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Rocky Mountain Farmers Union will be recognized as a Colorado Centennial AgriBusiness during a ceremony to be held at the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo. History Colorado and the Colorado Department of Agriculture will officially honor RMFU and other recipients at 12:00 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25, at the PB&T Bank Pavilion.
“While much has changed in the 116 years that RMFU has been working for the interests of family farmers and ranchers in Colorado, one thing has not, and that is the persistence of our grassroots organization,” says RMFU President Chad Franke. “From my grandpa being a member in the 1960s and ’70s, to my dad being active on the board in the 1980s and ’90s, our family has understood that RMFU is the leading farm and ranch organization working toward the vision of a society in which family farmers, ranchers and their communities are thriving. I am proud to represent our 15,000 members as we continue the work of those who came before us and as we strengthen the voices of our members today through our emphasis on education, legislation, and cooperation.”
Rocky Mountain Farmers Union was organized in July of 1907 by seven charter members who gathered in Teller County. In April of 1908, the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union came into existence as a state organization aligned with National Farmers Union, which itself was founded in Texas in 1902. Subsequently, RMFU expanded its membership rolls to include farmers and ranchers in New Mexico, and Wyoming.
As each decade passed, RMFU members and leaders took on the most pressing challenges of their time. From the Great Depression and Dust Bowl to today’s concerns over corporate concentration, Farmers Union has worked to improve the lives and bottom line of farm and ranch families.
“My family has been involved with Farmers Union as long as I can remember and I followed their footsteps through the Youth Program, Fellows Program and now as the chair of the RMFU Board,” says Jan Kochis. “I am proud to see our organization being recognized as a Centennial AgriBusiness in Colorado. RMFU has always represented all aspects of agriculture for 116 years and has been responsive to the needs of the members, even when it was not the popular thing to do. We have been a progressive grassroots organization representing farm and ranch families in rural Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico. Helping these families and their hometown communities be successful is a commitment Farmers Union has adhered to for more than 100 years.”
Because members come from all types of operations including growing traditional irrigated commodity crops and raising livestock to fruit and vegetable farms serving local markets, Farmers Union sees the big picture of production agriculture.
Using educational programs, legislative advocacy, and creating member-owned cooperative enterprises, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union has survived and as an advocacy organization for family owned and operated farms and ranches. Creating opportunities for members to be actively involved in public policy development is a hallmark of Farmers Union.
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