Rocky Mountain Farmers Union members will join up for the general farm organization’s annual convention set for Friday and Saturday, November 19-20, at the DoubleTree Hotel in Greeley, CO. The theme of this year’s event, “Cultivating Strategies: Looking Forward with Respect and Dignity,” speaks to the challenging times facing the families who make a living farming and ranching. Farmers Union members can look forward to leading-edge educational sessions, setting policy priorities, and celebrating the recent achievements of individuals and the organization.
Two pre-convention opportunities will be held at the DoubleTree on Thursday, November 18. At 1 p.m. the workshop “Ag Labor Organizing and Ag Workforce Development” will take place. Farmers and ranchers across Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming are facing a wellspring of changes in how to secure and compensate ag workers. This workshop will explore recent trends, current regulations, and look at future opportunities to assure the food supply chain is fluid from field to fork. At 4 p.m. the topic of water for agriculture – including demand management – will be held. Colorado and surrounding states are in the grips of an extended severe drought that is taxing existing sharing agreements across the Southwestern and Great Plains states.
For all Farmers Union chapter officers, RMFU will host an Appreciation Supper Thursday evening.
The main convention will open Friday morning. Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg will review the state of agriculture during her address set for 9:15 a.m. Convention keynote speaker Baldemar Velasquez will delve into the timely topic of labor reform during his talk at 9:45 a.m. Velasquez will consider how farmers and their hired labor effectively are on the same side when it comes to crafting agreements. Velasquez notes adversarial policies tend to create an “us versus them” attitude. Instead, employers and employees need to look at what they are hoping to accomplish for overall farm and farm worker profitability goals and move forward from there.
During the noon luncheon RMFU President Dr. Dale McCall will share his reflections on the organization’s actions during the past year and offer his insights on what 2022 might hold. The always popular Harvest Moon Gala will take place at 6 p.m.
A special workshop on how to develop drought resistant farm and ranch production strategies is set for 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Retta Bruger, a rangeland specialist at Colorado State University, will provide a best practices approach to surviving and thriving through severe drought conditions.
On both Friday and Saturday, delegates to the convention will introduce, debate, and adopt policy priorities for the farm organization. These policies guide RMFU’s efforts during the upcoming legislative sessions in Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming, as well as on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
Delegates at this convention will elect two board members. In District II, incumbent Barb Marty will be on the ballot. In District VII, incumbent Kathleen Box and challenger Sarah Wentzel-Fisher will be on the ballot. Delegates also will be asked to approve proposed bylaws changes being submitted by the board. To review these changes, go to www.rmfu.org/about-us/by-laws/proposed-bylaws-2021/
Additionally, RMFU will present the Cooperative Achievement Award, FUSA Agent of the Year Award, Farm Family of the Year Award, Meritorious Service Award, John Stencel Leadership Awards, and the new Fellows Excellence in Leadership & Service Award.
The registration fee varies based on several factors. To learn details on registration and the convention, click here.