Wertish, Klabunde re-elected at MFU convention; ten chosen to attend NFU convention
November 20, 2017
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) held its 76th Annual Convention Nov. 17-19. At the convention, delegates re-elected President Gary Wertish of Renville and Vice President Bryan Klabunde of Waubun to new two-year terms.
Wertish has served as MFU’s President since January, after serving as Vice President from 2009-2016.
“I am thankful to have been re-elected to lead this strong organization,” Wertish said. “We have a lot of work to do to fight for rural America. I will work to represent Minnesota’s farmers well in this fight. Farmers Union has a long history of working for family farmers.”
Klabunde was first elected as Vice President in February. Prior to his election, he served as Mahnomen County Farmers Union President from 2010-2017.
“Minnesota Farmers Union provides outstanding leadership opportunities for farmers, which we need to make our voices heard,” Klabunde said. “I will use my knowledge as an active farmer to seek policy changes that are crucial for our success.”
Additionally, the delegates elected 10 members to represent Minnesota at the National Farmers Union (NFU) Convention, which will be held March 3-6 in Kansas City, Mo. They are Carol Anderson of Foley; Paul Benson of Mahnomen; Jonathan Brase of Waseca; Erik Hatlestad of New London; Scott Hilgeman of Oklee; Deborah Mills of Lake City; John Nauerth of Lakefield; Frank Turnock of McGregor; Harmon Wilts of Kerkhoven; and Ted Winter of Windom.
MFU members debated many changes to its official policy, with top issues being passage of a new Farm Bill in 2018; support for more health care options for farmers, including being allowed to buy into MinnesotaCare; and support for the Renewable Fuels Standard. The policy document is developed from the grassroots advocacy of MFU members. The organization lobbies for this policy in the Minnesota Legislature and the U.S. Congress.
Several speakers addressed the convention attendees. Meteorologist Paul Douglas gave the keynote address, speaking on the effects of climate change for farmers. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture Dave Frederickson; NFU Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Communications Rob Larew; NFU Biofuels Advisor Anne Steckel; and 40 Square Cooperative Solutions Manager Char Vrieze also spoke to the convention.
MFU demonstrated its commitment to Minnesota farmers by sourcing food for convention meals from local farms, cooperatives and businesses.
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