Collin Peterson, Jeanne Poppe recognized at virtual MFU Convention; delegates pass special orders on pandemic relief, affordable health care, anti-racism, climate change and more
November 24, 2020
A pivot from an in-person event to a virtual one didn’t prevent the 79th Annual Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) Convention from sparking fruitful conversation on agriculture and rural policy.
The November 21 event, held via Zoom, allowed MFU members from across the state to participate safely in the grassroots organization’s cornerstone meeting. The abbreviated agenda consisted of guest speakers, rules and bylaws change discussion, re-affirmation of MFU’s current policy document, debate and passage of seven Special Orders of Business and election of delegates to the next National Farmers Union (NFU) Convention.
The organization also formally recognized outgoing Congressman Collin Peterson and State Rep. Jeanne Poppe with the Leadership in Agriculture Award by a unanimous vote of the delegates.
Rep. Peterson, a Democrat from Minnesota’s 7th District, has served as either Chair or Ranking Member on the House Agriculture Committee for much of his 30-year tenure in Congress. Rep. Poppe, a DFLer from Austin, has been Chair of the Minnesota House Agriculture Committee for the past two years and has long championed agricultural policy and education. Both lost bids for re-election this fall, but their influence in government is sure to be well-remembered.
“Chair Peterson and Chair Poppe have been reliable lawmakers when we need to get things done for family farmers,” MFU President Gary Wertish said. “They’ve consistently worked across the aisle and held up agriculture’s reputation as a bipartisan policy area. We will miss working with them but know their work will be meaningful for years to come. MFU thanks them for their dedicated service with the Leadership in Agriculture Award.”
The Special Orders of Business passed by MFU members are as follows: Affordable Health Care; Resilient Agricultural Markets; Expanding Meat and Poultry Processing; Promoting Biofuels and Ending Attacks on the RFS; Pandemic Recovery and Broadband Investment; Climate-Smart Agriculture; and Affirming Agricultural Community.
“While it’s harder to have robust discussion about policy over Zoom than in person, our members did an excellent job,” President Wertish said. “I thank all our delegates for conducting such a respectful debate; MFU General Counsel Dave Velde for chairing the debate once again; and the MFU Policy Committee for their time and effort crafting the Special Orders. They were based on the myriad policy resolutions we received from county unions this fall, as we do every year. We will work for these grassroots policy resolutions in the next legislative session and beyond.”
The delegates elected ten members to represent Minnesota at the NFU Convention, held virtually from Feb. 28-March 2, 2021:
Vicki Barnes, Woodbury
Hannah Bernhardt, Finlayson
David Christianson, Parkers Prairie
Laurie Driessen, Canby
Larry Jacobson, Hitterdal
Dan Miller, Spring Valley
Noreen Thomas, Moorhead
James VanDerPol, Kerkhoven
Ted Winter, Fulda
Robert Woods, Minneapolis
Several guest speakers addressed the convention attendees in live Zoom appearances, including Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz; U.S. Senators from Minnesota Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, members of the Senate Agriculture Committee; Congresswoman Angie Craig from Minnesota’s 2nd District, a member of the House Agriculture Committee; NFU President Rob Larew and Vice President Patty Edelburg; and Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen. MFU thanks them for their time and support.
The convention was sponsored by Farmers Union Agency; Farmers Union Industries; AgCountry Farm Credit Services; Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council; Minnesota Corn Growers Association; Associated Milk Producers, Inc.; Compeer Financial; BNSF Railway; Novel Energy Solutions, LLC; Minnesota Department of Agriculture & Ag Water Quality Certification Program; Minnesota Rural Electric Association; JBL Companies; Green View, Inc.; Velde Moore Law Firm; and Kleven Law Firm. MFU thanks these sponsors for their support.
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Minnesota Farmers Union—Standing for Agriculture, Working for Farmers (www.mfu.org)