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Current NFU News
Politico Guest Opinion: Beware of the Trojan Horse Labeled COOL ‘Reform’ PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Sept. 5, 2014)

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
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WASHINGTON (Sept. 5, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson argues in a recent Politico op-ed that the opponents of Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL), having lost their battles on both the ideological front as well as in the courts, are now trying have the law gutted in the name of ‘reform.”

“Since its passage, COOL has been under full frontal assault both domestically and abroad in an attempt to have the law thrown out in the U.S. courts or by the World Trade Organization. With the efficacy of those lines of attack in question, COOL opponents are now trotting a Trojan horse around Capitol Hill, and naming it COOL “reform.” But don’t be fooled by a name, because the ‘reform’ they are offering would actually eviscerate the labeling law of all common sense and utility and leave it meaningless,” notes Johnson.

Johnson explains that consumers love COOL because they are concerned – and rightfully so – where their food comes from. According to a May 2013 public opinion poll, more than 90 percent of consumers support COOL. And farmers and ranchers, who raise this nation’s livestock and fresh vegetables, love COOL as well, because they’re rightfully proud of what they produce. In essence, they want to have their fingerprint on the product.

“So who could possibly be against this popular, common-sense labeling law?” Johnson asks. “The multinational meat industry has sued USDA and had their case tossed out three times. But with the deep pockets of the multinational meat barons, the sky is the limit on how many more times they might take a shot at the appeal process.”

Johnson explains that the crux of the meat industry’s argument is that COOL will force them to segregate animals from different countries before the animals are processed so that the meat products can be labeled accordingly. This, they say, will be too burdensome and costly for them. 

“It’s simply not believable that an industry that can come up with the idea of using carbon monoxide packaging to extend the shelf life of its meat products can’t figure out how to segregate cattle,” he says. “In North Dakota, we put a fence around them and that works pretty well for us.”

Johnson explains that in the name of ‘reform,’ lobbyists representing these industries will be blanketing Congress with a request to “reform” COOL by labeling all fresh meats from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico as ‘Made in North America.’ “That’s just about as useful as labeling it “Made in this solar system,” he says.

Next week, hundreds of farmers – all National Farmers Union members coming into town for the annual fly-in – will descend on Congress to let them know that the “Made in USA” label still means quality and to not succumb to the sales pitch from the Trojan Horse of ‘Reform.’ 

“American farmers and ranchers raise the best meat and vegetables in the world, and they are proud to have their products labeled accordingly,” he notes.

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 Concludes Annual Fall Legislative Fly-In PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Sept. 10, 2014)

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
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WASHINGTON (Sept. 10, 2014) – Following three days of congressional meetings, Farmers Union members participating in the organization’s fall fly-in are returning home today.

While in Washington, D.C., fly-in participants met with members of Congress, focusing on four priority issues: opposing any legislative changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and rejecting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s flawed proposal for 2014 blending targets; stopping any effort to undermine Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL); bringing attention to rail issues in the Midwest; and ensuring the Trade-Pacific Partnership (TPP) between the U.S. and 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region is not supported in its current form.

Fly-in participants also presented the organization’s highest honor, the Golden Triangle Award, to a bipartisan group of 40 senators and representatives who have demonstrated leadership on issues relevant to America’s family farmers, ranchers and rural communities. Members accepted the awards at a reception on Tuesday night at the Stewart Mott House.

“America’s farmers are ready, willing and able to play a vital role in educating consumers about where their food comes from, decreasing America’s dependency on foreign oil, and addressing rail transportation issues in the Midwest. With the right policies in place we can continue to feed the world and fuel the future,” NFU President Roger Johnson said.

The fly-in also included a Monday morning visit to the U.S. Department of Agriculture where Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and other USDA officials briefed participants and took questions on pending agriculture issues.

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 Honors 40 Outstanding Members of Congress with Golden Triangle Award PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Sept. 9, 2014)

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
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WASHINGTON (Sept. 9, 2014) – – National Farmers Union (NFU) recently announced its recipients of the Golden Triangle Award, the organization’s highest legislative honor. The annual award is presented to members of Congress who have demonstrated leadership and support policies that benefit America’s family farmers, ranchers, fishermen and rural communities.

“Recipients of the Golden Triangle Award have been strong advocates for family farmers and ranchers, and support similar principles and policies as Farmers Union,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “We are pleased to honor those who have proven to be true allies of our organization and our members across the country.”

This year’s Golden Triangle recipients were selected for their leadership on a variety of issues, including votes on the farm bill and related amendments. The awards will be presented at a reception during NFU’s Annual Legislative Fly-In this September.

The Golden Triangle Award is based on NFU’s symbol – a triangle with “legislation” and “cooperation” forming the sides and “education” the base. The Golden Triangle Awards have been presented to legislators since 1988.

List of all 2014 Golden Triangle Award Recipients:

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Wis.         Sen. Michael Bennet, Colo.          Rep. Bruce Braley, Iowa                  Sen. Sherrod Brown, Ohio         
Rep. Cheri Bustos, Ill.                Sen. Thad Cochran, Miss.            Rep. Joe Courtney, Conn.                Rep. Rodney Davis, Ill.
Sen. Joe Donnelly, Ind.              Rep. Sam Farr, Calif.                   Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick, Pa.            Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, Neb.
Sen. Al Franken, Minn.               Sen. Charles Grassley, Iowa        Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, N.M.   Sen. Martin Heinrich, N.M
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, N.D.          Sen. John Hoeven, N.D               Rep. Jared Huffman, Calif.               Sen. Tim Johnson, S.D.
Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Ohio             Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Minn.          Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, N.H.         Sen. Patrick Leahy, Vt.  
Rep. Dave Loebsack, Iowa          Rep. Frank Lucas, Okla.              Rep. Ben Ray Luján Grisham, N.M.   Sen. Jerry Moran, Kan.
Rep. Rick Nolan, Minn.               Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Calif.              Rep. Gary Peters, Mich.                   Rep. Collin Peterson, Minn.
Rep. Chellie Pingree, Maine        Rep. Mark Pocan, Wis.                 Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Mich.           Sen. Mark Udall, Colo.
Sen. Tom Udall, N.M.                 Sen. Jon Tester, Mont.                 Sen. John Walsh, Mont.                   Rep. Tim Walz, Minn.

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 Holds First Session PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Sept. 8, 2014)

Contact: Andrew Jerome, (202) 314-3106
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WASHINGTON (Sept. 8, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) Beginning Farmers Institute (BFI) participants are in Washington, D.C., this week to take part in the first session of the institute. Participants will learn financial, marketing, public speaking and planning skills.

“It has become increasingly difficult for beginning farmers to succeed,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “That is why programs like BFI are so important, because they give beginning farmers an opportunity to learn important leadership and farm-management skills that benefit not only themselves, but also the communities and economies they support.”

BFI participants include Nicole Vojtech of Ohio; Tracey 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 range from cattle ranchers and grain farmers to those growing for farmers markets and urban farmers. The institute is a yearlong program and is sponsored in part by Farm Credit, CoBank, DuPont Pioneer, CHS Foundation, FUI Foundation and the NFU Foundation. 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 Kicks Off 2014 Fly-In with Briefings from Top Administration and Elected Officials PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Sept. 8, 2014)

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
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WASHINGTON (Sept. 8, 2014) – The National Farmers Union (NFU) Annual Fall Legislative Fly-In commenced today with briefings by top officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and members of Congress and staff of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Agriculture.

“With two of rural America’s most important initiatives under fire — Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)  — NFU members have travelled to the nation’s capital to urge their members of Congress to stand strong on COOL and the RFS,” said NFU President Roger Johnson.  ”Fly-in is not only important to NFU, but to the overall health and vibrancy of rural America.”

Roughly 250 Farmers Union members have gathered in Washington for the fly-in. Tuesday and Wednesday they will visit the offices of every member of Congress to highlight the priorities of Farmers Union and family farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and consumers.  “We hope that hearing directly from family farmers will encourage members of Congress to stand firm on COOL and the RFS, and continue to fight for family farmers and the rural economies that they support,” he said.

Johnson noted that COOL has been under attack from the multinational meat industry and key trade competitors who are trying to keep the common-sense labeling law from being enacted.  The other agriculture commodities have come under attack recently by big oil companies pressuring the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which has been considering rolling back key targets. 

Fly-in participants will also speak with their elected officials about the ongoing lack of railroad service for grains in the upper Midwest.  “The inability for farmers in the upper Midwest to secure railroad passage for their commodities is simply unacceptable,” said Johnson.

Johnson noted that also of concern to the participants were ongoing trade issues that could have a major downside for America’s small family farms, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  “If our past trade agreements had been negotiated fairly and with the appropriate goals, we wouldn’t have the gross trade imbalance that we’re seeing today,” said Johnson.  “And we can’t allow our nation to enter another major trade agreement unless the issue of currency manipulation to gain an unfair advantage on American farmers is on the table,” he noted.

NFU’s Fall Legislative Fly-In meetings and events will be held Sept. 8 to 10. For more information about Fly-In events, visit www.NFU.org.

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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