DENVER – Family farmers and ranchers from Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico will network with fellow producers, and learn about protecting their operations from bioterrorism, explore options for on-farm renewable energy development, look at the pros and cons of biopharming and conduct organizational business when they meet Nov. 21-22, at the University Park Holiday Inn, 425 W. Prospect, Ft. Collins, for Rocky Mountain Farmers Union’s (RMFU) 95th Annual Convention.
Leading a panel on how to prevent bioterrorism on farm and ranch operations will be Hank Gardner, director, bio-terrorism-Environmental Health, Cooperative Extension Service and associate vice president of Colorado State University (CSU). His presentation will be made twice on Friday, Nov. 21, the first time at 3:15pm, and again at 4:15pm. Other workshops to be presented simultaneously to the one by Gardner include a workshop on federal farm programs and international trade led by National Farmers Union (NFU) chief economic analyst Jim Miller, from Washington, D.C. A third workshop will focus on at-the-farm renewable energy opportunities and will be led by New Center Principal Tom Potter, Denver, Colo.
Keynoting the convention will be NFU President Dave Frederickson, who is expected to discuss the activities of the organization over the past year as well as the future of farm programs, the potential impact of world trade on U.S. producers, and other legislative issues expected to be on the front burner in Washington, D.C. He is scheduled to speak Friday, Nov. 21, at 8:30am.
Following this at 10:00am will be a panel discussing the merits and dangers of biopharming, the controversial practice of growing traditional crops infused with medicine-producing substances. Leading the panel will be Dr. Patrick Byrne, a member of the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Biopharm Advisory Committee.
“In order to continue providing a secure food supply to consumers, U.S. producers must be strengthened financially and have the resources they need to produce and market their products,” said RMFU President John Stencel. “This convention will explore a variety of areas in which producers can become stronger.”
Prior to the convention, RMFU’s county officers on Thursday, Nov. 20, will participate in a full day of activities, including a tour of CSU research facilities, and a tour and social activity at the soon-to-open Harmony Market in Ft. Collins. The Harmony Market, located at 101 E. Harmony Rd., is a vehicle for promoting and marketing locally-produced foods. The project is being developed with assistance from the RMFU Cooperative Development Center.
RMFU also 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.