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Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Members Attending National Convention

More than 30 Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) members from Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming will be attending the 107th annual National Farmers Union (NFU) convention March 2-4 in Las Vegas, Nev. The RMFU delegation includes 11 official delegates who will be responsible for developing organization policy and electing officers.

“We are excited that RMFU member Claudia Svarstad is seeking the office of vice president of National Farmers Union,” stated Kent Peppler, RMFU president and farmer from Mead, Colo. “Claudia’s family has deep roots in agriculture and has a distinguished career of involvement in Farmers Union affiliated businesses and in serving as a volunteer advocate on hunger issues at the local, federal and international level.”

Delegates include: Ken Anderson, Center, Colo.; Ann Curtis, Peetz, Colo.; John Ellis, Boulder, Colo.; Jerry Hergenreder, Longmont, Colo.; Charles Klaseen, Crawford, Colo.; Trent Lauridson, Ft. Collins, Colo.; Roland Naibauer, Kersey, Colo.; Masyl Jarrett, Wray, Colo.; Kent Peppler, Mead, Colo.; Armando Valdez, LaJara, Colo.; and Wade Wilson, Lewis, Colo. Policy issues of priority for RMFU delegates are completion of the next farm bill, including a permanent disaster program; skyrocketing energy and farm input costs; advancing renewable energy opportunities; food safety; international trade; and, development of local and regional food marketing opportunities.

“The participation of national agricultural leaders at the NFU convention like Rep. Collin Peterson, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee and newly appointed U. S. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer allows farmers and ranchers to tell them directly how critical it is that they finalize a farm bill,” stated Armando Valdez, RMFU delegate from LaJara, Colo. “The legislation touches all Americans, with approximately 70 cents of every dollar funding important programs within the nutritional title of the bill. What we are really waiting for is the adoption of America’s Food Bill.”

In addition to Rep. Peterson and Secretary Schafer, convention attendees will also hear from Rep. Rosa DeLauro, chairwoman of the powerful House Subcommittee on Agriculture Appropriations. Rep. DeLauro played an instrumental role in paving the way for implementation of mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL). She has been outspoken on the need to improve inspections within the food system and a critic of USDA’s attempt at implementing a National Animal Identification System (NAIS).

“Rocky Mountain Farmers Union is proud of our achievements in addressing many challenges that have faced our region’s farmers and ranchers, such as obtaining disaster assistance to cover losses incurred by farmers and ranchers in 2005, 2006 and 2007; gaining approval of tools like tax credits and interconnection standards to advance opportunities for individual participation in renewable energy on farms and ranches; and, securing expanded opportunities for farmers, ranchers and foresters to participate in the carbon credit program,” stated Peppler. “Coming out of this convention we will not only put in place the policies to provide greater opportunities for family farmers and ranchers, we will have a game plan for enhancing the economic wellbeing of family farmers and ranchers and building a stronger relationship between producers of food and the non-farm consumers within our Rocky Mountain region.”

Media Note: If any reporter would like an update or to conduct an interview with President Peppler or a specific delegate during or immediately following the convention, please contact Leland Swenson at 303-638-2408 and he will be glad to help make arrangements. Other inquiries may be directed to Mick McAllister, RMFU communications director, 303-283-3537.