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RMFU presents awards at its 95th annual convention

FT. COLLINS – Rocky Mountain Farmers Union’s (RMFU) presented its Legislator of the Year Award, here Nov. 21, during RMFU’s 95th Annual Convention to Colorado Speaker of the House Lola Spradley, R-Beulah, for her support of renewable energy. Spradley sponsored a renewable fuels standard during the 2003 Colorado legislative session. Although the measure was defeated, the speaker has said she will continue to support a renewable fuels standard in Colorado.

Evan Slack, of the Evan Slack Network based in Denver, Colo. was presented RMFU’s 2003 Excellence in News Media Award. Slack, whose broadcasts are heard on more than 40 radio stations in eight states, has worked in farm broadcasting since 1952 with the only interruption to his career being a two-year stint in the Marine Corps. Slack is a former president of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters. RMFU also honored Bob McLavey, former deputy commissioner of agriculture at the Colorado Department of Agriculture, who served in this capacity for 16 years prior to leaving the department earlier this year.

Bob and Geoff Taylor, of Ft. Morgan, Colo., were recognized as RMFU’s (Insurance) Agents of the Year. The award was given to the Taylors for their outstanding insurance business, as well as for their willingness to work with RMFU on issues affecting family farmers and ranchers. The father-son duo operates a Farmers Union insurance agency in Ft. Morgan.

At the convention banquet, Nov. 22, RMFU recognized the many years of commitment and the accomplishments of the late Elton Miller, Platteville, Colo.; and the late Rudolph Rutar, Torrington, Wyo. Both served on the RMFU board of directors. Miller was first elected in 1959 and served 22 years. Rutar was first elected in 1968 and served for 18 years. Rutar and Miller both passed away earlier this year.

In offering the tribute to Rutar and Miller, RMFU President John Stencel said: “Rudy and Elton are both fine examples of selfless leaders who truly embody the pioneer spirit.”

Also honored during the banquet were the 2003 Torchbears, including Jessica Brophy, daughter of Martin Brophy, Yuma County, Colo.; Chris Roelle, son of Dennis and Ann Roelle, Logan County, Colo.; and Loretta Meier, daughter of Tim and Carole Meier, Logan County, Colo. The Torchbearer Award is the highest honor earned by Farmers Union youth.

Another highlight of the convention was the presentation of speeches by the winner and runner-up of RMFU’s Annual Speech Contest. Runner-up Margaret Mailander, Holyoke, Colo., spoke on the value and current RMFU cooperative work, and Winner Laura Nelson, Pine Bluffs, Wyo., spoke on the importance of cooperatives to farmers, ranchers and rural communities.

RMFU honored three members who served as secretary-treasurer of their county Farmers Union for 30 years or more. Honorees included Dorys Fehringer, Peetz, Colo.; Hazel Jess, Fort Morgan, Colo.; and Marjorie Zavorka, Torrington, Wyo.