Denver, CO – In response to Tri-State Generation & Transmission’s (Tri-State) announcement of its Responsible Energy Plan, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU), a general farm organization comprised of farm and ranch families across Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming, renewed a request to provide meaningful input in Tri-State’s initiative.
“Farmers and ranchers work within razor-thin margins to make ends meet. We need to think strategically to reduce our cost-of-production, be flexible in how we plan for and manage input costs, and constantly react to the demands of our own customers. We believe our energy providers should do the same,” says RMFU President Dr. Dale McCall. “We do commend Tri-State for mapping out this strategy for the future and we look forward to continuing to work together.”
RMFU’s farm and ranch families make up a significant portion of Tri-State’s customer base and spend on average of seven percent of their budget on energy costs. RMFU seeks to strengthen access to reliable and affordable forms of energy and urges Tri-State to make meaningful important changes in how it produces and provides electricity across its territory in order to save its customers money and encourage much-needed economic growth in rural areas.
In a resolution adopted last year, RMFU asked Tri-State to address its high cost electrical rates by exploring other options and by gathering insights from farmers and ranchers who are member-owners of local rural electric cooperatives. “As introduced today, the Responsible Energy Plan does go a long way toward looking to future needs and possibilities. To assure success, Tri-State needs to implement this plan in a way that both addresses how it handles shutting down some forms of electric generation while also giving locally-owned rural electric associations flexibility in how each one also respond to their respective members,” explains McCall. “Ultimately, this plan will need to work for farmers and ranchers in terms of delivering affordable, reliable, and sustainable electricity.”
The Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) Board of Directors unanimously passed a resolution in response to the Tri-State announcement of the Responsible Energy Plan. The resolution reads: “RMFU commends Tri-State for announcing the transformative Responsible Energy Plan and desires to partner with Tri-State and former Governor Bill Ritter and CSU’s Center for the New Energy Economy in the collaborative stakeholder process that will contribute to and help define and implement Tri-State’s Responsible Energy Plan.”
“What this means is our farm organization does not want Tri-State to go it alone in this process. We want the end users – farmers and ranchers and residents of rural communities – to have their concerns and their recommendations heard and considered,” adds McCall. “We encourage Tri-State to welcome their local cooperative members and local ratepayers, including many of our farm and ranch family members, to be at the table in a transparent and public process during next steps.”
RMFU is hopeful Tri-State’s recent actions ensure proactive reform inclusive of diversification and modernization to take advantage of fast-changing market opportunities to expand the renewable portfolio. “Working together, we can maximize local economic benefits and sustainable electric service for our members and ultimately keep agriculture in business,” says McCall.