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By Communications Director

Congratulations to the MFU members who are in the new Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership (MARL) class, a leadership development program.  They are:

  • Jim Kanten of Milan, 
  • Pakou Hang of Minneapolis, 
  • Corey Hanson of Gary, 
  • Whitney Place of Minneapolis, 
  • Margaret Wagner of Minneapolis, 
  • Timothy Hagl of Red Lake Falls, and 
  • Kyle Hemme of Hardwick.
By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (May 19, 2014) Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) sees 2014 legislative session as a success for family farmers.  The session ended May 16.

 

“MFU appreciates the investments that the legislature and Governor Dayton made in agriculture and rural Minnesota this session” said MFU President Doug Peterson.

 

Key MFU-supported provisions passed this session include:

-          $17 million in property tax relief for farmers;

-          repeal of sales tax on farm equipment repair;

-          $2 million for “Farm to Food Shelf” program;

-          passage of Farmers Market legislation that sets rules for sampling and food safety;

-          updating of state biodiesel laws that will pave the way for Minnesota to move to B10 on July 1;

-          $20 million for rural broadband;

-          funding for agricultural research on invasive pests, industrial hemp, perennial crops and Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PED); and

-          passage of several different initiatives to protect pollinators.

By Intern

 
The Minnesota Farmers Union Foundation was recognized this evening as a fifty-year contributor to the Minnesota FFA Foundation during the 85th Minnesota FFA Convention.  

By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (April 9, 2014) Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson returns from Quebec and the North American Continental Dialogue on Family Farming as part of the International Year of the Family Farmer.

 

“As 2014 is the International Year of the Family Farmer, it’s important to gather farmers from all of North America to discuss the challenges they face, and how beginning farmers, and the next generation of family farmers remain profitable,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President.  “Communication on government policy and its impact on trade and concentration are similar to problems identified by the World Farmers Organisation as affecting the 500 million family farmers in worldwide.”

 

Items discussed during the meeting included:

·         resiliency of family farmers in North America;

·         current realities of education and communication with consumers about family farming in the United States,            Canada, and Mexico;

·         local, state, national and international policies and its impact on farmers in each country;

·         issues relating to access to credit, land and other factors of production;

·         food security and the role of women as family farmers;

·         issues relating to manpower, succession, technological and economical performance, agri-environment, and             training and consulting services on the farm; and

·         issues relating to marketing.

By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (April 7, 2014) Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) will be holding meetings throughout the state in the next couple weeks. These meetings are a great opportunity for people to get together in the countryside and talk about what is going on in rural Minnesota, as well as have Farmers Union inform folks about what is going on at the federal and state level in the agriculture world.  Meetings are open to everyone.

 

Meeting information:

Thursday, April 10

9:30 - 11:00 a.m.         Ag Power Enterprises, Inc/John Deere Dealership, 355 SW 18th Street, Owatonna; and

1:30 - 3:00 p.m.           DNR Building, 261 Highway 15 South, New Ulm.

 

Thursday, April 17

9:30 - 11:00 a.m.         Henry’s Catering & Banquet Center, 6774 Higheay 25 NE (Highway 25 & Highway 23), Foley; and

2:00 - 3:30 p.m.           Spanky’s Stone Hearth Restaurant, 34785 County Highway 4 ,Vergas.

 

Friday, April 18

9:30 - 11:00 a.m.         Tim and Connie Velde Farm, 5178 230th Avenue, Granite Falls.

 

Chandler Goule, NFU Senior Vice President of Programs, will be at the Thursday, April 17 and Friday, April 18 events in Foley, Vergas and Granite Falls. He will speak on passage of the new farm bill, and what else to expect next in Washington D.C. with implementation of the farm bill, and other future issues.

By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (April 1, 2014) Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson returns from the World Farmers Organisation (WFO) general assembly in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  The WFO is made up of farming organizations from 80 different countries who gather to discuss challenges in farming, with the objective of developing sound policies for farmers throughout the world.

 

“There are 500 million family farmers in the world and to have this farmer to farmer communication aimed at improving our system of food, trade and credit, particularly among women and young farmers, is an incredible opportunity for learning and sharing ideas and solutions,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “If we could just get women the access and credit to land that they need, it would alleviate hunger for 150 million people. That is an alarming statistic and a problem we hope to find a solution for at future WFO assemblies.”

 

The general assembly focused on a number of issues, including women and beginning farmers, climate change, and contract agriculture production.  As the lead organization in promoting the International Year of the Family Farmer, Farmers Union will continue to address the issues discussed at the WFO general assembly, at the North American Continental Dialogue on Family Farming in Quebec, April 7 & 8.

By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (March 28, 2014) The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied plaintiffs’ appeal of a denial of their request for a preliminary injunction. The preliminary injunction would prevent revised Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) regulations from remaining in effect while the plaintiffs’ lawsuit challenging the COOL regulations proceeds.

 

 “People deserve to know where their food comes from. It gives consumers the information they want, and need so they can make an educated decision about the food they are buying and serving their family,” said Gary Wertish, Minnesota Farmers Union Vice President. “MFU applauds today's court decision as a very important victory for our family farmers and consumers. This reaffirms the farmers’ right to label the fruits of their labor, and the consumers right to choose.”

 

Today’s ruling affirms a September 11, 2013, decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that also denied the request for a preliminary injunction. As a result of today’s decision, the revised COOL regulations will remain in place while the case is pending.

 

 Minnesota Farmers Union policy has long supported country of origin labeling (COOL). 

 

By Communications Director

MFU members with Governor Mark DaytonSt. Paul (March 26, 2014) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) members from throughout the state were at the State Capitol for their annual trip to St. Paul, where they talked about MFU priorities, including property tax relief, addressing propane issues, and releasing farm equipment repair tax, among other issues.

 

“These visits at the State Capitol are so important because it gives MFU members an opportunity to speak with their legislators about what is happening in the countryside,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “It also allows for legislators to hear first-hand from MFU members the consequences of legislative decisions and how they impact family farmers and rural communities.”

 

MFU members met with state legislators, Governor Mark Dayton, Attorney General Lori Swanson, and Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson. 

By Communications Director

St. Paul (March 22, 2014) – Minnesota Farmers Union is proud to join in the celebration of agriculture and all it does for our communities during Minnesota Agriculture Week, which was declared by Governor Mark Dayton to be March 23-29, and National Agriculture Day, which is Tuesday, March 25.

 

“Family farmers not only provide us with food, fuel, and fiber, but agriculture is a financial boon to our local, state and federal economies by supporting 340,000 jobs and adding $75 billion to our state economy alone,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President.  “Farmers work tirelessly to provide unlimited opportunities for all Americans through abundant food and renewable energy, while at the same time, providing a clean environment, a strong economy, and ensuring national security.”

 

Facts on agriculture:

  • on average, a farmer receives only 15.8 cents on every food dollar, the other costs come from distribution, retailing, processing, marketing, and wholesaling;
  • every American farmer feeds about 144 people;
  • a dairy cow produces 1,500 gallons, or 6,000 quarts of milk in a year;
  • every year, each person in the United States uses the equivalent of one tree, 100 feet tall and 16 inches in diameter, for their wood and paper needs;
  • Americans eat about 125 pounds of potatoes a year, half from fresh potatoes and half in processed foods;
  • it only takes a combine 9 seconds to harvest enough wheat to make 70 loaves of bread;
  • there are about 600 kernels on every ear of corn;
  • one bushel of wheat will produce 73 one-pound loaves of bread;
  • a pig can run a 7-minute mile; and
  • one acre of soybeans can produce 82,368 crayons.

 

For more facts on agriculture, go to www.agday.org.

By Communications Director

St. Paul (March 13, 2014) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) members return from the National Farmers Union (NFU) Convention held in Santa Fe, New Mexico. MFU in Santa Fe, NM

 

“The National Farmers Union Convention is such a wonderful time because farmers from all across the country get together to discuss issues that are important to family farmers, and pass policy that is used as a guide when pushing for common-sense policies in Congress ” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President.

 

Farmers Union delegates re-elected President Roger Johnson and elected a new Vice President, Donn Teske, who currently serves as Kansas Farmers Union president and is a fifth generation farmer. He replaces outgoing Vice President Claudia Svarstad. The National Farmers Union Board unanimously re-elected MFU President Doug Peterson as National Farmers Union Secretary.

 

During the convention, it was announced that the National Farmers Union Feeding America campaign raised $196,000 for those who are hungry.  MFU President Peterson served as honorary chair of the campaign.

 

“Everyone deserves a place at the table, but sometimes people do not have the resources needed to get the nutrition they need, and as farmers, we believe in helping those who are food insecure find their way to the table,” said Peterson. “I am very proud that Farmers Union raised $196,000 to help feed the hungry.”

 

MFU attendees heard from: U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack; a farm bill update panel with Sara Wyant, president, Agri-Pulse Communications; Bart Fischer, chief economist, House Agriculture Committee; Joe Shultz, Chief Economist, Senate Agriculture Committee; and Alexis Taylor, chief of staff, Farm and Foreign Agriculture Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture. There was also a state agriculture policy panel which included Colorado Agriculture Commissioner John Salazar, New Mexico Director/Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte, and Wyoming Director of Agriculture Jason Fearneyhough.

 

Along with passing policy, convention delegates passed seven Special Orders of Business addressing varying aspects of agriculture, which can be found here, nfu.org/policy-nfu/special-orders-of-business.

 

The Minnesota delegation included: Don Davis, former CEO of Farmers Union Industries, LLC in Redwood Falls who received the National Farmers Union Meritorious Service Award, and his wife Daphne; Tim Velde, National Farmers Union Policy Committee Chair from Granite Falls; Meghan Osterbauer of DeGraff and Caleb Schmitz of New London as part of the National Youth Advisory Council (NYAC); Bryan and Jennifer Klabunde of Waubun as members of the Farmers Union Leadership Couples' Program; Jennifer Gibson of North Mankato, Eric Hoese of Mayer, Bryce Krohn of Nicollet, and Carsten Thomas of Moorhead as part of the Beginning Farmers Institute; JoAnne Riegert of Waubun; Sam Holmgren of Atwater; Ross Eichens of Minneota; Peter Ripka of Ogilvie; John Larsen of Mantorville; and Merlyn Hubin of Westbrook as delegates; and Farmers Union Insurance Agency President Rodney Allebach and his wife Linda of Albertville; Sandy Hubin of Westbrook; Larry and Gina Jacobson of Hitterdal; Marvin and Marlys Jensen of Kensington; Richard Moen of Clearbrook; Alan and Karen Perish of Browerville; John Nelson of Waubun; Norma Holmgren of Atwater; Stacy Ripka of Ogilvie; Bessie Klose of Atwater; Lisa Severson of Eau Claire, WI; Lori Klose of Benson; and Brian Rohrenbach and Linda Larson of Rosemount.

By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (March 11, 2014) – Five Minnesotans concluded their participation in the National Farmers Union (NFU) Beginning Farmers Institute (BFI) at the NFU National Convention in Santa Fe, New Mexico March 8 - 11, 2014.  The Minnesotans are: Eric Hoese of Mayer; Carsten Thomas of Moorhead; Brent Krohn and Bryce Krohn of Nicollet; and Jennifer Gibson of North Mankato.Beginning Farmer Institute participants

 

“The BFI program helps beginning farmers attain more skills to navigate the road blocks and difficulties that may come upon them as they start farming,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “Knowing what resources are out there for you can make a huge difference when farming, especially a farmer just starting out.  Farmers Union wants to give this next generation a chance to succeed and to know about all the tools they have access to.”

 

At the NFU Convention, the BFI class reviewed United States Department of Agriculture programs, took a closer look at farming from local foods to international agriculture, and considered financial planning critical to obtaining credit.

 

BFI is a year-long program and is currently accepting applications for its next class. It is open to individuals who are new to farming, are in the process of transferring an operation from a relative or non-relative, or are contemplating a career in farming or ranching.  Interested applicants can download the 2014 application on the NFU website, www.nfu.org/education/beginning-farmer-institute.  Applications must be postmarked on or before April 7, 2014.

 

The Beginning Farmers Institute is supported by the FUI Foundation, Farm Credit, CoBank, CHS Foundation and the NFU Foundation.

By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (March 10, 2014) – Don Davis received the Meritorious Service Award this year at the National Farmers Union Convention held in Santa Fe, New Mexico March 8-11, 2014. Don recently retired from being CEO of Farmers Union Industries, LLC in Redwood Falls.NFU President Roger Johnson with Don Davis

 

“Don served as CEO of Farmers Union Industries, LLC, and under his direction and leadership , Farmers Union Industries has experienced steady growth and financial stability,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “It is wonderful that Don is getting recognized for all his hard work. Minnesota Farmers Union congratulates him on this very deserving award, and thanks him for all he has done for family farmers.”

 

Don has been with organizations throughout the Farmers Union family since 1984 when he started as the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Farmers Union Marketing and Processing Association. He worked his way up until he became the CEO of Farmers Union Industries, LLC, a position he held since 2005.

By Communications Director

Meghan Osterbauer & Caleb SchmitzST. PAUL (March 10, 2014) – Meghan Osterbauer, daughter of Tony and Janeen Osterbauer of DeGraff; and Caleb Schmitz, son of Terry Schmitz and Bob Thompson of New London spoke at the National Farmers Union (NFU) Convention in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in front of hundreds of Farmers Union members as part of the National Youth Advisory Council (NYAC).
 
“Both Meghan and Caleb show great leadership skills and incredible poise; they are impressive young adults,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President.  “Rural Minnesota is in good hands when the next generation includes people like Meghan and Caleb representing us.  I thank them for their hard-work and dedication to family farmers.”
 

During the NFU Convention, Meghan spoke to the convention assembly about how farming does a world of good, and Caleb spoke on how camp and the Farmers Union education program has impacted his life. They are part of the NYAC until summer 2014. The NYAC is made up of six youths who are elected by their peers during the NFU All-States Leadership Camp. NYAC duties include representing thousands of Farmers Union youth across the country while working at the annual NFU Convention. These young Farmers Union leaders also help plan the next year’s NFU All-States Leadership Camp.
 

For more information, please log on to http://nfu.org/about/education/all-states-leadership-camp

By Communications Director

Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) members will be attending the National Farmers Union (NFU) Convention in Santa Fe, New Mexico, March 8-11. 

 

“The National Farmers Union Convention is important because members from throughout the country gather to discuss ideas important to family farmers and then they pass common-sense policies that will guide us and give direction to Congress in the upcoming year. It is true grassroots policy-making at its finest,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President.

 

Minnesotans attending:

Don Davis, former CEO of Farmers Union Industries, LLC in Redwood Falls, and 2014 recipient of the National Farmers Union Meritorious Service Award. Don’s wife Daphne will also be in attendance.

Tim Velde of Granite Falls, as National Farmers Union Policy Committee Chair.
 

Meghan Osterbauer of DeGraff and Caleb Schmitz of New London will be attending as part of the National Youth Advisory Council (NYAC).  They are two of only six people elected by their peers to be on NYAC. They will make a presentation to the entire convention body, and help plan next year’s NFU All-States Leadership Camp.

 

Bryan and Jennifer Klabunde of Waubun will be attending as members of the Farmers Union Leadership Couples' Program, developed to empower future leaders in Farmers Union and rural communities.

 

Jennifer Gibson of North Mankato; Eric Hoese of Mayer; Brent Krohn and Bryce Krohn of Nicollet; and Carsten Thomas of Moorhead will be attending as part of the Beginning Farmers Institute.

 

Delegates to the NFU Convention are JoAnne Riegert of Waubun; Sam Holmgren of Atwater; Ross Eichens of Minneota; Peter Ripka of Ogilvie; John Larsen of Mantorville; and Merlyn Hubin of Westbrook.

 

Other MFU members attending are: Farmers Union Insurance Agency President Rodney Allebach and his wife Linda of Albertville; Sandy Hubin of Westbrook; Larry and Gina Jacobson of Hitterdal; Marvin and Marlys Jensen of Kensington; Richard Moen of Clearbrook; Alan and Karen Perish of Browerville; John Nelson of Waubun; Norma Holmgren of Atwater; Stacy Ripka of Ogilvie; Bessie Klose of Atwater; Lisa Severson of Eau Claire, WI; Lori Klose of Benson; and Brian Rohrenbach and Linda Larson of Rosemount.

 

MFU staff in attendance will be: President Doug Peterson and his wife Elly of Madison; Vice President Gary Wertish and his wife Jeanne of Renville; Education Director Glen Schmidt of St. Paul; Membership Director Bruce Miller and his wife Chris Fullerton of St. Paul; Communications Director Katie Fitzsimmons and her husband David of Minnetonka; and Office Coordinator Amanda Valencia of Forest Lake.

 

If you would like to speak with any of these people during the convention, please call Katie Fitzsimmons, MFU Communications Director, 612.616.5252.

 

You can view the full convention agenda at www.nfu.org/convention.

By Communications Director

 

St. Paul, Minnesota (March 3, 2014) – In celebration of the United Nations’ 2014 International Year of Family Farming, this month Minnesota Farmers Union is highlighting the importance of a competitive marketplace.

 

“For family farmers to be successful, there must be ample competition in the marketplace, and Farmers Union continues to find power in numbers by bringing farmers together to form cooperatives, and to establish new marketing arrangements that help to grow family agriculture,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “These efforts are extremely important and pertinent today, when only a handful of firms dominate many sectors of the agriculture economy.”

 

When four firms control more than 40 percent of a market, that market is considered non-competitive. According to the University of Missouri-Colombia, the four largest companies control:

  • 82 percent of the beef packing industry;
  • 85 percent of the soybean processing;
  • 63 percent of the pork packing; and
  • 53 percent of broiler chicken processing.

 

“Agricultural concentration in the marketplace presents risks to family farmers, consumers and our overall food security, and Farmers Union will continue to fight for the family farmer and so that consumers receive a fair price at the store,” Peterson added.

 

For more information on International Year of the Family Farmer, go to, www.yearoffamilyfarming.com, or www.fao.org/family-farming-2014, or www.familyfarmingcampaign.net.

By Communications Director

St. Paul, Minnesota (February 25, 2014) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) welcomes the 2014 legislative session, and has an ambitious agenda awaiting legislators for what will be a very short session.

 

“The top issue for MFU this session at the Capitol is addressing several tax issues that have an impact on rural areas,” said Doug Peterson, MFU President.  “MFU will be working to provide property tax relief to farmers who continue to experience rapidly rising property taxes.”

 

Other issues MFU will be working on include:

  • legislation to repeal the sales tax on farm equipment repair;
  • clarifying farmers’ markets rules;
  •  passing agritourism legislation;
  • supporting transportation funding that benefits rural roads and infrastructure; and
  • supporting Minnesota’s biofuel industry.

 

These are just some of the issues MFU will be working on in the 2014 legislative session, as well as what issues MFU members will be talking to legislators about when they head to the State Capitol on Tuesday March 18, for the MFU annual lobby day. 

By Communications Director

 

St. Paul, Minnesota (February 24, 2014) – Minnesota Farmers Union’s (MFU) Full Board of Directors recently met to discuss issues important to family farmers. The Full Board consists of county presidents throughout the state.

 

“It is vital for family farmers that we keep issues that impact family farmers in front of state and federal lawmakers so that family farmers are at the table to ensure that fair and common sense policies are developed,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President.  “This meeting allows for continued, open communication with our county presidents so we all know what is at stake in the coming year. Especially as the state legislature begins, this meeting allows for a discussion about the important issues for agriculture that are expected to be coming up in the coming months.”

 

The Full Board of Directors passed three Special Orders Of Business. One opposing fast-track trade proposals because of its negative impact on our agriculture economy; one thanking Congress for passing a farm bill; and one calling on local, state, and federal officials to find solutions to the propane shortage, as well as ways to prohibit the shortage from happening again.

 

By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (February 13, 2014) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) salutes the excellent work of the FFA during their National FFA week February 15-22, 2014.

 

“The FFA does such great work in fostering the skills necessary for our youth to excel and succeed,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “The agriculture sector is strong in good part because FFA provides the tools needed for personal growth and success in our future farm generations. We thank and salute FFA for their wonderful work in keeping not only the agriculture sector strong, but our rural and urban communities as well.”

 

“The challenge of farming today and for raising food for a growing nation and a hungry world will be met by our youth. It will take knowledge and hard work and we at Farmers Union believe the students of FFA will meet the demands as agriculture evolves in the 21st century,” Peterson added.

 Minnesota Farmers Union supports FFA by:

  • annually donating 20 FFA jackets through the Blue Jackets Bright Futures Program;
  • working closely with the Metro Area FFA Alumni and Friends Association;
  • judging numerous FFA competitions across the state;
  • hosting the State Officers for a State Officer Professional Development day; and 
  • sponsoring an annual FFA essay contest encouraging students to learn about a new topic and its place in rural Minnesota and Minnesota’s economy. The winner receives $1000 for their FFA Chapter and a trip to Washington, D.C.;
  • creating and facilitating the Minnesota FFA ag boot camp, a program specifically for older students interested in public policy.

 

 

 

By Communications Director

MFU President wrote the following letter about the propane shortage in MN:

Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) is calling for increased action at the state and federal levels to deal with Minnesota’s ongoing propane shortage crisis.  Minnesota farmers and rural residents need real answers.

 

MFU thanks our Congressional delegation and Governor Dayton for their ongoing efforts in helping ease this crisis. However, there are still questions as to why and how this happened, starting with: is the federal government moving to correct the cause of the propane shortage?

 

  • Exports.  Is part of the problem because propane that could have been used in Minnesota was sold and exported overseas?  Did the federal government not see the shortage coming? Consideration should have been given to crop and harvest conditions when considering the export of propane.

 

  • Closed Pipelines.  We appreciate and thank the Obama Administration for releasing $15.8 million to Minnesota to address propane shortage, but we also want the Administration to step up their efforts to determine why this happened, and to keep it from happening again.  That includes looking into why the Cochin pipeline from Canada, carrying 40 percent of Minnesota’s propane, was out of service during November and December, peak heating times.  MFU wants to know whether the plans to halt propane shipments on the Cochin pipeline in April should be permitted to go forward as a matter of national security?  Also, we need to address the challenge of transporting propane, and why there are rail and road bottlenecks.  Furthermore, should we heat farms and homes, or should oil companies just be allowed to make more profits for oil production?

 

  • Gouging.  We want an explanation whether price gouging was and is a part of propane pricing this winter?  Why have costs skyrocketed from $1.50 to $5.00 per gallon?  How many of our urban and suburban cousins could afford paying three times what it usually costs to heat their homes or businesses? Farmers are also tired of having the blame shoved on them for this problem. Yes, it was a wet harvest, but we have had those before without seeing exorbitant and unaffordable increases in propane prices.  Minnesota farmers are demanding to know where in the process the profit is being made, and who is making it?  Who gets that extra $3.50 and why?  It begs the question of profiteering.

 

  • Certainty.  We understand supply and demand, but this shortage goes beyond that.  We are demanding that there be certainty for farmers and rural residents, beyond the “pre-buy” system.  Many farmers and rural residents save all summer to buy their propane in the winter months.  That certainty and ability to pay their heating bills is now gone, and people are being forced to pay outrageous prices for what is an essential element of existence in wintertime Minnesota.

 

Cold weather is a serious issue and policymakers need to treat it seriously. People should not have to choose between food and fuel!

 

Doug Peterson

President

Minnesota Farmers Union

Madison, MN

By Communications Director

St. Paul, Minnesota (February 12, 2014) – Family farmers are the original conservationists, and that is why Minnesota Farmers Union is proud to support conservation programs in the United States while celebrating the United Nations’ 2014 International Year of Family Farming!

 

“With the global population expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050, family farmers and ranchers have a great challenge to be able to feed and clothe people,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “Production and conservation practices must be geared towards improving the productivity of the land. With more mouths to feed and strained natural resources, it is now more important than ever to invest in conservation practices that help farmers adapt to a changing climate.”  

 

Minnesota Farmers Union believes in sound conservation policies because they assist in erosion control, watershed protection and climate change. Plus over the past 25 years, conservation programs have helped farmers:

·         save 295 million tons of soil per year; and

·         save between 1.5 and 3.3 million acres of wetlands from being drained.

 

For more information on International Year of the Family Farmer, go to, www.yearoffamilyfarming.com, or www.fao.org/family-farming-2014, or www.familyfarmingcampaign.net.

By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (February 4, 2014) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) is pleased the farm bill is one step closer to becoming law with passage by the Senate on a vote 68-32. MFU thanks Senator Amy Klobuchar and Senator Al Franken for supporting the bill. The House passed the bill on January 29 on a 251-166 vote.
 

“Family farmers thank the Senate for acting swiftly and getting the farm bill passed. We urge President Obama to waste no time in getting this farm bill signed, so family farmers can have the security they need to plan for the future,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “I want to thank Senator Klobuchar for her hard work on the farm bill conference committee, and also to Senator Al Franken for supporting the bill, and helping pass this common sense piece of legislation that protects farmers as they provide food, fuel and fiber for this country.”
 

The bill includes:

  • approximately $4 billion in livestock disaster funds, retroactively available to those who suffered tremendous losses last October;
  • repeals direct payments;
  • protects current crop insurance program;
  • does not repeal permanent law;
  • provides $900 million of mandatory funding for energy programs;
  • includes $30 million a year in mandatory funding for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program, with $10 million a year in discretionary funding;
  • includes $20 million a year in mandatory funding for the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative;
  • includes $20 million a year in mandatory funding for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program;
  • addresses fraud within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP);
  • reduces SNAP funding by $8 billion over the next 10 years;
  • increases access for livestock producers to Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) benefits, along with many other supportive policies for the livestock industry;
  • does not make any legislative changes to the Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) law;
  • does not make any major adjustments to protections for producers under the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA); and
  • the proposed farm bill reduces spending by about $23 billion over the next 10 years. 


By Communications Director

Farmers Union President heads to Mexico City for conference on NAFTA

St. Paul (January 28, 2014) – Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson is travelling to Mexico City, Mexico, for the Trinational Farmers Forum about the North American Free Trade Agreement. People from the United States, Mexico and Canada will be participating. 
 

This forum is designed to discuss implications of the North American Free Trade Agreement at its 20-year mark; share information, and prepare strategy against the Trans Pacific Partnership. President Peterson will be on a panel titled, “Reform for the field – alternatives to support family farming, fair trade, and a better quality of life,” on Wednesday, January 29.

President Peterson will be in Mexico City starting Tuesday, January 28, through Friday, January 31.  He will be available for press calls throughout those four days, and available at 612.867.3427.

 

By Communications Director

MFU's own Tim Velde just returned from chairing the National Farmers Union policy committee in preparation for the National Convention in Santa Fe, NM, March 8-11.

Tim Velde

By Communications Director

MFU member Brent Imker of Lamberton has been appointed by the Governor to the Next Generation Energy Board. Congratulations Brent!

Brent Imker

By Amanda V

Focus on the Future and Womens Conference