Media Releases, Legislative News, Agricultural Updates
Summer Updates from Your Government Relations Team
Over the summer, the government relations team looks back at the previous legislative session for lessons learned about how the session went, what legislation will go through the rulemaking process, and what relationships need to be further cultivated. Upon reflection of the previous session, we also begin to look forward to the next session. This involves determining which policy proposals may develop over the next year and be introduced during the session, developing some policy proposals that we would like to see brought, building and maintaining relationships with legislators and other key stakeholders, and most importantly, connecting with the membership within Rocky Mountain Farmers Union in order to ground the policy we advocate for in the want and needs that you direct us to fight for at the legislatures.
We wanted to share some of the things that we have been up to this summer since the state legislative sessions have ended:
- Farm Bill—One of the biggest items we have been working diligently on is the upcoming Farm Bill. Our team has met with many of the members of Congress that represent RMFU’s region to express the importance of the Farm Bill and share our priorities. As Congress continues to work on the Farm Bill, we will continue to advocate for these priorities as well as keep you updated on the progress we make. We will also participate in the National Farmers Union Fly-In in September where we will bring members to Washington DC to meet with members of Congress and the Biden administration. If you are interested in attending the NFU Fly-In, please contact Dan Waldvogle, Director of RMFU, at firstname.lastname@example.org by August 14th.
- Kroger/Albertsons Merger—Another high priority for us is fighting the potential merger with Kroger and Albertsons. Following your directives from last year’s Special Order of Business, we have joined numerous meetings with the Colorado Attorney General’s office, the Federal Trade Commission, reporters, and partners of the Stop the Merger Coalition. We are activating members and attending local townhall events throughout Colorado with Attorney General Phil Weiser. It is extremely valuable to hear from you about this issue, especially if you have experience selling to these grocers. Please contact Dan Waldvogle, Director of RMFU, at email@example.com with any comments or questions.
- NFU State-to-State—Along with other members of the RMFU staff, members of the government relations team attended NFU’s State-to-State Convention in Minneapolis. This was a great opportunity for us to connect with the NFU staff and staff from Farmers Union organizations from across the country. We discussed the legislative victories we had this session, including the first-in-the-nation Right to Repair legislation that passed in Colorado this year. We also shared policy ideas with each other that could be beneficial to bring back to our regions.
- Looking Forward to the 2024 State Legislative Sessions—Since the session has ended, the government relations teams have met to discuss the upcoming 2024 sessions. During these meetings, we started to plan for the policy proposals that we know may be brought forward by legislators and other organizations. We have also started to identify policy areas that may be good for us to prioritize in the next session. In addition to identifying policy priorities for the next session, we have also been asked by various state legislators to help them to develop bills for the next session.
- Farm and Ranch Tours in Taos—Following the government relations team meeting in Taos to discuss the previous and upcoming sessions at the Roundhouse, the government relations team joined members and Jen Ghigiarelli, Membership Coordinator for New Mexico and Western Colorado, on tours of farms and ranches in the Taos area. We were lucky enough to visit a regenerative ranch in Angel Fire that is using innovative grazing techniques to restore native vegetation to an area that had once been cleared to put in a subdivision. The tour also brought us to a farm that grows around six tons of food on less than a third of an acre. Before we headed to a brewery for a happy hour to connect with members, we wrapped up the tour at a nonprofit farm that teaches local youth how to grow their own food and the importance of agriculture.
- Meeting with Members of the Wyoming Congressional Delegation—Last month Chad Franke, President of RMFU, and Scott Zimmerman, RMFU Government Relations Advocate in Wyoming, met with members of Wyoming’s Congressional delegation as well as the ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Sen. John Bozeman (R-AR), to discuss the Farm Bill. RMFU President Chad Franke spoke to the group about the need to address the lack of competition among suppliers and buyers, which is detrimental to producers. He emphasized that competition needs to be addressed in the Farm Bill. He also brought up the lack of competition amongst agricultural equipment manufacturers, the limited dealerships left to offer any competition, and the need for Right to Repair. RMFU Government Relations Advocate for Wyoming Scott Zimmerman also attended a meeting in Goshen County to discuss financial aspects of the Farm Bill, particularly those around funding for USDA agencies and the Packers and Stockyards Act. We were also pleased to learn that US Representative Harriet Hageman (R-WY) has introduced legislation in Congress related to mandatory country of origin labeling, which has been a high policy priority of RMFU.
- Legislative Tours in Colorado—We have been fortunate enough to co-host one legislative tour and attend another for members of the Colorado General Assembly. Late last month, RMFU and CSU AgNext co-hosted an event at AgNext to demonstrate the research they are doing around sustainable animal production. We coordinated for Governor Polis to speak at the event and for him to learn a little about what great things are being done at AgNext. We were also able to get six members of the Colorado General Assembly, Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg, other members of the Polis administration, and representatives from various other agricultural organizations to attend the event. Also, Tyler Garrett, RMFU Director of Government Relations, was invited and attended a tour in Alamosa with the Colorado General Assembly’s Water Resources and Agriculture Review Committee at the end of July. While there, Tyler was able to connect with legislators and discuss some policy proposals that may be brought during the 2024 legislative session.
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