the recently released Farm Labor Stabilization and Protection Pilot Program but by actively supporting our members in applying for it.
Follow this link to learn more about the program: Farm Labor Stabilization and Protection Pilot Program | Agricultural Marketing Service (usda.gov) and contact Clinton Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in further exploring this opportunity. The application deadline has been extended to 1/3/24.
Reach out today to learn more about our efforts to assist producers and support workers throughout this pilot program!
Right to Repair
Earlier this year Colorado made history by becoming the first state in the country to pass Right to Repair legislation for agricultural equipment and Rocky Mountain Farmers Union was one of the main supporters of this legislation. While this is a tremendous victory for family farmers and ranchers, we are not done fighting for Right to Repair legislation. We will not be done fighting for the right to choose how you get your equipment fixed until all farmers and ranchers across the country have the Right to Repair.
Recently, the White House held a convening on Right to Repair. This is an important topic for President Biden who included Right to Repair in his Executive Order on Promoting Competition. During this call members of the Biden Administration, legislators, farmers, and other leaders from around the country discussed the need for national Right to Repair legislation. We were proud to be represented by our very own District I Director Danny Wood who spoke about his struggles with getting his equipment repaired and the impact that this legislation could have.
If you would like to see more information on this convening or watch the full roundtable discussion, you can find it here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2023/10/25/readout-of-the-white-house-convening-on-right-to-repair/.
Kroger/Albertsons Merger Opposition Grows
We continue to work towards the aim our delegates set last November when they passed the Kroger/Albertsons Merger Special Order of Business. Last week, RMFU Director, Dan Waldvogle and Director of Government Relations, Tyler Garrett attended a listening session hosted by Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Kahn and Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser regarding the $25 billion merger. Listen to great summary of the meeting here. We were also honored to have a private meeting with Chair Kahn to not only speak about the merger but also about other antitrust concerns including right to repair, data privacy, deceptive certifications and labels, food service provider abuses of the dominance standard, and oligopsonies within the livestock industry. As we continue to build a coalition of opposition to this merger, please connect with us. Your story is vital to this work.
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