Legislative News

The Challenge of School Funding

The Hickenlooper administration caught everyone’s attention with a proposed 2011-2012 Colorado budget that slashes public education to the tune of $332 million or nearly $500 per pupil. This proposed reduction, along with the approximately 6.38 percent reductions to school districts in the current year, totals nearly 14 percent in the last two years. These reductions in funding are particularly hard to deal with in Colorado’s rural school districts, many of which are losing enrollment and thus losing additional funding. Many rural school districts have already gone to the four-day week,... Read More

New Year, New Challenges

2011: Here we go again. It’s time to get out the crystal ball and determine what issues will rise to the top and challenge all of us. What will be the issues that affect our members the most? Where do we need to be on these issues to benefit our members the most? This isn’t like gambling in Las Vegas. It more like swimming in a lake you have never been at before. Everyone tells you what they think is waiting for you underneath the muddy water but you really... Read More

RMFU Board Condemns Colorado’s “Big Bad Three” Ballot Initiatives

The Board of Directors of Rocky Mountain Farmers Union has denounced the “Big Bad Three” initiatives (Amendment 60, Amendment 61, and Proposition 101) is potentially disastrous for the state of Colorado and its local communities. Speaking of Amendment 60, RMFU Board Chair Jan Kochis said, “It could kill the schools, community recreation programs, and any new capital improvement projects in your community. It could cut more than $1 billion from local schools.” The amendment changes property taxes, increasing the burden on the state government to find money for schools in... Read More

RMFU Urges Interior to Go Slow on Oil Shale

In a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, RMFU President Kent Peppler urged the department to proceed with caution on oil shale development. “The oil companies have been long on promises and short on delivery with oil shale,” Peppler said. “What we do know is that oil shale development will use up scarce water supplies. That’s robbing Peter to pay Paul, and agriculture can’t afford it.” The letter to the Interior Department points out that 30 years ago, oil companies were claiming that commercial production of oil shale would allow... Read More

RMFU Asks USDA Not to Weaken Foot and Mouth Disease Restrictions

In a statement submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, RMFU President Kent Peppler urged the USDA not to relax protections against importation of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). “Our members are concerned that a change in status for Santa Catarina, Brazil, will endanger our domestic meat and dairy supply,” Peppler said. “The change will threaten the livelihood of family farmers and ranchers, the health of livestock and wildlife populations, and the food security of our nation. The economic interests of other countries should not be allowed to trump those of our... Read More

RMFU Voices Priorities for 2012 Farm Bill to U.S. Agriculture Committee in Cheyenne, Wyoming

Rocky Mountain Farmers Union presented the following statement to members of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee in a hearing on the 2012 farm bill in Cheyenne, Wyoming. America’s farm and food policy has an impact on all our citizens, but the small minority of Americans who grow our food must have a respected voice in that policy if it is going to be fair and usable. Rocky Mountain Farmers Union appreciates the hard work of the House Agriculture Committee to ensure that family producers get a fair hearing, and their... Read More

House Bill to Regulate your Puddles?

Representative Jim Oberstar’s America’s Commitment to Clean Water Act goes too far in its attempt to define and regulate America’s waters, according the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union board of directors. “We support protecting our water supply,” said RMFU President Kent Peppler, a Mead, Colo., farmer. “We understand the need that Representative Oberstar is trying to address, but we are worried that the definition of ‘body of water’ is too broad in his legislation.” If the bill passes, it will include mudflats, sandflats, “intermittent streams,” and wetlands in the EPA’s oversight.... Read More

RMFU Joins Calls to Strengthen Protections Against Mad Cow Disease

Rocky Mountain Farmers Union signed on to a letter from R-CALF USA to the USDA requesting that the agency respond to the latest appearance of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or “mad cow disease”) in Canadian livestock. RMFU, which represents family farmers and ranchers in Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming, joined Farmers Unions nationwide in co-signing the letter. Earlier in the month, it was disclosed that the latest Canadian cow afflicted with the illness met USDA’s requirements to enter the United States. USDA’s relaxed import standards, the letter points out, are... Read More

RMFU Supports Markey’s Plea for Aid to Dairy Farmers

Rocky Mountain Farmers Union President Kent Peppler issued a statement supporting Colorado District 4 Representative Betsy Markey’s appeal to the Secretary of Agriculture for assistance with the diary crisis in America. “Farmers Union has testified twice before House committees in recent weeks to get some relief for the dairy industry. Milk prices are currently below production costs by nearly 50 percent. Dairy owners can’t afford to lose money maintaining their herds. If dairy cattle are sold for beef, that will hurt cattlemen by dropping beef prices, it will hurt dairy... Read More

Congress About to Hand Over “Food Safety” to Agri-business

Concerned by the sudden rush to pass the Food Safety bill (HR 2749), Rocky Mountain Farmers Union President Kent Peppler sent a message to the congressional delegation from Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming: “Now just a dang minute!” Although the bill was improved by amendments before reaching the House floor, it is still, as Peppler testified in Washington last week, potentially devastating for small farmers and ranchers. The letter points out that “The bill treats the family who cans their neighbors’ peaches in Montrose as if they posed the same... Read More