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RMFU Board Chairman Appointed to Colorado State Fair Board

The following is an interview with Jan Kochis, Matheson, Colo., about her recent appointment to the Colorado State Fair Board. Kochis is also the chairman of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Board.

How long will you be serving?

The usual term for the State Fair Commissioners is four years. I should have been appointed in October 2002 but was not appointed until April 2003, therefore my term will expire in November 2006.

Have you served before on this board?

I did serve on this board previously in two different decades. The first time was from 1977 to 1982 and the second time was from 1991 thru 1995. I served one term each time because my congressional district changed and I could not be re-appointed to the board since there was already a representative from my new congressional district.

What motivated you to apply for a seat on this board?

One reason I applied for the board was to ensure rural and agricultural representation on the board. The Colorado State Fair and Exposition is a showcase for agriculture and other industries of the state. It provides both education and entertainment to the citizens of Colorado and the surrounding states. The public is given the opportunity to learn about 4-H, FFA, and other educational youth programs throughout the state; to see top entertainers and rodeo cowboys; to experience the thrill of the giant ferris wheel in the carnival at a very reasonable cost; or maybe see or touch a calf, lamb, baby pig, or puppy for the first time in their lives. I believe it is extremely important to support the mission and role of the Colorado State Fair in agriculture and as an educational opportunity for the public.

When I served on the board before, there were discussions about moving the fair out of Pueblo into the Denver area. It is imperative the fair remain in Pueblo because of its effect on its economy and the proximity to the agricultural areas of the state. It is important to have a balanced board so the mission of the fair is upheld. I wanted to provide support for keeping the fair in southern Colorado and ensuring it will survive into the future. Each member looks at the fair from a different perspective, and I hope to contribute to the future success of the Colorado State Fair.

What will be your responsibilities?

The board oversees the management and operations of the Colorado State Fair Grounds and operations during the Colorado State Fair, as well as in the off season. There are many events scheduled on the grounds throughout the year. We have the fiscal responsibility for the total operation of the fair and to the State of Colorado to have a profitable operation and to provide services to the citizens of the state.

Is there anything in particular you’d like to accomplish during your term?

One the greatest challenges to the current board will be to operate the fair in the black. The management is working hard to cut costs in every area of operation. With the current financial shortfall in the state, there are no extra funds to be used for maintenance or capital improvements. We may have to operate on a limited budget for awhile and need to maximize our funds to their most efficient and effective use. Improving the facilities is one main goal of the board in the coming years when money may not be available from state funds. These funds may have to come from other sources, and we should help find those sources.

Do you serve on other boards?

Yes, the Rocky Mountain Farmer’s Union—current chairman; the Farmer’s Union Service Association Board, Mountain View Harvest Cooperative Board and the Limon Child Development Center, Health Advisory Board.

What are your other qualifications for serving?

I am a native Coloradoan raised in southeastern Colorado near Eads. For the past 30 years, we have owned and operated a dry land family farm and ranch near Matheson. Our current crops are winter wheat, sunflowers, corn, proso millet and feed millet or sorghum along with a 200 head Gelvieh cross beef cattle herd. My husband Virgil and I have two children, Pamela and Michael who are both in college.

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