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Dairy Crisis
Current NFU News
NFU Calls Delay of 2014 RFS Volume Standards a ‘Serious Disappointment;’ Remains Hopeful the Delay Will Allow EPA Time to Get Targets Right PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Nov. 14, 2014)

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
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WASHINGTON (Nov. 14, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson called the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement today that the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume targets would not be released before the end of the year a ‘serious disappointment.’ Johnson also noted that NFU remains hopeful the delay will allow the agency to return the RFS target levels back to the statutory targets.

“Ethanol and all biofuels have been the best thing to happen to farm country in generations, and the volume standards that are supposed to be set by the agency are a significant help in establishing the market for biofuels,” said Johnson. “Rural America and the biofuels industries rely heavily on these targets for planning and investment purposes. Any hint that the administration might not be fully behind renewable fuels is a major step back for working farmers and the biofuels industries.”

The RFS is our nation’s main policy driver for renewable fuels, and since its creation by Congress has created $184.5 billion in economic impact while supporting 852,056 jobs nationwide. Johnson noted that the biofuels industries – and the farmers who grow the grains they use – are poised for continued growth here in the U.S., but need a clear signal that the targets will remain firm. Johnson hopes that the delay will give EPA the time it needs to get the numbers right.

“The proposed targets in November were unacceptable,” said Johnson. “We’re hopeful that the EPA will now be able to address the flaw for both immediate and future target levels.”

“The RFS has created a win-win-win scenario for the environment, farmers, jobs and consumers, and deserves the full support of the administration, not the increased doubt that comes without having targets for renewable fuel use,” said Johnson. “The EPA needs to demonstrate its support to this vital industry to ensure its success and keep investment in and production of renewable fuels here in the United States.”

National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.
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NFU President Brings Expertise in Agriculture, NFU Cooperative Model to Ghana; Meets with the President, Minister of Food and Agriculture PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Nov. 10, 2014)

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
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WASHINGTON (Nov. 10, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson arrived in the Republic of Ghana today to discuss the history of NFU and the development of cooperatives in the United States at the National Food and Agric Show (FAGRO). Johnson will also meet with President John Dramani Mahama, Minister for Food and Agriculture Fifi Kwetey and Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Sherry Ayitey to discuss how cooperatives can promote sustainable agriculture in Ghana.

“I am excited to be able to discuss and promote cooperatives as a means for agricultural sustainability in Ghana,” said Johnson. “Cooperatives provide education and training for members, managers and employees, who can then utilize that knowledge to effectively develop not only their cooperatives, but also their communities.”

Johnson noted that Farmers Union has a rich history of supporting and developing cooperatives, and with that comes the ability to speak to the successes of cooperatives in agriculture. Through the technical assistance and funding provided by Farmers Union, cooperatives throughout the United States have been able to benefit their local communities.

“Ghanaian officials have reached out to NFU in the past to explore the cooperative model in the United States,” said Johnson. “I believe that the successes of the Farmers Union push for cooperatives in the United States can be modeled in Ghana for the betterment of their agriculture industry.”

Johnson will also be the guest speaker at the opening ceremony of FAGRO 2014, where he will speak on the topics of sustainable agricultural growth and development, and treating agriculture as a business.  He noted that Ghana’s economy relies heavily upon its agriculture sector, as it represents 21 percent of the nation’s GDP and 52 percent of the labor force.

“The health and vibrancy of Ghana’s agriculture sector, just as it is in the United States, is incredibly important to the health and vibrancy of the entire nation,” said Johnson. “I am happy to be able to help in the development of a sustainable model for agriculture in Ghana.”

National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.
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NFU Beginning Farmers Institute Experiences Cooperatives and Local Farms PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Nov. 6, 2014)

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
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WASHINGTON (Nov. 6, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) Beginning Farmers Institute (BFI) participants are in Minneapolis this week to take a closer look at the cooperative business model, tour local farms and co-ops, consider legal issues and learn about bookkeeping requirements that are critical to the success of the operations.

“As harvest winds down, Americans are getting ready for Thanksgiving. We are proud of our Beginning Farmers Institute participants for wanting to excel in the field of family farm agriculture,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “As diverse as production agriculture can be, farmers and ranchers all share similar challenges.”

The agenda of activities is packed, from meeting with an attorney whose background is rich with generational farm issues, to quizzing a former USDA expert who will review bookkeeping and tax record requirements.  NFU Foundation Executive Director Maria Miller led a group discussion on Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL).

BFI participants will tour local farms including the family dairy operation of BFI alumni Eric Hoese. The group will also hear how Minnesota Farmers Union has turned its program "Minnesota Cooks" into a popular event that represents the best homegrown foods from around the state. Many of the group meals will be at farm-to-table restaurants.

BFI participants include Nicole Vojtech of Ohio; Tracy Zink of Nebraska; Courtney Krueger of North Dakota; Chris Holman and Kriss Marion of Wisconsin; Harrison Topp of Colorado; Glen Hughes of Indiana; Erin Bailey of Washington; Rick Duvall of Illinois; Chelsea Kruse of New Hampshire; Troy Hunoff of South Dakota; Nicholas Levendofsky, Matt and Leah Ubel of Kansas.

The selected individuals from across the nation come from an array of farm operations. “The Beginning Farmers Institute is important as they all of have different experiences and points of view,” said Johnson. “The participants not only learn from experienced speakers, they learn from each other."

The institute is a 12-month program and is sponsored in part by DuPont Pioneer, Farm Credit, CHS Foundation, CoBank, FUI Foundation and the NFU Foundation. BFI participants attended their first meeting earlier this year in Washington, D.C., where they focused on financial, marketing, public speaking and planning skills.

More information can be found at www.NFU.org/education.

National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.

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NFU: There Are Several Strong Grounds for COOL Appeal to WTO; Opponents Arguing Otherwise Are Doing So Out of Desperation PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Nov. 6, 2014)

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
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WASHINGTON (Nov. 6, 2014) – Demands by Canadian competitors and the U.S. meatpacker industry to immediately rescind Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) before the World Trade Organization (WTO) has completed the dispute process are deceptive and premature because the United States has strong grounds to appeal the case, and should pursue a vigorous appeal, said National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson. 

“Recent comments by an attorney for the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association that the law will inevitably be struck down should be seen for what they are: a paid advocate for a foreign competitor attempting to scare the U.S. Congress into hasty and unwarranted action,” said Johnson. “At each stage in the dispute, the WTO has increasingly found that COOL is legitimate and that the current rules provide valuable information to consumers,” he added.

The WTO dispute process is lengthy and unpredictable with many disputes lasting more than a decade. The recent WTO ruling overestimated the cost of the rule, underestimated the benefits of COOL labels, and inappropriately attributed the declining U.S. cattle imports during the economic recession to commonsense COOL labels. All of these areas present legitimate grounds for a strong appeal.

“The U.S. Congress should reject Canada’s absurd demand for unconditional surrender at the WTO,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “The U.S. must pursue a vigorous appeal to defend the COOL labels that Congress enacted and not buckle to the Canadian cattle and U.S. meatpacker demands.”

Johnson noted that the repeated threats that the WTO will promptly and automatically award tremendous tariff penalties are scare tactics of the industry litigants, not the likely outcome of the dispute.

“American consumers want to know where their meat and vegetables come from and family farmers and ranchers are happy to provide that information,” said Johnson. “We urge the administration needs to take all necessary steps to make it permanent.”

Johnson also pointed out that opponents of COOL have lost four times in the U.S. courts and have been unable to derail the popular law at the WTO.  “This line of argument is nothing short of desperation, given they have lost every other avenue possible,” said Johnson.

National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.

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NFU Urges Passage of Tax Extenders Package in Lame-Duck Session; Working with 114th US Congress on RFS, Farm Bill Implementation PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Nov. 5, 2015)

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
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WASHINGTON (Nov. 5, 2015) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson said today that tax breaks important to family farmers and ranchers need to be extended before the end of the year, and that NFU is looking forward to working with members on both sides of the aisle to solve issues important to family farmers and ranchers.

“NFU will strongly pursue the extension of expiring tax provisions for small business expensing, and renewable energy during the upcoming lame-duck session of congress,” said Johnson. “Family farmers and ranchers rely on these provisions that are critical to managing their business.”

Johnson also noted that for well over 100 years, NFU has worked with members on both sides of the aisle and looks forward to continuing this tradition into the 114th Congress. 

 “Many of the issues that are most important to us –Renewable Fuel Standard and the full implementation of the 2014 Farm Bill – continue to enjoy strong bipartisan support in both chambers,” said Johnson. “We are looking forward to working with the new Congress to continue to advance those issues and make continued progress for family farmers, rural America and the nation as a whole.”

National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.
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