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Dairy Crisis
Current NFU News
NFU: Maintain the Ban on Brazilian Beef to Protect U.S. Ranchers and Consumers PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 22, 2014

Contact: Brittany Jablonsky, 202-314-3108
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WASHINGTON (April 22, 2014) – Today National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on its proposal to allow the importation of beef from several states in Brazil with a recent history of unresolved foot and mouth disease (FMD).

“As we’ve seen in the past, consumer confidence in the safety of our food supply is easily jeopardized by even rumored threats,” said Johnson. “NFU’s family farmer- and rancher-driven policy is clear on this issue: livestock, animal protein products and meat imports from countries with a history of FMD and other infectious livestock diseases put the entire U.S. livestock industry at risk due to the very real possibility of transmission of FMD to U.S. livestock. APHIS must maintain the current ban on importation of fresh beef from Brazil.”

Inconsistencies between animal health disclosures reported by APHIS and the World Organization for Animal Health further erode NFU’s confidence in the safety of beef imports from countries with a history of FMD presence and a poor food safety record. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recalled Brazilian cooked and canned meat on three occasions in 2010 due to drug contamination.

The economic costs of an FMD outbreak in the United States would be tremendous. A 2002 study found that if an epidemic similar to the outbreak that occurred in the U.K. in 2001 were to strike the United States, a loss of $14 billion in U.S. farm income (in 2002 dollars) would result. This includes costs of quarantine and eradication of animals, a ban on exports, and reduced consumer confidence. In addition, the disease could spread to any cloven-hoofed animals, endangering other domestic livestock like sheep or pigs, and wild deer and antelope that form the basis of the U.S. hunting industry.

“U.S. farmers and ranchers are known throughout the world for our long-standing disease prevention efforts and high food safety standards. USDA must not endanger this reputation, or consumers’ safety, for the sake of cheap imported food,” Johnson said.

Click here to read NFU’s comments.

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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STB Decision a Step in the Right Direction PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 17, 2014

Contact: Brittany Jablonsky, 202-314-3108
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WASHINGTON (April 17, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) today praised an April 15 decision by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB) that ordered BNSF Railway (BNSF) and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (CP) to direct all necessary railcars and locomotive power to move fertilizer into position to avoid planting delays this spring.

The STB held a public hearing on April 10, 2014, at its office in Washington, D.C., to provide interested persons the opportunity to report on recent service problems in the U.S. rail network, to hear from rail industry executives on plans to address their service problems, and to discuss additional options to improve service.

“Farmers have faced prolonged delays in transporting agricultural commodities by BNSF and CP,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “This action will ensure timely delivery of much-needed fertilizer for farmers in the upper Midwest.”

The STB decision requires the railroads to report by April 18 their plans to deliver fertilizer shipments for spring planting and to provide weekly status reports over the next six weeks regarding delivery of fertilizer.

“This is a step in the right direction to make sure that farmers have the tools they need by planting season,” Johnson said. “I am pleased that the STB is now requiring the railroads to report on their fertilizer delivery performance. I urge the board to follow Tuesday’s action by addressing the equally serious issue of grain shipment delays.” 

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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Renewable Energy Must Play a Significant Role in Climate Change Mitigation PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 15, 2014

Contact: Brittany Jablonsky, 202-314-3108
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WASHINGTON (April 15, 2014) – Today the third working group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its report on climate change mitigation. The report finds that climate change is occurring at a rapid rate, but mitigation strategies such as scaling up renewable energy production could substantially reduce anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

"The working group's report complements NFU's long-held, member-led policy positions by recognizing the need for a comprehensive renewable energy strategy," said National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson. "Tripling or even quadrupling the share of zero- and low-carbon energy supply from renewables, as the report recommends, will require significant investments in energy technologies that utilize rural America’s renewable and human resources. These investments would pay off not only by helping to mitigate the effects of climate change but by driving significant rural economic development.”

According to the report, total anthropogenic GHG emissions have continued to increase over 1970 to 2010 in spite of a growing number of climate change mitigation policies. Total anthropogenic GHG emissions were the highest in human history from 2000 to 2010. Without additional efforts to reduce GHG emissions beyond those in place today, emissions growth is expected to persist, driven by growth in global population and economic activities.

“America’s family farmers and ranchers are concerned about the effects of climate change and stand ready to be part of the solution to our global climate challenges,” 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 Commends USDA on Rapid Disaster Program Rollout PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 15, 2014

Contact: Brittany Jablonsky, 202-314-3108
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WASHINGTON (April 15, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement on U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s announcement that sign-up begins today for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster programs:

“Baseline funding for these critical disaster programs in the 2014 Farm Bill was a huge victory for family farmers and ranchers. These producers, many of whom were impacted by a devastating blizzard that swept the upper Midwest in October 2013, were subject to congressional inaction for more than two years. I thank House and Senate Agriculture Committee leadership for ensuring livestock disaster programs were retroactive to cover these losses.

“Livestock disaster programs represent just a few of many provisions in the 2014 Farm Bill that help family livestock producers. Others include maintaining the common-sense Country-of-Origin Labeling law for meat, poultry and seafood; supporting fair and competitive markets for independent family farmers and ranchers by excluding language that would have undercut enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act; and funding numerous disease prevention and eradication programs.

“I commend the secretary for his swift implementation of these much-needed programs and look forward to the remainder of the farm bill implementation timeline.”

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 Statement on The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act
 PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 11, 2014

Contact: Brittany Jablonsky, 202-314-3108
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WASHINGTON (April 11, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement in opposition to H.R. 4432, The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014, sponsored by Reps. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., and G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C.:

“Farmers Union members have clearly stated their position in the policy adopted at our annual meeting in favor of required consumer labeling for foods made from or containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The rights of both GMO and non-GMO producers should be respected as appropriate regulatory agencies continue to research and evaluate ethical, environmental, food safety, legal, market and structural issues that impact everyone in the food chain.

“NFU policy supports conspicuous, mandatory labeling for food products throughout the processing chain to include all ingredients, additives and processes, such as genetically altered or engineered food products.

“Further, in numerous places NFU’s member-driven policy supports the authority of lower levels of government and opposes pre-emption by federal standards. This legislation would pre-empt state actions to label foods containing GMOs.

“Surveys have consistently shown that consumers want more information about their food, not less. The prevalence of state-led efforts to label GMOs only corroborates these findings. As the nation’s food producers, Farmers Union members fully understand the need to meet the market’s demands.”

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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