RMFU presents awards at annual convention

Pueblo – Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) presented its Legislator of the Year award, Nov. 18, during its annual convention to Colorado Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff, D-Denver, for his support of Referenda C & D, as well as for his commitment to other issues affecting rural Colorado. RMFU recognized Romanoff for his strategies in helping to pass Referenda C, including making the ballot measure bipartisan.

“It is now our responsibility to carry out the letter and the intent of Referenda C passed by 52 percent of voters,” said Romanoff.

Jeanette Larson, former editor of the Ag Journal based in La Junta, Colo. and Sandra Hansen of the Star-Herald based in Scottsbluff, Neb., were presented RMFU’s 2005 Excellence in News Media award. Larson, whose writing covered alternative agriculture and direct marketing, as well as many other agricultural issues, worked for the Ag Journal from 1999 to 2003. Hansen, who has been with the Star-Herald since 2000, covers agricultural news and events and provides an important voice to RMFU members in Wyoming. Prior to this, Hansen worked at the Torrington Telegram in Wyoming.

RMFU honored two members who served as education directors and youth leaders of their county Farmers Union for 40 years. Honorees included Dorys Fehringer, Peetz, Colo., and Dorothy Davis, Peetz, Colo.

RMFU also honored Brad Burritt, Hotchkiss, Colo.; Barbara Marty, Henderson, Colo.; Monty Niebur, Akron, Colo.; and Kent Peppler, Mead, Colo. as Outstanding Volunteers for their dedicated service to RMFU. Burritt, RMFU Delta County vice president, has represented RMFU in numerous renewable energy events. Marty, secretary/treasurer for the Adams/St. Vrain Valley Farmers Union, has worked as a counselor at RMFU summer youth camps. Niebur, RMFU Farm Bill Task Force and Farmers Union Drought Task chair, has dedicated numerous hours working toward justice for family farmers and ranchers. Peppler, the RMFU representative on the Agricultural Trade Advisory Committee on Sugar, helps advise the U.S Trade Representatives on sugar policy in bi-lateral and multi-lateral agreements.

Kathy Milholland, Grand Junction, Colo., and Dan Weller of Strasburg, Colo., were recognized as RMFU’s (Insurance) Agents of the Year. The award was given to Milholland and Weller for their outstanding insurance businesses, as well as for their willingness to work with RMFU on issues affecting family farmers and ranchers.

At the convention banquet, Nov. 19, RMFU recognized the winners of the RMFU Education Program’s “Food for Thought” agriculture themed poetry and artwork contest. Winners in the grades K-4 category included: first place, “We’re All In This Together” by Conroy Klindworth, Pueblo West, Colo.; and second place, “Tyra’s Farm” by Tyra Swenson–Bell, Aurora, Colo. Winners in the grades 5-8 category included: first place, “Cooperation!” by the team William Felzien, Limon, Colo.; Joe Rosenbrock, Brush, Colo.; Brianna Stafford, Castle Rock, Colo.; Taylor L’ Heureux, Fort Morgan, Colo.; Lisa Ingram, Westminster, Colo.; Stephanie Church, Sterling, Colo.; and Pat Cole, Denver, Colo.; and second place, “Rattlesnake” by Tim Davis, Pavilion, Wyo. Winners in the grades 9-12 category included: first place, “Earth Belongs to Us” by the team Jessica Garcia, Pierce, Colo.; Jessica Schumacher, Peetz, Colo.; Mark Mailander, Holyoke, Colo.; Dani Groves, Wiggins, Colo.; Diane Kopetsky, Wiggins, Colo.; Adam Millage, Holyoke, Colo.; and tied for second place, “Wheat Fields” and “Promises” both by Danielle Goranson, Peetz, Colo.

In summing up the success of the contest, RMFU Education Director Cree Bradley said, “This was a creative way for kids to express and explore their connection to agriculture.”

Also recognized was the winner of the RMFU 100th anniversary logo contest. The winner, Sylvia Otabachian, is member of the Colorado State University Farmers Union Colligate Chapter in Ft. Collins, Colo.

Also honored during the banquet were the 2005 Torchbearers, including Jerilyn Hergenreder, daughter of Jerry & Trish Hergenreder, Longmont, Colo.; Jeffrey Carter, son of Dave & Sue Carter, Westminster, Colo.; Beth Daugherty, daughter of Pam Daugherty & Scott Zimmerman, Pine Bluffs, Wyo; Justin Fehringer, son of Randy & Marijayne Fehringer, Peetz, Colo.; Randy Meier, son of Tim & Carole Meier, Peetz, Colo.; Lisa Schumacher, daughter of Lyle & Karen Schumacher, Peetz, Colo.; Darla Vallier, daughter of Don & Diane Vallier, Peetz, Colo.; and Danielle Groves, daughter of Rebecca Groves, Weldona, Colo. The Torchbearer award is the highest honor earned by Farmers Union youth.

Another highlight of the convention was the presentation of speeches by the winner and runner-up of RMFU’s annual speech contest. Runner-up Jerilyn Hergenerder, Longmont, Colo., spoke on the value and current RMFU cooperative work, and winner Meghan Wooldridge, Windsor, Colo., spoke on the importance of cooperatives to farmers, ranchers and rural communities. The contest was sponsored by RMFU and the CHS Foundation.