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RMFU to hold 98th annual convention

DENVER– Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) will kick off its 98th annual convention, Nov. 17, at 8 a.m. at the Four Points by Sheraton Denver SE Hotel, 6363 E. Hampden Ave., Denver, Colo. Featured guests will include a keynote address from National Farmers Union President Tom Buis; an entertaining and educational presentation from Patricia Limerick, Director for the Center for the American West; and, a banquet address from former U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Gary Hart. A dance will follow the banquet Friday night with entertainment by Ethyl and the Regulars. In addition, delegates to the convention will elect a new president to take the reins from retiring President John Stencel, whose two separate terms have spanned some 30 years.

“We are very excited about this convention where we will begin to celebrate RMFU’s centennial,” Stencel said. “While strategies and technology have changed immensely since Farmers Union was founded in Colorado 100 years ago, the focus of advocating for family farms and ranches and rural communities is as important today as ever.” Buis will give an overview of legislative and other activities of the national organization in 2006, with an eye toward the 2007 farm bill.

Other issues likely to be addressed include natural disaster assistance for producers, international trade, market concentration and the impact of the World Trade Organization on U.S. farm policy.

At the awards luncheon Nov. 17, RMFU will recognize Sen. Dan Grossman (D- Denver) and Rep. Kathleen Curry (D-Gunnison) with Legislator of the Year Awards and Chris Woodka of the Pueblo (Colo.) Chieftain will be recognized for excellence in agricultural news media. During the education luncheon Nov. 18, RMFU will recognize youth education leaders for their service and will also present Torchbearer Award to RMFU young people who have completed five years of senior youth work.

Organizational business, includes adoption of policy that will guide RMFU board and staff over the coming 12 months, election of two board directors, and election of delegates to National Farmers Union’s (NFU) 2007 annual convention in Orlando, Fla. The convention will also feature speeches from RMFU’s 2006 speech contest winners and presentations by members of the RMFU 2006 Senior Youth Advisory Council.

In celebration of RMFU’s centennial, the convention also will feature showing of a historical film produced for the occasion, as well as include a variety of other historical and nostalgic touches.