Policy from rural grassroots
Since the first local was organized in Jackson County in 1918, having a local presence throughout the state has been a hallmark of Minnesota Farmers Union. MFU has members in all of Minnesota’s 87 counties and Farmers Union county organizations are active in 67 counties.
Farmers Union county chapters are the base of our statewide grassroots organization. Voting members are a mix of family farmers and consumers who have paid membership dues, as well as spouses of paid members. Members’ unmarried children between the ages of 16 and 21 are also eligible to vote at any Farmers Union meeting.
Each year, Farmers Union counties hold their annual county conventions, which are gatherings of Farmers Union members in respective counties. At the conventions, there are often speakers from the MFU State Office who address critical issues for family farming. Some conventions are during the day, some at night. Some conventions include meals, either on your own or paid for by the county, and last about an hour and a half.
Before the conventions, members should take the time and think of ideas they’d like to present as resolutions. Members in attendance discuss and vote on these resolutions that could become Farmers Union policy. All MFU policy starts at the local level with the county conventions; moves to the state level for debate at the state convention in November; and then to the national level at the National Farmers Union Convention in March. Farmers Union leaders advocate for this policy in the United States Congress and the Minnesota Legislature.
County conventions are also the times to elect delegates who are interested in representing the county at the state convention, elect or re-elect a county president who serves on the MFU Full Board of Directors, and elect any other officers, such as county Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer or any position available in your county. We encourage you to consider running to become a county leader if you have strong interest in rural issues.
Farmers Union conventions are fairly informal, usually held at farms or small restaurants. You can catch up with your neighbors, meeting new people and talk about issues in your area. These are family-friendly events and provide interesting opportunities hear what others are thinking about agriculture.
MFU members receive postcard notifications informing of when and where conventions will be held. If it’s been a while since you attended a Farmers Union county convention, why not give it a try this year? Bring your family, friends and neighbors, and make the most of your MFU membership.
In answer to the most unasked question: If I go, will I get elected as a delegate or officer? The answer is pretty simple: No, unless you want to get elected.
Farmers Union county conventions continue to be the heart of Minnesota Farmers Union. Take a couple of hours and come join us at yours. If you have questions about county conventions, contact MFU Membership and Outreach Director Bruce Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.