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NFU Statement on Committee Passage of House Ag Appropriations Bill PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 29, 2014

Contact: Brittany Jablonsky
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WASHINGTON (May 29, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement on the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations’ passage of agriculture appropriations legislation:

“Unfortunately, the House Appropriations Committee has chosen to rehash old farm bill fights by defeating two amendments aimed at eliminating a harmful rider that continues to allow abusive market behavior by livestock and poultry processors. This rider only serves the profits of multinational meatpacking companies, to the detriment of family farmers, ranchers and rural America. I encourage conferees to follow the Senate’s lead by removing this misguided provision.

“The committee also cut important funding from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and from farm bill energy and conservation programs, limiting agencies’ ability to implement reforms included in the 2010 Dodd-Frank law and the 2014 Farm Bill. I hope Congress adopts the Senate’s more moderate approach and restores this funding as the bill progresses.”

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 House and Senate Agriculture Appropriations PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 20, 2014

Contact: Brittany Jablonsky, 202-314-3108
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WASHINGTON (May 20, 2014) – Today both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittees marked up legislation for the 2015 fiscal year.

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson previously submitted testimony to both the House and Senate subcommittees outlining a number of priorities, some of which were reflected in the draft legislation. NFU was also part of broad coalition letters that opposed any attempts to undermine Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) or the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture’s authority to enforce the Packers and Stockyards Act.

“I commend House and Senate appropriators for leaving the COOL law alone. Consumers want to know the origins of their food and farmers and ranchers want to tell them. There’s no need to do harm to COOL,” said Johnson.

“It is concerning, however, that the House bill included a harmful rider that would allow abusive market behavior by livestock and poultry processors,” said Johnson. “NFU appreciates the outspoken opposition to this rider by Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, during the subcommittee markup and urge the full Appropriations Committee in the House to follow suit and remove it.”

The House bill cuts important funding from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, limiting the agency’s ability to implement reforms included in the 2010 Dodd-Frank law and protect farmers and other end-users from excessive speculation.

“NFU opposes the House’s attempt to rehash 2014 Farm Bill battles by cutting funding for farm bill energy and conservation programs. These programs were robustly debated throughout the long farm bill reauthorization process, and Congress’ actions must not be undermined through appropriations. I encourage the House to emulate the Senate’s more reasonable approach as the bill progresses.”

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 Recaps USDA Trade Mission to China PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 20, 2014

Contact: Brittany Jablonsky, 202-314-3108
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WASHINGTON (May 20, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement on his recent participation in a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) mission to promote U.S.-produced biofuels and other agricultural products in northeast China:

“I appreciate U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s recent actions to make U.S. ethanol and dried distillers grains (DDGs) eligible for USDA Foreign Agriculture Service support and thank Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse for leading this trade mission. This productive mission revealed two things:

“First, the potential ethanol export market in China is substantial. Demand for ethanol is high, and domestic production meets less than half of their projected ethanol needs. However, in order to meet this demand, it is clear that we must first resolve some government regulatory and environmental issues.

“Second, DDG exports to China will likely continue to be difficult and sporadic until China modifies its biotech approval process so it is comparable to that of the rest of the world.

“Renewable energy drives rural economies, creates jobs and helps to solve our global climate challenges. I look forward to continuing to explore new markets both here and abroad for biofuels produced by American family farmers and ranchers.” 

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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Farmers, Ranchers and Consumers Urge Congress to Reject Harmful Appropriations Policy Riders on COOL and Farmer Protections PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 19, 2014

Contact:
Brittany Jablonsky, 202-314-3108
Bill Bullard, R-CALF USA, 406-252-2516
Kate Fried, Food & Water Watch, 202-683-4905
Steve Etka, Campaign for Contract Agriculture Reform, 703-519-7772

WASHINGTON (May 19, 2014) – Today, farm, rural, consumer, labor and environmental groups from across the United States delivered two separate letters to the Senate and House Appropriations Committees urging them to reject any efforts in their upcoming 2015 Appropriations Bill to insert policy riders that would harm family farmers, ranchers and consumers.
 
The first letter, signed by 179 groups, urged the committee to reject any attempts to undermine Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) law and regulations. The letter noted: “Consumers want to know more, not less, about the origins of their food, and using an appropriations rider to deny them that knowledge is unacceptable.”
 
The letter further encourages committee members to speak up in support of COOL during Appropriations Committee hearings and markups. “Farmers and ranchers are proud of what they produce and should be allowed to promote their products. Consumers deserve clear, direct and informative labels. Providing more accurate labels with more information is a win-win situation for producers and consumers alike,” the organizations wrote.
 
The second letter, signed by 168 groups, urges the committees to reject any policy riders that would limit the Secretary of Agriculture’s authority to finalize key protections for farmers under the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921 (P&S Act). The P&S Act is intended to protect livestock and poultry farmers and ranchers against anticompetitive, deceptive, fraudulent and abusive business practices by meatpackers and poultry companies.
 
For several appropriations cycles, Congress has blocked the Secretary from finalizing regulations to implement protections for farmers by inserting policy riders at the behest of the meatpackers and poultry companies. The groups’ letter warns that the special interests seeking another rider are engaged in contracting practices that are abusive and harmful to family farmers. 
 
The rider blocks several commonsense and basic safeguards for farmers. The letter notes that the rider would block “a rule that would prohibit companies from retaliating against farmers for exercising their free speech and association rights, including talking to Members of Congress or USDA officials about the abuses they experience” and “a measure to require companies to provide a farmer with the statistical information and data used to calculate the farmer’s pay.”
 
In January, Congress firmly rejected the meatpackers’ and poultry companies’ aggressive efforts to roll back protections for farmers and weaken COOL in the 2014 Farm Bill. The letter urges the Appropriations Committees to uphold Congress’ position expressed in the 2014 Farm Bill by rejecting any riders to limit the Secretary’s authority under the P&S Act or to undermine COOL.
 
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 Continues Legal Defense of COOL PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 19, 2014

Contact: Brittany Jablonsky, 202-314-3108
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WASHINGTON (May 19, 2014) – This morning, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard argument en banc in AMI v. USDA. While a three-judge panel had affirmed the district court’s denial of a preliminary injunction on the implementation of the revised Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) regulations, the panel had noted that one issue might warrant rehearing en banc. The Court scheduled today’s hearing as a result. 

The parties’ positions before the Court are essentially the same as what was presented to the panel although additional briefing was sought by the Court on the reach of a certain Supreme Court decision in the First Amendment area.

National Farmers Union (NFU), along with fellow intervenors the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, American Sheep Industry Association and Consumer Federation of America, has participated at both the district court and at the D.C. Circuit supporting the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s revised COOL regulation and opposing the preliminary injunction request of the plaintiffs/appellants. 

“The revised COOL regulation is an important step in providing consumers improved information on the origin of the meat products they buy, and it reduces consumer confusion,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “The information required by the regulation to be provided is factual and noncontroversial. I am hopeful that the full Circuit will affirm the panel’s prior decision and continue to deny the preliminary injunction requested by appellants.”

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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