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.
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
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
Colorado producers will be able to learn the details of two key programs in the 2014 Farm Bill at a series of meetings to be held by the Colorado Farm Service Agency and sponsored by Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Farmers Union Service Association, county Farmers Union chapters, and local agents. Farmers will be able to make a choice between Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC). This will be a one-time decision that will affect them through the length of the Farm Bill. Both programs are intended... Read More
The cooperative use of water for the common good helped build communities in the west long before the American Revolution, Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs explained to delegates, members and guests attending Rocky Mountain Farmers Union’s annual convention. For 19 states and the Republic of Mexico, western water comes from Colorado. Of Colorado’s 158 rivers, all but two have their headwaters in the state. The only two that do not – the Green and the Cimarron – barley pass through Colorado at opposite corners of the state. Colorado... Read More
Colorado producers will be able to learn the details of two key programs in the 2014 Farm Bill at a series of meetings to be held by the Colorado Farm Service Agency and sponsored by Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Farmers Union Service Association, county Farmers Union chapters, and local agents. Farmers will be able to make a choice between Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC). This will be a one-time decision that will affect them through the length of the Farm Bill. Both programs are intended to... Read More
Colorado producers will be able to learn the details of two key programs in the 2014 Farm Bill at a series of meetings to be held by the Colorado Farm Service Agency and sponsored by Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Farmers Union Service Association, county Farmers Union chapters, and local agents. Tuesday, November 18 Sterling, 8-11 a.m. at the Northeastern Junior College, Hay Student Center Ballroom Burlington, 2:30-5:30 p.m. at the Community Center, 340 S. 14th St. Wednesday, November, 19 Lamar, 8:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Community College Auditorium,... Read More
Follow This Link to Register for Convention! http://www.eventbrite.com/e/rocky-mountain-farmers-union-convention-tickets-13913007179 By Kent Peppler It has been said the world is run by those who show up. That’s not quite true. Showing up is important, but it is not enough. The world is run by those who show up, stand up, and speak out. Trust me, if you don’t say what’s on your mind someone else will do it for you. You cannot expect them to have your best interests as their priority. In just a few days farmers and ranchers will get... Read More
DENVER, Colo.) – In advance of the October 18 anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) today released a new video in support of the proposed Waters of the U.S. clean water rule. The video stars fifth-generation San Luis Valley rancher and farmer Alfonso Abeyta, and uses with permission of the band R.E.M., their song, “Cuyahoga,” about the Ohio river that caught fire (although not the first time) in 1969. The fire and subsequent Time magazine coverage motivated Congress to pass the Clean Water Act... Read More
A simple name change from Re:Vision International to Re:Vision reflects the commitment of cofounders Eric Kornacki and Joseph Teipel to cultivate a thriving community from the ground up. They are enthusiastically encouraging residents of this urban neighborhood southwest of downtown Denver to create their own economic opportunities by using their own hands. Today, Re:Vision (revision.coop/) is focusing on building a community food system, empowering residents to discover and develop their own leadership abilities, and creating community-owned cooperatives. “The co-op model really is the way of imparting community ownership and sustainability,”... Read More