Press Releases

Farmers are Losing Ground, is the State Land Board Listening?

The decision by the Colorado State Land Board and Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Board to allow a gravel mining operation to proceed is “deeply disappointing” according to Dr. Dale McCall, president of Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. The proposed gravel mining operation would be located east of Pueblo in the Arkansas River Valley and adjacent to the 1874 Bessemer Ditch.

“Farmers from the area showed up and spoke out about their concerns, yet they were effectively ignored by two state boards that could, and should have, given this more thought,” said McCall. “Farmers from this area have battled this before. It seems the priority is to put future development in front of farm families who have been working hard to make a living from the land for generations.”

Area farmers have fought this gravel mine proposal before. In the past, as now, farmers say the mining operations threaten to dump sediments into the Bessemer Ditch that will clog irrigation sprinkler systems. Tearing up the land will also disrupt the native prairie land that is home to bees and other pollinators that are critical to the organic crops grown in the region. These impacts have some farmers wondering whether this is the last straw in an already difficult year: farm income is sliding rapidly as farmgate prices tumble.

“Farmers and ranchers are literally losing ground to housing developments, new roads, and retail outlets as Colorado’s population continues to swell,” adds McCall.  “When farmers and ranchers are driven out by developers who want the best farmland and water, we are destroying the way of life and living that inspire people to move to Colorado in the first place.”

The argument that the gravel mine will generate money for education doesn’t necessarily add up, McCall says. “Farmers literally grow new wealth from the ground up. Farming creates thousands of jobs that support hometown communities. Agriculture is essential to Colorado’s economy. If farmers and ranchers are displaced by industrial development, it will unravel the sustainable economic lifeblood of rural communities.”

Rocky Mountain Farmers Union is a general farm organization, whose 22,000 members make a living farming and ranching in Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming. The organization, founded in 1907, focuses on educational, cooperative, and legislative tools to build a better future for agriculture.

 

Standing Strong for New Mexico Biofuels

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

Applications Now Being Accepted for 2015 NFU Beginning Farmers Institute

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

Training the Next Generation, Feb 21st

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

Fehringers are RMFU Farm Family of the Year

Donald and Carolyn Fehringer are the 2014 Farm Family of the Year. The Fehringers are among the most actively involved families in Rocky Mountain Farmers Union.   Don was born in Nebraska in 1924. In 1929 his family moved to Peetz, Colo., where Don attended and graduated from Peetz school system.  While growing up Donald went through the Farmers Union Youth program and was one of the first Torchbearer recipients. He passed away in February of last year.   Carolyn Westphalen was born in born in 1927 in Nebraska, where... Read More

Save the Date: Western Colorado Food and Farm Forum

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: Land Link Conference and Open Houses

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

Frankes of Roggen find success in raising hogs for Whole Foods

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

Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Supports Balanced National Monument Proposal

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

Southwest Farm Fresh Co-op receives $70,000 USDA Grant

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