Minnesota farmers head to D.C. calling for fair trade, renewable energy, restored competition in agriculture
Sept. 4, 2019
For more than 100 years, Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) has given farmers a consistent seat at the the table of policy making.
Next week, more than 40 MFU members and staff will carry on that tradition and fly into Washington, D.C., for the National Farmers Union (NFU) Legislative Fly-In, Sept. 9-11, as part of a group of 380 NFU members from across the country.
“We look forward to the Fly-In every year because it’s an important opportunity for our members to share their experiences with the administration and their Representatives in Congress,” MFU President Gary Wertish said. “With farmers representing only 2 percent of the U.S. population and facing an uphill battle when it comes to farm income, trade, biofuels and the climate, we need to make our voices heard more than ever.”
Fly-In activities are scheduled to include a briefing from the United States Department of Agriculture; a briefing with agriculture committee members and staff on Capitol Hill; and meetings with the Minnesota congressional delegation. MFU members will also drop by other states’ congressional offices to leave information about Farmers Union legislative priorities and the Farmer’s Share.
Topics of discussion will include the need for a stronger farm safety net; how Congress can support biofuels and climate-smart farming practices; restoring competition to the agricultural economy; and needs to improve the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement and ending ongoing trade disputes.
MFU will be represented by President Gary Wertish of Renville; Vice President Bryan Klabunde of Waubun; State Secretary Anne Schwagerl of Browns Valley; Farmers Union Insurance Agency (FUIA) President and General Manager Rodney Allebach of Maple Grove; FUIA agent Chris Sanders and his wife Bridget of Rochester; Farmers Union Industries CEO Dan Hildebrandt and his wife Deb of Redwood Falls; Executive Committee Chair Carol Anderson and her husband Steve of Foley; Josh and Cindy VanDerPol of Kerkhoven; Linda Larson and Brian Rohrenbach of Rosemount; Tracy Singleton of Minneapolis; John Beaton of Saginaw; John Hest of Moorhead; James Kanten of Milan; Marcus Irrthum of Wanamingo; Eric Monson of Eagle Bend; Theresa Bentz of Northfield; Jessica Keddy of Sebeka; Sarah Klabunde of Waubun; Melissa Roach of Cook; Amy Liddell of Ada; Ed Terry of Randolph; Nicole Koziolek of Northfield; Jaylynn Frandrup of Hastings; Alan Perish of Browerville; Eunice Biel of Harmony; Liz Biel of Lanesboro; Richard Moen of Clearbrook; Deborah Mills of Lake City; Grace and Dale Fladeboe of Kandiyohi; Gene Paul of Delavan; and Sarah Barrett of Brainerd.
Traveling with MFU representing the Linder Farm Network will be Jeff Stewart of Owatonna, who will cover the Fly-In for the network.
Representing MFU on the National Youth Advisory Council will be Maria Fatz of Waubun, Josiah Zapf of St. Bonifacius and Nicholas Foss of St. Bonifacius.
MFU staff in attendance will be Government Relations Director Stu Lourey; Programming Director Michelle Medina; Public Relations & Communications Director Brita Moore; and Education Director Glen Schmidt.
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Minnesota Farmers Union—Standing for Agriculture, Working for Farmers (www.mfu.org).