MFU members to meet virtually with members of Congress for NFU Fly-In
Sept. 10, 2020
More than ever, family farmers are calling on policy makers to support them, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Normally at this time of year, Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) would be preparing to bring a group of members and staff to Washington, D.C. for the annual National Farmers Union (NFU) Legislative Fly-In, where the organization advocates for better agriculture and rural policy.
This year, the same pandemic prevents the organization from holding an in-person event, but the importance of family farm advocacy has only grown. The Fly-In meetings will take place virtually via video conference, so members can participate from the safety of their homes, from Sept. 14-18.
Advocates from across the country will campaign for policies that support pandemic recovery, reduce chronic overproduction, restore competition to agricultural markets, strengthen rural health care, improve access to broadband internet, ensure the success of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), help farmers and ranchers implement climate-smart practices and expand the market for homegrown biofuels. The NFU Fly-In Talking Points can be found here.
“Farmers have been earning low prices for their production for several years now, facing a trade war and disruption of the biofuels market, before COVID-19 forced the shutdowns of restaurants, schools and meat plants,” MFU President Gary Wertish said. “Additionally, climate change and insufficient rural infrastructure make farming even more stressful. We look forward to the NFU Fly-In every year to give our members of Congress and the administration the opportunity to hear from real family farmers and are continually grateful for the availability of virtual technology to make this work possible when meeting in-person is unsafe.”
NFU will kick off the virtual fly-in on Monday, Sept. 14, with a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) briefing, with appearances from U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Deputy Undersecretary for Rural Development Bette Brand.
The event will continue the following day with a Congressional briefing featuring Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Chair of the House Agriculture Committee Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Representative Frank Lucas (R-Okla.).
Throughout the week, Minnesota’s participants will also meet directly with Minnesota’s delegation and their staff, including Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D), Sen. Tina Smith (D), Chair Peterson (D), Rep. Angie Craig (D), Rep. Pete Stauber (R) and Rep. Tom Emmer (R), and staff of Rep. Betty McCollum (D) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D).
Members of the press who are interested in attending the USDA Briefing and/or the Congressional Briefing must RSVP to NFU Communications Director Hannah Packman at firstname.lastname@example.org by 4 p.m. on Friday, September 11. Reporters interested in attending the Minnesota delegation meetings should contact MFU Public Relations & Communications Director Brita Moore at email@example.com by the same time.
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Minnesota Farmers Union—Standing for Agriculture, Working for Farmers (www.mfu.org)