Rocky Mountain Farmers Union’s 2020 Convention will look different this year, yet the event will continue with the tradition of offering great educational workshops, candidate elections, and policy adoption.
“Based on careful consideration by the RMFU Board of Directors this year’s convention will be virtual but no less meaningful,” says RMFU President Dr. Dale McCall. “The primary factor the board considered was the protection of the health and well-being of all of our farm family members.”
“It’s well worth noting that we will have several great on-line educational sessions in the days prior to the convention. I invite anyone interested to register for these events which will look at opportunities for income from carbon markets, maintaining a pool of essential employees in the food chain, and how market concentration is shifting ag income to large agribusiness corporations and away from family farmers and ranchers,” McCall added.
The convention will be held on-line via Zoom with delegates, board members and officers utilizing tried and tested technology. The convention will begin at 5:00 PM Friday, November 20, with the business responsibilities of the general farm organization. Dr. McCall will address the participants, and delegates will consider bylaws changes and accept nominations of delegates to the National Farmers Union convention set for Feb. 28-March 2, 2021, 2020 RMFU Convention Election Ballot. After the conclusion of the day’s business, the RMFU Foundation will hold its 11th Annual Harvest Moon Gala benefitting its education programs.
On Saturday, November 21, candidates for the RMFU Board of Directors and for NFU delegates will address members. Vice President Chad Franke of Weld County is running unopposed for re-election. In District V, Director Ken Anderson of the San Luis Valley is being challenged by Emily Brown, also of the San Luis Valley. District VI, Director Jan Kochis of Elbert/Lincoln is being challenged by Meg Caley of Mile High Farmers.
The main purpose of every Farmers Union convention is the adoption of policy priorities and Special Orders of Business for the upcoming year. Unique to this on-line format, the policy discussion will take place in a shortened format, and delegates will vote the red line policy and Special Orders of Business up or down with no changes coming from the floor.
Delegates will have the opportunity to vote either by mail-in ballot or by “Election Buddy,” a safe and secure electronic voting system. These options will be available to delegates when they register on the RMFU website or when they call the office to register with Michele Parker in the RMFU Office. Delegate packets will go out to all registered and verified delegates on Friday, November 6.
“We are confident our event will be successful in bringing farmers and ranchers together to learn, to listen, and to have a voice in finding solutions moving forward. It has been a difficult time for producers, but addressing those concerns together is important as we approach a new legislative session in each of our states and a new Congress on the federal level,” McCall adds.
Of the three online workshops, the first will be held at 4:00 PM Tuesday, November 10. The Carbon Market Information Expo will explore soil health, carbon sequestration, and ecosystem services. A handful of companies are working hard to develop models for marketing and monetizing these ecological services for farmers and ranchers. Three of the leading companies – NORI, Indigo Ag., and The Ecosystem Services Market Consortium (ESMC), will join this virtual panel about the present and future of carbon and ecosystem markets.
The second virtual workshop will be held at 4:00 PM Thursday, November 12. Essential Resources for Essential Workers will look at an overlooked yet critical link in the food supply chain. Project Protect Food System Workers was organized to ensure that this group of always-essential workers is adequately protected from COVID-19 and appropriately compensated for their labor and for the risks they assume in service to the common good.
The third virtual workshop is set for 4:00 PM Tuesday, November 17. The Squeeze Chute: Examining Market Concentration in our Fragile Food Systems will be led by Mary Hendrickson, Associate Professor of Rural Sociology at the University of Missouri. As part of the College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources, Hendrickson documents corporate concentration in the conventional food system, paying particular attention to its consequences on communities and ecologies especially as farm income is shifting away from family farmers and ranchers to large agribusinesses.
Registration is open at 2020 RMFU Convention Registration through November 5, 2020.
Due to the modified schedule, the Board directed the State Policy Committee to concentrate on no more than five Special Orders of Business, along with making focused, limited changes to the 2021 policy document. In addition, due to online remote participation, policy debate as we know it normally will not be possible. This year, the Policy Committee’s recommendations will be given an up/down vote by the delegates during convention with no discussion from the delegation. We ask any members with input and suggestions to please contact your District Policy Committee Member, the RMFU Director of External Affairs, or myself with those proposals no later than October 31st. These suggestions will be considered at a second Policy Committee meeting prior to convention for inclusion in the Redlined version that will be considered for an up/down vote at convention.
As you will see in the Redlined RMFU Policy Book, which is now on RMFU’s website RMFU Policy Manual, the Policy Committee made limited updates and adopted one Special Order of Business titled “Consolidation in the Meat Industry.” Please study both and offer any input for policy or additional Special Orders of Business by October 31st.
2020 RMFU State Policy Committee Members (Map Below)
Committee Chair: Chad Franke – firstname.lastname@example.org
RMFU Board Representative: John Field – email@example.com
District I: Barbara Pfaltzgraff – firstname.lastname@example.org
District II: Sondra Pierce – email@example.com
District III: (Wyoming): Fred Macy – firstname.lastname@example.org
District IV: Michelle Castillo – email@example.com
District V: Kyler Brown – firstname.lastname@example.org
District VI: Meg Caley – email@example.com
District VII (New Mexico): Charles Hibner – firstname.lastname@example.org
Youth Representative: Daisy Miller – email@example.com
RMFU Director of External Affairs: Nick Levendofsky – firstname.lastname@example.org
As disappointing as it is to not be able to debate policy in person, we must make the best of this strange year, and look forward to our typical lively policy debate in 2021.
Chad Franke, RMFU Vice President