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RMFU sends nine to World Farmers’ Congress

DENVER—Nine Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) members left for Washington, D.C., June 1, to attend the International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP) World Farmers’ Congress. It is the first time in 25 years the biennial event will be held in the United States. The congress will run through June 4.

“Farmers and ranchers across the globe are becoming increasingly vocal in advocating for family producers and rural communities and policies that will enable them to survive and thrive,” said RMFU President John Stencel, one of the nine RMFU representatives to the congress. “In order to educate and activate RMFU’s leaders for tomorrow, four of RMFU’s participants at this international event are collegiate members.”

Collegiate members include Paige Ferguson, Colorado Springs, Colo.; Kaprice Franke, Akron, Colo.; Ann Mailander, Denver, Colo.; and Kendra Wolf, Ault, Colo. Other RMFU participants include Trish Hergenreder, Longmont, Colo.; RMFU board member Elwin Poe, Holyoke, Colo.; RMFU Education Director Amy Meyer, Aurora, Colo.; and RMFU Cooperative Development Center Director Bob Mailander, Denver, Colo.

Some 500 farm leaders from 70 countries are expected to participate in the 2004 World Farmers’ Congress. Agenda topics include international trade, industrial concentration, and water and environmental obstacles. Following policy discussions, congress participants will develop resolutions establishing the organization’s policies for the coming two years.

“These resolutions are important, as they will enable us to lean on international organizations to make decisions and change policies to be more beneficial to family producers throughout the world,” Stencel said. “While the types of production, methods, climates, governments, cultural considerations and other factors represented by the members of IFAP vary greatly, we usually find a great deal in common with agricultural producers in other parts of the world. It is important that we speak in a unified voice on those issues that we agree.”

Stencel has participated in a number of events and activities of IFAP over the last several decades. National Farmers Union, which is hosting the 2004 World Farmers’ Congress, is a founding member of IFAP, which was started in 1946.