Inside RMFU: New Mexico Needs Renewable Fuel Standard
Stand strong for New Mexico biofuels
By President Dale McCall
Rocky Mountain Farmers Union
America’s farming communities are facing an economic crisis. Not since the 1980s have farm incomes declined so far so fast. The Wall Street Journal called it the “next American farm bust” and noted that rural communities are grappling with the steepest economic slide since the Great Depression. Billions of bushels of surplus crops are pushing down the value of U.S. ag products and nations like China are working to shut out American farm exports.
Agricultural communities are looking to leaders like Senator Tom Udall for support in tearing down market barriers that stand in the way of rural jobs and new opportunities to put America’s vast resources to work. Right now, the most precious of those opportunities may lie in renewable energy. Homegrown biofuels such as ethanol supply a full 10 percent of America’s demand for motor fuel, and access to growing markets will offer new opportunities for New Mexico farmers to compete against foreign oil at the gas pump. It’s a vital industry that already supports over 2,000 New Mexico jobs, generating over $100 million in wages.
Renewable fuels made from U.S. crops not only hold down prices for consumers, they are vital to combating global climate change, an existential threat for many southwestern farmers. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), homegrown ethanol is cleaner than ever, reducing carbon emissions by an average of 43 percent compared to gasoline. Ethanol also replaces toxic additives in our gasoline supply, increasing octane without the health risk associated with chemicals like MTBE. Even better, for those raising livestock, ethanol production leaves nutrients and protein intact, generating vast quantities of high-quality animal feed.
The primary federal policy aimed at harnessing all these benefits is the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which provides homegrown energy a growing role in the fuel mix. America oil imports have fallen by more than half since 2005, when the RFS was first adopted. Last year alone, U.S. ethanol displaced over 500 million barrels of oil.
Unfortunately, that progress is under threat by fossil fuel companies in Washington, D.C. who want to eliminate competition at the gas pump by weakening the successful RFS. The move would be a devastating blow to rural communities, where farmers are already struggling to make ends meet. And, it would undermine the single most effective federal policy currently working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote investment in the next generation of high-performance, low-carbon biofuels
The signs are clear. America can’t afford to back away from its commitment to homegrown fuels. American farmers are counting on Senator Udall and his colleagues in Congress to stand strong against those working to gut the RFS. The need for clean, affordable energy has never been greater, and the opportunity to harvest those resources will provide the market that farmers need to keep the economy growing in New Mexico and across the country.
By Dale McCall RMFU President America’s farming communities are facing an economic crisis. Not since the 1980s have farm incomes declined so far so fast. The Wall Street Journal called it the “next American farm bust” and noted that rural communities are grappling with the steepest economic slide since the Great Depression. Billions of bushels of surplus crops are pushing down the value of U.S. ag products and nations like China are working to shut out American farm exports. Agricultural communities are looking to leaders like Senator Tom Udall for... Read More
WASHINGTON (Jan. 30, 2015) – National Farmers Union (NFU) is now accepting applications for the 2015 class of the Beginning Farmers Institute (BFI). The annual program is open to individuals who are new to farming, in the process of transferring an operation from a relative or non-relative to themselves, or contemplating a career in farming or ranching. “The Beginning Farmers Institute underscores NFU’s commitment to growing a new generation of family agriculture,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “One unique feature of the Institute is that participants direct the agenda,... Read More
The Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Denver Botanic Gardens, and National Young Farmers Coalition present the second annual Front Range Beginning Farmers Conference! When: Saturday, Feb. 21, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., followed by social time from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. Where: Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield, a working farm at Wadsworth and C-470 Why: The average age of U.S. farmers today is 57. Two acres of farmland are lost every minute. Many young people dream of starting a farm, but lack access to land, capital, education, and training. So let’s... Read More
Saturday, January 10, 2015 – 3rd Annual Western Colorado Food and Farm Forum at the Montrose Pavilion The conference has a wide array of breakout sessions which convey vital, regionally specific agricultural information in areas including maximizing crop and livestock production, innovative agricultural marketing and management strategies, and specialty crops. Please join us in working to improve the sustainable production, marketing and consumption of local food. This year’s theme is Unlocking the Secrets of Raising Great Food. Friday, January 9, 2015 – Seed Save the Rocky Mountains: Fundamentals of Regional Seed Production, a pre-conference workshop... Read More
SAVE THE DATE for Colorado Land Link events! 3rd Annual Land Link Forum March 5-7, 2015 in Southeast Colorado Guidestone is thrilled to bring the 3rd Annual Land Link Forum to Southeast Colorado March 5-7! This year’s forum has three focus areas: 1) providing next generation farmers and ranchers with tools to access land and start or build upon successful agricultural ventures; 2) building the capacity of the Colorado Land Link program in Southeast Colorado; and 3) developing regional and statewide leadership. Additional highlights of the forum will include:... Read More
The view from the family farm of Chad and Carolyn Franke is breathtaking. The entire span of the snow-capped Front Range stands to the west, with Pikes Peak to the south, Longs Peak to the north, and Mount Evans in the middle. A glance to the north reveals the white grain elevator in Roggen, a community along I76. The farm is surrounded by a patchwork quilt of fields and farms. Living on the high plains is a way of life for the Frankes. Running a farm is a business, too.... Read More
Denver, CO, December 4, 2014 – The Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) today announced its support for the proposed national monument designation of Browns Canyon on the Arkansas River, located in Chaffee County in Central Colorado. According to the agricultural group, the increased protection and higher profile of a national monument designation would benefit local economies, local agriculture and natural resources. “By permanently protecting Browns Canyon as a national monument, we are protecting one of Colorado’s most precious natural resources while continuing with multiple uses, such as grazing, recreation and... Read More
The Southwest Farm Fresh Cooperative is pleased to announce receipt of a grant for $70,000 from the USDA’s Local Food Promotion Program. SWFF was the only Colorado recipient of LFPP money, and will use the grant to purchase much-needed refrigeration equipment to be used in the distribution of local farm products in this region. The grant will fund three refrigerated cargo trailers that will be parked strategically throughout the SWFF collection and distribution area, and will function as drop sites for member farms. The refrigerated SWFF delivery truck will collect... Read More