Press Releases

For Immediate Release
Contact: Bob Kjelland
Phone: 970-397-0039

For Immediate Release Contact: Bob Kjelland

RMFU Commends Tri-State’s Responsible Energy Plan, Offers To Work Collaboratively

Denver, CO – In response to Tri-State Generation & Transmission’s (Tri-State) announcement of its Responsible Energy Plan, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU), a general farm organization comprised of farm and ranch families across Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming, renewed a request to provide meaningful input in Tri-State’s initiative.

“Farmers and ranchers work within razor-thin margins to make ends meet. We need to think strategically to reduce our cost-of-production, be flexible in how we plan for and manage input costs, and constantly react to the demands of our own customers. We believe our energy providers should do the same,” says RMFU President Dr. Dale McCall. “We do commend Tri-State for mapping out this strategy for the future and we look forward to continuing to work together.”

RMFU’s farm and ranch families make up a significant portion of Tri-State’s customer base and spend on average of seven percent of their budget on energy costs. RMFU seeks to strengthen access to reliable and affordable forms of energy and urges Tri-State to make meaningful important changes in how it produces and provides electricity across its territory in order to save its customers money and encourage much-needed economic growth in rural areas.

In a resolution adopted last year, RMFU asked Tri-State to address its high cost electrical rates by exploring other options and by gathering insights from farmers and ranchers who are member-owners of local rural electric cooperatives. “As introduced today, the Responsible Energy Plan does go a long way toward looking to future needs and possibilities. To assure success, Tri-State needs to implement this plan in a way that both addresses how it handles shutting down some forms of electric generation while also giving locally-owned rural electric associations flexibility in how each one also respond to their respective members,” explains McCall. “Ultimately, this plan will need to work for farmers and ranchers in terms of delivering affordable, reliable, and sustainable electricity.”

The Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) Board of Directors unanimously passed a resolution in response to the Tri-State announcement of the Responsible Energy Plan. The resolution reads: “RMFU commends Tri-State for announcing the transformative Responsible Energy Plan and desires to partner with Tri-State and former Governor Bill Ritter and CSU’s Center for the New Energy Economy in the collaborative stakeholder process that will contribute to and help define and implement Tri-State’s Responsible Energy Plan.”

“What this means is our farm organization does not want Tri-State to go it alone in this process. We want the end users – farmers and ranchers and residents of rural communities – to have their concerns and their recommendations heard and considered,” adds McCall. “We encourage Tri-State to welcome their local cooperative members and local ratepayers, including many of our farm and ranch family members, to be at the table in a transparent and public process during next steps.”

RMFU is hopeful Tri-State’s recent actions ensure proactive reform inclusive of diversification and modernization to take advantage of fast-changing market opportunities to expand the renewable portfolio. “Working together, we can maximize local economic benefits and sustainable electric service for our members and ultimately keep agriculture in business,” says McCall.

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