Media Releases, Legislative News, Agricultural Updates
April 3, 2023
“April is here, but it sure doesn’t feel like it (especially with the winter storm bearing down on Wyoming as I write this). The past three months have been a whirlwind of activity and travel, making 2023 fly by. I have not been able to participate in activities in Santa Fe or Cheyenne on your behalf, but we have great staff in all three of our state capitols keeping an eye on relevant legislation and carrying our policy to the legislative members. I have been to Denver several times and to California representing you, our members.
March was definitely a highlight of my short time thus far as RMFU President. At NFU Convention in San Francisco, we heard some great announcements from Secretary Vilsack on rules for “Product of the USA” labels. While not the Mandatory County Of Origin (MCOOL) that RMFU has fought for over the past decades, the proposed rules will prevent unfair representations of imported meat as a US product. As this rule proceeds through comment and implementation, I will work hard to make sure that “Product of the USA” becomes a true statement when consumers see it on packages.
Then, immediately after returning to Denver, as a first for me, I testified on our members’ behalf in the Senate Ag Committee in support of HB23-1011. It was amazing to see the power of a grassroots organization at work. It was a bit humbling to say in my introduction that I was there speaking for 15,000 members. As part of the first panel to testify, Danny Wood and I carried a strong message to the Senators that this is an issue for our members, one that has been known, and one that needs some force behind a solution. Several times, senators mentioned that they heard loudly from callers that it is an issue, so your calls made a difference.
I then had to leave the Capitol to attend another important event, representing RMFU and rural communities at an event by Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser about the proposed Kroger/Albertsons grocery store merger. As we have seen time and again, when big companies merge, the benefits are enjoyed by the companies, typically at the cost of consumers and employees. This proposed merger is unique in that it will likely hurt our rural communities on both ends, as consumers buy food and as producers have fewer options to sell. Again, it was a bit humbling to speak for all of our members, and a proud moment that the Attorney General knew who RMFU was, and when I was asked by his staff for help setting up more listening sessions.
The day was definitely a good one, made even better when I got the call later that HB23-1011 – Right to Repair – passed out of committee! I know we can’t win every fight, and we won’t be successful in getting all of our policies heard, but March 2023 will live in my mind as a pinnacle of what an honor it is to serve as your President.”
-Chad Franke, RMFU President
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