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DENVER—Family farmers and ranchers will network with fellow producers, explore disaster assistance programs, and learn new techniques in risk management as they discover ways of Rising Above Adversity, the theme of the 94th Annual Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) Convention, Nov. 22-23, in Aurora, Colo.
“The convention theme, Rising Above Adversity, accurately depicts what most producers hope to achieve, as Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico experience the worst drought in history,” said RMFU President John Stencel. “We don’t want to sugar coat the situation, instead, we want to offer some resources to assist producers in rising above these awful conditions.”
Newly-elected National Farmers Union President Dave Frederickson will provide the convention’s keynote address. He is expected to address the organization’s legislative agenda, including its work on achieving emergency disaster assistance funding, improving competitiveness in agricultural markets, and implementation of the 2002 farm bill. He is scheduled to speak Nov. 22, at 8:30 a.m. Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar will address convention goers Nov. 22, at 2:30 p.m., on the drought and water issues currently facing legislators, residents, developers and agricultural producers. Also invited to address RMFU attendees is Bill Richardson, candidate for governor of New Mexico.
Another special guest will be Dr. William Heffernan, of the University of Missouri, who will present a workshop on agricultural marketplace competitiveness, Nov. 22 at 3:15 p.m. and again at 4:15 p.m. Heffernan has conducted extensive research over more than a decade dealing with the decreasing competitiveness (also called concentration) in the U.S. marketplace, particularly in sectors involving food and agriculture. His latest research showed an alarming decrease in the number of competitors in the retail grocery industry.
Other workshops include a two-hour risk management seminar presented by John McKenzie and Ed Sparling, and an estate planning and charitable giving workshop let by John Stegner and Alan Gappinger.
Colorado Sen. Jim Isgar, D-Ignacio, will be presented with RMFU’s Legislator of the Year Award during the awards luncheon, Nov. 22. Lorrie Boyer, agricultural news reporter with KVAY in Lamar, Colo., will be presented with RMFU’s award for Excellence in the News Media.
RMFU will debate and adopt a policy plan that will set its legislative and other priorities for the coming 12 months. A variety of organizational reports and awards will be made during the two-day event, including the presentation of Torchbearer Awards to senior youth who have completed the RMFU senior youth educational program.
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