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By Intern

Farmers Union Industries bid highest for her Reserve Champion Division II Crossbred Steer in this year's 4-H livestock auction. The winning bid for this fundraising auction was a record breaking $11,200. Congratulations & thanks again for Paige Netzke's hard work and commitment.

Brok Miller of Brown County sold his purple ribbon lamb to Minnesota Farmers Union & Farmers Union Insurance. The lamb raised $5,000 at the 4-H Livestock Auction. Congratulations to Brok Miller and thank you once again for your hard work & commitment.

Congratulations to Evan King of LeSueur County for his hard work and dedication to 4-H. His purple ribbon grand champion market pig raised $8,000 from Farmers Union, Farmers Union Insurance and friends at this years 4-H Livestock Auction.

By Communications Director

ST. PAUL, MN (August 19, 2013) – Now in its eleventh year, the Minnesota CooksTM program ( at the State Fair brings together those who value and support our sustainable food system: farmers, consumers, and chefs. Onstage, chefs will create amazing dishes using fresh ingredients supplied by local stewards of the land. As they prepare their creations, emcees Mary Lahammer of Twin Cities Public Television and JD Fratzke of The Strip Club Meat & Fish will engage the chefs and a taster panel of farmers and local celebrities in lively and meaningful discussions about their sustainable philosophies. At the end of each demonstration, the panel, as well as fairgoers, will sample the mouthwatering, farm-fresh fare. 

The program begins at 9:00 a.m. with a fruit carving demonstration by Le Cordon Bleu students and live music from Laura Underwood and Jeff Bjorgo, jazz/blues musicians. There will be six hourly presentations by Minnesota’s premier chefs and cooks, beginning at 10:00 a.m. All shows take place on the Minnesota Cooks Stage in Carousel Park, just south of the Grandstand. 


By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (August 5, 2013) – Does the smell of strong coffee and fresh baked cookies bring back fond memories of your parents’ kitchen where you sat around the table and talked?  Well you can have that at the Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) booth at the State Fair as well. Come by 1635 Dan Patch Avenue to the MFU booth where farmers and consumers can exchange ideas over a cup of our delicious Farmers Choice coffee and much-loved mocha and chai bars, and frappes.  New this year, MFU will also have vanilla, and mango ice cream bars; and freshly baked cookies with milk! Come see us at 1635 Dan Patch Avenue, just inside the Snelling Avenue gate & grab a treat and a drink to get you going, or feel free to rest your weary feet in our back patio!  See you at the Fair!


MFU activities at the Fair:

  • Friday, August 23 at 2:30 p.m. sponsorship of the celebrity milking contest (located outside the dairy barn);
  • Saturday, August 24 at 6 p.m. - 4-H auction with MFU President Doug Peterson as one of auctioneers;
  • Sunday, August 25 at 7:45 a.m.- the MFU-sponsored milk run;
  • Sunday, August 25, 12 p.m. – MFU sponsored dairy showcase at the AgStar judging arena;
  • Sunday, August 25 - 11th annual Minnesota Cooks Program from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., in Carousel Park, just west of the Grandstand Ramp.  You can check out the schedule at, and you can pick up a free Minnesota Cooks calendar at the MFU booth after the event;
  • Thursday, August 29, 12-1 p.m. – MFU President Doug Peterson will be the Linder Farm Network farm broadcaster of the day from the MFU booth with special guest Governor Mark Dayton appearing at 12:30 p.m.
By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (July 26, 2012) – Farmfest is set to be at Gilfillan Estate outside Redwood Falls, Minnesota on Tuesday, August 6 - Thursday, August 8, and new this year – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) will be selling pizza and have six bikes to give away!

“Farmfest is a tried and true, wonderful summer activity for anyone involved in farming who likes to discuss farm policy and share ideas,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “New this year for Farmers Union is that we will be selling Big River Pizza by the slice, as well as giving away 6 bikes for the kids, so be sure to stop by the MFU booth, just west of the forum building, to grab a slice, and register to win a bike!”

 Minnesota Farmers Union activities:

  • selling Big River Pizza ( all day, every day of Farmfest;
  • there will be six bikes to give away – three boy and three girl bikes in varying sizes.  Register at MFU booth number 509. Drawing for the bikes on Thursday afternoon;
  • Minnesota Farmers Union Agency Children’s Pedal Pull, daily at 1 p.m., near entrance gate 2;
  • National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson on the Farm Bill panel Tuesday, 10:30 a.m.; and
  • Free watermelon feed, Thursday, August 8, 1 p.m., in the forum building.
By Communications Director

From National Farmers Union:

WASHINGTON (July 11, 2013) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued a statement today following the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of H.R. 2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013:

“Today’s strictly partisan vote to pass the farm bill apart from the nutrition title undermines the long-time coalition of support for a unified, comprehensive farm bill which has historically been written on a bipartisan basis.

“NFU will continue to do all it can to get a reasonable bill through the conference process. Any final legislation must continue existing permanent law provisions and include meaningful safety net protections for both family farmers facing difficult times and the food insecure.”

By Communications Director

A coalition letter, led by National Farmers Union and signed by a 532 organizations, has been sent to Speaker of the House John Boehner and cc’d to every member of the House outlining our support for progress on the farm bill. Click to download letter.


By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (June 20, 2013) – Minnesota Farmers Union disappointed the United States House of Representative did not pass the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARMM) Act on a vote of 195-234. 

“Minnesota Farmers Union is disappointed that the House failed family farmers and consumers by not passing a farm bill,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “I would like to thank Representatives Peterson, Kline, Walz, and Paulsen for their support of rural Minnesota and the consumers our hard-working family farmers feed.  MFU will continue to work hard for the interests of family farmers and push for the necessary changes in the legislation to get this farm bill passed in the House.”

The United States Senate passed their version of the farm bill on June 10, 2013, both Senator Klobuchar and Senator Franken supported the legislation.  Extensions to some farm bill provisions were made at the end of 2012, which expire September 30, 2013.

By Communications Director

Mark Thell, Carlton County Farmers Union President, did a nice job talking about the hay shortage. Check it out here

By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (June 11, 2013) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) is pleased the United States Senate passed the farm bill, and is optimistic the House of Representatives Republican leadership, with the help of the Democratic minority, will use common sense to compromise and negotiate a farm bill that benefits American family farmers and consumers.  

“The Senate passing the farm bill is a step in the right direction, and one that family farmers have been waiting for and deserve, so in the next five years they can be certain there will be stability for programming for farmers while they provide food, fuel, and fiber to our nation,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “Minnesota Farmers Union is pleased this legislation provides a strong safety net for farmers, a solid crop insurance program, as well as protections for livestock farmers.  We will continue to work with members of Congress to get this farm bill done before extensions expire September 30.”

Senator Amy Klobuchar and Senator Al Franken both voted for the bill. The House of Representatives is currently scheduled to take up their version of the farm bill the week of June 17.  If the House passes a farm bill, it will then lead to a conference committee between the two bodies to iron out the differences, before final passage, and then to President Obama’s desk for signature. Some items of contention will likely include: crop insurance, immigration, payment limitations, conservation, dairy subsidies, and cuts to the food stamp program. Extensions to some farm bill provisions were made at the end of 2012, which expire September 30, 2013.

By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (June 6, 2013) Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) signed a letter, along with other farm groups, to United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack requesting a waiver for the November 1 date linked to harvesting or grazing cover crops on prevented plant acres.  This is needed for the farmers who cannot plant corn due to the wet spring, as well as cattle and dairy farmers who are experiencing severe forage shortage. 

“This letter is urging the Administration to relieve people from the severe weather conditions that have ripped through southeast Minnesota and challenged farmers,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “Mother Nature always bats last and has served up conditions that may jeopardize many dairy farmers and cow-calf operations in Minnesota, and certain crop deadlines with regard to haying and grazing need to be extended.”

 The letter asks Secretary Vilsack for, “Your immediate action to lift the November 1 date linked to Risk Management Agency (RMA) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) policies would serve as an incentive for all farmers to plant cover crops on prevented acres which will have multiple benefits, ranging from soil and water conservation to providing much needed forage for livestock farmers.”

By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (May 30, 2013) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) applauds action of Legislature.

“MFU thanks the legislature and Governor Dayton for passing a strong agriculture budget,” said Doug Peterson President of the Minnesota Farmers Union. “MFU is also pleased that the Farmer-Lender Mediation Act was extended for an additional three years, allowing time for farmers and lenders to find solutions when financial stresses hit rural Minnesota.” 

Key legislative actions:

  • $20 million in the AGRI-fund, which can be used for livestock, NextGen energy grants, and farm to school programs;
  • $2 million for educational and cultural programs at fairs;
  • The current wolf hunting and trapping season was not eliminated, however, MFU was disappointed wolf depredation funding was decreased;
  • Buy the Farm legislation passed which provides landowners facing the threat of high voltage power lines more rights regarding attorney’s fees, appraisals, relocation and a reasonable time frame;
  • Farmer-Lender Mediation Act was extended for an additional three years;
  • authorizing language and funding of the new voluntary Agriculture Water Quality Certification Program; and
  • language that clarifies estate tax by saying agriculture land held by farm trusts and other business entities will qualify for the extra $4 million exception from the state estate tax.
By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (May 28, 2013) The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a final rule governing Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) to meet compliance requirements set forth by a recent World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling.  

“We are very pleased that the USDA has decided to stand strong and keep COOL. The decision to bring the law into compliance with the WTO’s ruling is a win-win situation for all interested parties,” said Roger Johnson, National Farmers Union President.

“COOL gives consumers the information they want, and deserve, so they can make an educated decision about the food they are buying,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “Moms and dads need to feel good about what they are feeding their families and when products are labeled with the country of origin, that job is made easier.”

Both Minnesota and National Farmers Unions’ policy call for country of origin labeling.  USDA’s final rule will require labels for certain foods, particularly muscle cuts of meat, to include the countries in which the animal was born, raised and slaughtered. Legal analysis has found that this will satisfy WTO’s requirements and meets the compliance deadline of May 23, 2013.

By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (May 23, 2013) Minnesota Farmers Union would like to congratulateAlexis Lee Strong, daughter of Pete and Jennifer Nelson of Sauk Centre, for winning the Minnesota Farmers Union’s (MFU) FFA essay contest.  Alexis was awarded $1,000 for the Sauk Centre Area FFA Chapter, and a trip to Washington, D.C. when MFU goes on their annual fly-in in September.  A parent or her advisor will be accompanying her to Washington, D.C. A thank you and congratulations also goes out the Sauk Centre FFA Advisor, Mr. Duane Lichy, for his guidance.

MFU asked FFA students statewide to write a 500-750 word essay in response to this question, “How can farmers and rural communities work toward implementing a national food security policy to combat hunger on a regional and national level? “

Ms. Strong states in her essay, “the concept of food security is fundamentally important, and for that reason, agriculture is important. The task of growing crops, raising livestock, and feeding citizens has been a first priority for farmers for many years. I believe that pushing for a Farm Bill, Country of Origin, Immigration Bill, and community gardens are all terrific ways on implementing national food security.”

By Communications Director

St. Paul (May 22, 2013) - Have your child join Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) for a day camp in your area this summer. MFU professional camp counselors will be traveling around the state teaching the difference between cooperatives and cooperation, while most importantly having fun! Each day camp is unique, with a different combination of crafts, games, lessons, songs, and skits all in the great outdoors. These activities are designed to enhance each day-camper’s leadership skills—the building blocks of strong rural communities—in an entertaining and engaging setting outside of the classroom.

"Kids love to do hands-on activities, and the Minnesota Farmers Union day camps are a great opportunity for kids to get their hands dirty, learn something about farms and rural communities and have some fun this summer,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President.  “The kids will be enjoying themselves so much, they won’t even know they are learning!”

By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (May 9, 2013) – National Farmers Union (NFU) has announced twelve participants for their 2013 Beginning Farmers Institute (BFI), four of which are Minnesotans: Eric Hoese of Mayer; Carsten Thomas of Moorhead; and Brent Krohn and Bryce Krohn of Nicollet.

“The BFI program targets young family famers and will hone their leadership and farming skills by showing them the tools they will need to make it a go; and give them the resources necessary for their farming journey,” said Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson. “I congratulate the four Minnesota members for their inclusion in the BFI program and look forward to working with them as the next generation of family farmers.”

By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (May 1, 2013) Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) recently held its inaugural Women’s Leadership Conference titled Energizing Women and Growing Our Leadership.

Women are, and have always been, an integral part of the farm and this conference brought women from all across Minnesota together to tap into the leadership skills they already possess  from working on the farm, and learning how to use those skills in their community, as well as meet and greet other women to share ideas and stories.

“The women at this conference were incredible.  The debates were lively, energetic and informative,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “The speakers lent their expertise and all the women left energized and ready for action!”

By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (April 29, 2013) Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President Doug Peterson recently returned from the World Farmers Organisation’s  (WFO) General Assembly in Nigata, Japan.

“The purpose of the WFO is to bring together farmers from all over the world to discuss policies, practices and practicalities of farming,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “We may come from different parts of the world but the goals, struggles and victories remain the same.  Farmers strive to produce the best quality product they can.”

The WFO adopted its first policy on international trade and among its key policy objectives was the need for country-of-origin labeling requirements that allow countries to distinguish their products without distorting trade.

According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, 57 countries, including Canada and Mexico, require some form of country-of-origin labeling for food. These countries account for 94 percent of U.S. trading activity for food and animals.

“It is not a matter of if we are going to trade with other countries,” said Peterson. “It is a matter of how we trade, and having Farmers Union at the table when international trade is being discussed was beneficial to farmers across rural America.”

By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (April 12) The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced $53.6 million dollars available to agricultural producers and small businesses through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

“Farmers are the original ‘green energy’, bringing innovation to the forefront of operations.” says Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President Doug Peterson, “The REAP program aids farmers and ranchers to implement even more of these innovative technologies.”

Funds are available by grants, guaranteed loans, and combined grants and guaranteed loans for the development and construction of renewable energy systems and for energy efficiency improvement projects. Grants are also available for conducting renewable energy system feasibility studies.

By Communications Director

St. Paul (April 9, 2013) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President Doug Peterson is part of a leadership delegation of National Farmers Union Presidents at the World Farmers Organization (WFO) General Assembly in Niigata, Japan April 15-18.

 “This is an opportunity to work side by side with other farmers around the world,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “Sharing our different viewpoints will help each individual attending gain new insights to the global agricultural community, strengthening innovation in this community.”

 MFU President Doug Peterson will also be joined by: National Farmers Union President, Roger Johnson; North Dakota Farmers Union President, Elwood Barth; South Dakota Farmers Union President, Doug Sombke; Wisconsin Farmers Union President, Darin Von Ruden; and Montana Farmers Union President, Alan Merrill.

By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (March 26, 2013) Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) is hosting the Inaugural Women’s Leadership Conference Saturday, April 27 and Sunday, April 28 at the Ramada Plaza in Minneapolis. The number of women farmers in the United States has increased nationally nearly 30 percent since 2002, making women one of the fastest-growing segments of new farmers. More than 40 percent of these new women farmers are under the age of 55, which directly contrasts the aging trend of American farmers.

“I’m extremely excited for MFU to invest in women’s leadership,” said MFU President Doug Peterson “I encourage all women from outside and within the agricultural community spend the weekend growing, sharing and connecting with other motivated women.”

Claudia Svarstad, Vice President of National Farmers Union will be speaking at the Saturday evening banquet, joined by a host of speakers including; Pakou Hang, Hmong American Farmers Assiociation; Leigh Adcock, Director, Women, Food and Agriculture Network; Catherine Gray, Consultant, Clarity Central; Deb Fitzpatrick, Humphrey Institute Director, for Center for Women and Public Policy; Meg Moynihan, Dairy Farmer; Linda Larson, Dakota County Farmers Union, Markell Vogt, MFU Executive Board Member, Jessica Ratka, Participant, Farmers Union Enterprise Leadership Program; and many more.

The Inaugural Women’s Leadership Conference will be held at the Ramada Plaza, 1330 Industrial Boulevard, Minneapolis.

By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (March 21, 2013) Minnesota Farmers Union would like to thank farmers and ranchers for their hard work and dedication in honor of Minnesota Agriculture Week, March 17-23.

“Farming and ranching is a vital part of Minnesota’s economy,” says Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson, “Farmers and ranchers are the original green energy. I am proud to stand for farmers in return for all they do for us.” 

The U.S. farmer of today produces enough food and fiber for approximately 155 people. This number was 19 people in 1940, 46 people in 1960, and 115 people in 1980.

The Minnesota Agriculture Industry generated approximately $15.1 billion in farm income and over $5 billion in farm exports in 2010.

By Communications Director

ST.PAUL (March 8, 2013) Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President Doug Peterson was re-elected as National Farmers Union (NFU) Secretary for the coming year at the 111thAnniversary National Farmers Union Convention held March 2-6 in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Over 40 MFU members traveled to Massachusetts to set NFU’s policy road map for the coming year. Most important discussions were of another five year farm bill, transparency of post-farm costs in the dairy industry, clarification of food safety practices for farmers, and requirement of the United States Postal Service to continue Saturday mail service.

Requiring conservation compliance in order to be eligible for crop insurance was also an issue of great debate. Limitation of payments were discussed as a viable option, but not adopted. The focus of this discussion was on the impacts brought to family farms, beginning farmers, and southern crop farmers.

By Communications Director

What: National Farmers Union Convention

When: March 2-6, 2013

Where: Springfield, Massachusetts

Who: Mitchell Farmer-Lies of Belle Plaine; Peter and Stacy Ripka of Ogilvie; Bessie Klose of Atwater;  Gary Wertish of Renville; Jim Frederickson of Rogers; Jim Falk of Murdock; Judy Moen of Climax; Mike and JessicaRatka of Foley; Bill Sorg of Hastings; Larry Jacobson of Hitterdal; Doug and Elly Peterson of Madison;  Rodney Allebach of Menahga; Ross Eischens of Minneota; Merlyn and Sandy Hubin of Hitterdal; Marv and Marlyns Jensen of Kensington; Brian Rohrenbach of Rosemount; Linda Larson of Rosemount; Richard Moen of Clearbrook; Gene Paul of Delavan; Alan and Karen Perish of Browerville; and Lisa Syverson of Ulen.

Minnesota Farmers Union members heading to National Farmers Union Convention in Springfield, Massachusetts

Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) members will be attending the National Farmers Union (NFU) Convention in Springfield, Massachusetts March 2-6. NFU Policy will be discussed and voted upon. There are also two proposed Special Orders of Business, to adopt a new five year Farm Bill, and also to reform dairy pricing.

“The focus of this year’s convention is to send a message to congress of working together for the good of America” says MFU President Doug Peterson. “Working together means passing a five year Farm Bill with positive pricing for dairy.”

By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (February 16, 2013) United States Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, alongside Governor Mark Dayton met with members today at the Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) office. State Representatives Andrew Falk, and Rick Hansen, who are also MFU members, were in attendance as well.

At the meeting Secretary Vilsack recognized Minnesota and specifically Minnesota Farmers Union for their progressive work in agriculture, and informed MFU members on a federal perspective of current issues.

An issue of high priority for Secretary Vilsack is introducing young people into farming. “There will be far more farmers over the age of 75 than there will be under the age of 25” predicted Vilsack. “I value this group here” he said to Minnesota Farmers Union members, “I see a lot of people that look a lot younger than I do, which is great.”

Federal budget sequestration, the Farm Bill, water quality programs, and dairy were also important points of discussion. These are also high on Minnesota Farmers Union’s legislative agenda.