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DENVER—Fourteen Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) members leeave this weekend to participate in the National Farmers Union’s (NFU) Legislative Fly-In to Washington, D.C., Sept. 11-14. The RMFU group will join more than 200 Farmers Union members from throughout the United States who are traveling to the nation’s capital to talk with members of Congress and the Bush administration about the needs of farmers, ranchers and rural communities. They will specifically address the energy crisis and country-of-origin labeling.
“U.S. farmers and ranchers are facing the double whammy of declining commodity prices and skyrocketing energy prices,” said RMFU President John Stencel. “With expenses related to the price of energy, including fuel, fertilizers and transportation charges, increasing as they have recently, some producers are wondering if they will be able to afford to run the trucks and tractors to harvest their hay and grains this fall.”
RMFU also will ask for reconsideration of an agreement earlier this year by Congress and President George W. Bush to cut agriculture programs by more than $3 billion.
Fly-in participants will ask Congress and the administration not to cut programs that benefit rural America during this time of economic crisis. They will ask for emergency assistance to help offset energy prices, disaster assistance for production and quality losses due to devastating weather conditions, implementation of country-of origin labeling included in the 2002 farm bill, and extension of the safety net for dairy producers.
“Lawmakers and the White House need to understand that farmers, ranchers and rural America are vital to the long-term, broad-based development of renewable energy that is vital to the sustainability of the U.S. economy,” Stencel said. “Yet we need to give them the safeguards necessary to survive so that they can continue to provide food, fiber and energy to our nation.”
In addition to Stencel, RMFU members participating in the fly-in included: Paul Stout, RMFU vice president from Broadview, N.M.; James Dean, Parker, Colo.; Brock Beavers, Burns, Wyo.; Curtis Tempel, Wiley, Colo.; Burt White Heckman, McClave, Colo.; Monty Niebur, Akron, Colo.; Jennifer Womack, Douglas, Wyo.; Jerry White, Lingle, Wyo.; Ann Schnelzer, Lingle, Wyo.; Ryan Niebur, Burlington, Colo.; Kenneth Helling, Idalia, Colo.; Shelly Stafford, Wray, Colo.; and Susann Mikkelson, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Note to Journalists: Please contact RMFU if you wish to interview John Stencel or a participant from your area.
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