RBC Farm Bureau holds annual meeting

RBC | J.D. Amick, president of the Rio Blanco County Farm Bureau, chaired the group’s annual meeting earlier this month at Kilowatt Korner and introduced guest speaker Shawn Martini. Martini is the vice-president of advocacy for the Colorado Farm Bureau (CFB) in Denver. He talked about federal and state legislative issues including agricultural labor, means of accessing the workforce, taxation, transportation (road) funding and avoiding overreach by organizations like the Humane Society trying to prevent predator control.
Martini emphasized the inequity which exists in rural and farm families having to pay the same gas tax as others while spending a lot of their driving time on county, private, Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management roads which are not supported by gas taxes. He reported that CFB staff have been working closely with the Colorado Department of Transportation studying this issue.
New members approved by the organization included Clifford Dilka, Mick Mobley, William Marrow, J.D. Ross and David Smith. The current officers, President J.D. Amick, Vice-President Mary Ann Wilber, and Secretary-Treasurer DeeAnn Goedert were asked to stay in office for another term, as were board members Harold Anderson, Diana Watson and Kelly Osborn. Osborn reported for Goedert as the acting secretary-treasurer at this meeting. The group recently donated $250 to Hurricane Harvey Relief in Texas.
In preparation for the state Farm Bureau convention to be held in Denver Nov. 16-19, the group discussed and passed support for country of origin information on beef and pork to be made available to consumers by retailers in Colorado and for moving the national headquarters of U.S. Department of Interior agency offices like the Bureau of Land Management to the west. Regarding country of origin labeling (COOL), Congress repealed the federal mandatory COOL requirement on beef and pork in December 2015 while leaving it in place for poultry, lamb, seafood, nuts, fruits and vegetables. U.S. beef and pork producers now have no way to have their products differentiated on a broad basis from foreign product.
Several members at the meeting confirmed they had received the CFB “Report – Programs and Benefits 2017” in the mail the day of the meeting. The report includes a spread on the CFB Women’s Leadership Committee (WLC). Osborn, noted above, has been an active participant in the committee this year and is the CFB District (Rio Blanco, Moffat and Garfield Counties) representative. CFB celebrates women being a vital part of FB policy and program development.
The women’s committee engages in numerous activities including senior field studies wherein Denver high school students are placed with FB families throughout the state for a week in April to get hands-on experience in Colorado agriculture; Ag in the Classroom committee members and other volunteers help children learn the source of their food at a National Western Stock Show booth called “Great Grains” which involves having kids and their families actually grind grain into flour; support Colorado Foundation for Agriculture efforts including the Colorado Ag Reader, Summer Ag Institute for Teachers, Adopt a Classroom and www.growingyourfuture.com; and consumer education activities such as Food Check-Out Days, National Ag Day/Week, Farm-City Week at county fairs and other venues like grocery stores, malls and farm shows.
Osborn said she attended a national conference in February as part of the Colorado delegation where they discussed the growing separation of women in farm and ranch families from the day-to-day activity of their family’s ag operation. The group focused on how to close this gap so that the family operations are not so at-risk in the event of a tragic death or accident injury in the family.
The women’s committee will play a major role at the November CFB convention, to be held at the Hyatt Regency Tech Center, Denver, including hosting a women’s luncheon and managing fundraising silent and live auctions. Gift baskets containing items special to each of Colorado’s 10 districts are being prepared for the live auction.