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RMFU Wins Federal Grant to Sustain Co-op Development

Denver, September 18, 2007 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Monday that Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) was the recipient of a $200,000 USDA Rural Development grant. The grant will allow RMFU’s Cooperative Development Center to continue helping rural areas improve their economic conditions.

“Cooperative Development Centers are important to our efforts to support rural America,” Colorado USDA Director, Business and Community Programs, Dolores Sanchez-Maes said. “We have had some great successes in our partnerships with RMFU’s Cooperative Development Center, and we are excited to have new opportunities this year.”

RMFU recently assisted the High Plains Food Co-op in securing federal money, through the USDA Rural Development program, to explore ways of using the Internet to connect local food producers with consumers cooperatively. RMFU will use this year’s funds to help create new, innovative farm cooperatives and to educate and provide technical assistance for existing cooperatives in Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico.

The RMFU Cooperative Development Center, formed 12 years ago, is the oldest institution of its kind in the United States. Since its inception, it has provided assistance through funds, education, and technical consulting for more than 70 rural cooperative projects. Cooperative philosophy has been a fundamental concept of the Farmers Union network since its beginnings more than a century ago. “Farmers and ranchers throughout Colorado benefit immensely from the resources and expertise provided by the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union’s Cooperative Development Center,” said Senator Ken Salazar (D-Colo.). “This additional funding will allow this important institution to continue its efforts to help revitalize the rural communities of Colorado, and in doing so, strengthen and preserve the agricultural tradition of the Rocky Mountain west.”