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NFU, Illinois Farmers Union Announce Strong Support for Chicago Ordinance Offering E15 at Self- Service Pumps PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 28, 2014

Contact: David Thews, 202-554-1600
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WASHINGTON (July 28, 2014) – National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson and Illinois Farmers Union President Norbert Brauer today underscored their organization’s strong support for the proposed Chicago City Ordinance offering E-15 fuel to area self-service gas station customers. 

By blending 15 percent ethanol with 85 percent gasoline, Chicago consumers, the environment, Illinois farmers and workers employed by state ethanol producers would all benefit, they explained.

“This proposal offers consumers a choice at the pump, which will lead to numerous health and environmental benefits,” Johnson and Brauer wrote in a letter to the resolution’s co-sponsors, Alderman Edward M. Burke, chairman of the City Council’s Finance Committee, and Alderman Anthony Beale.

They pointed out that offering consumers E15 at the pump would improve the quality of the city’s air and boost the local economy. 

“Importantly, increasing the amount of ethanol in fuel will reduce pollution and carcinogens in the air,” the letter noted, adding, “the ethanol industry is very important to the Illinois economy and Illinois is the third-largest producer of ethanol in the nation.”

Illinois’ ethanol industry supports 73,156 jobs and creates $17.5 billion in economic activity annually.  

The resolution was introduced after a survey of local gas prices across the nation revealed that the Chicago area had the highest average prices, at $4.15 a gallon.  The resolution is currently under consideration by the city’s Finance Committee.

The letter in its entirety can be found here

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 Asks EPA for Clarity on Key Points Under WOTUS Rule PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 17, 2014

Contact: David Thews, 202-554-1600
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WASHINGTON (July 17, 2014) – In a letter sent today to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy, National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson asked for more information about which bodies of water would be deemed jurisdictional under the proposed Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.

The letter was a follow-up to a conference call held this week between the Administrator and members of the NFU board of directors, which consists of Farmers Union state and regional presidents.

“During our call, a number of questions were raised by NFU board members,” Johnson wrote. “The board asked for clarity surrounding some of the definitions in the proposed rule. The general sense was that the proposed rule has created less clarity, not more as intended.”

Johnson acknowledged that it is not always possible for EPA to make definitive determinations for all bodies of water at this point, but stressed that more information must be made available to rural America to alleviate confusion and resentment. Johnson also mentioned that EPA’s reputation was damaged in farm country with the proposed reductions in the Renewable Fuel Standard, which likely led to a more negative reaction to the WOTUS proposed rule.

In the letter, NFU asked EPA to provide a map with estimates of which bodies of water will be considered jurisdictional to EPA’s regulation. Questions were also posed about wetlands in the Prairie Pothole region, coordination with state agencies and the treatment of unconnected bodies of water that are seasonal.

During the conference call, NFU thanked the EPA for listening to the concerns of farmers and ranchers and for its efforts to educate and clear up misinformation about WOTUS. NFU is currently preparing formal comments about the proposed rule and hopes to have answers from EPA soon to ensure its comments are as informed as possible.

A full version of today’s letter is attached.

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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Equal Access to Broadcast Television Key to Rural America PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 17, 2014

Contact: David Thews, 202-554-1600
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NFU Backs Senate’s ‘Clean Reauthorization’ of STELA Bill

WASHINGTON (July 17, 2014) – Doug Sombke, president of South Dakota Farmers Union, visited Capitol Hill last week to urge lawmakers to act on pending legislation that will ensure rural Americans maintain access to their local broadcast television stations.

“Broadcast television is a key tool for rural Americans to obtain local news, weather and market data and emergency broadcast alerts,” said Sombke, who also chairs the National Farmers Union Legislative Committee. “Discriminating against some customers just because they live in smaller markets is wrong.”

Specifically, Sombke met with Sen. John Thune, S.D.-R, and asked him to support the Senate Judiciary Committee version of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA), which was recently introduced by Chairman Patrick Leahy, Vt.-D, and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley, Iowa-R. 

That bill, he said, was a “clean reauthorization without the special-interest add-ons that some cable and satellite companies are seeking.” 

The STELA law, which allows satellite providers to provide broadcast stations from outside the local market in limited circumstances, should be reauthorized before expiring at the end of the year. But some pay-TV providers are lobbying to add harmful language that would make it easier to raise consumer prices and make local broadcast channels more difficult to access.

If these changes were to become law, Sombke said many rural television markets would suffer from reduced revenue, ultimately leaving fewer options for rural customers.

For example, if a rural area broadcaster couldn’t afford to stay in business, its local viewers might only have access to large broadcasters that operate in far-away states or big cities, which would not provide the local news, weather and emergency alerts important to local communities.

“Senator Thune and many rural lawmakers are very aware of the situation and are sympathetic to the difficult position a STELA with stripped-down consumer protections could cause their constituents in rural America,” Sombke added.  “We thank them for their support.”

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 Union Leader Appointed Special Ambassador of International Year of Family Farming PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 15, 2014

Contact: David Thews, 202-554-1600
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Farmers Union Leader Appointed Special Ambassador of International Year of Family Farming

ROME, Italy (July 15, 2014) – Robert L. Carlson, former president of the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO), has been appointed United Nations (UN) Special Ambassador of the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF). His appointment was made by José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome earlier today.

“I am truly honored to accept this position,” said Carlson. “I will do my best to represent family farmers and ranchers throughout the world. I think it’s very important for people to recognize the significant contributions that agriculture makes on our global economy.”

Carlson accepted the appointment during a special video conference. Participants in the ceremony included José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General; H.E. Peter McGovern, Ambassador of Canada to Italy; David J. Lane, US Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies in Rome; Marcela Villarreal, Director, Office for Partnerships, Advocacy and Capacity Development (OPC), FAO; and Francesco Pierri, Family Farming Officer, Advocacy Unit of OPC, FAO.

Carlson brings a wealth of farming knowledge and diplomatic experience to the post. He served as the first president of the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO) from September 2011 to March 2014. He currently serves as vice president of international relations for National Farmers Union (NFU) in the United States.

NFU President Roger Johnson commented, “We are so pleased that Robert has been appointed to this position. He has been a long-time advocate for family farmers and ranchers, and will be a great champion for the agricultural industry. We look forward to his involvement with the U.S. national committee on IYFF, for which NFU is the chair organization.”

Carlson’s international diplomatic experience is extensive. He has represented family farming issues at world food summits as well as international agricultural conferences on climate change and food security. He has participated in United Nations high-level meetings, World Trade Organization talks and the World Economic Forum. Carlson is committed to the future of family farming as an economic and social base for rural society, the nation, and the world.

As a native of North Dakota, Carlson served as president of North Dakota Farmers Union from 1997 to 2012, and as the organization’s vice president from 1987 to 1997. Much of his life has been devoted to family farming issues - as a farmer and as an advocate for family farmers. Carlson worked with his father growing up on their North Dakota farm, homesteaded by his grandfather in 1900. He raised his own sons farming that same land, now owned and operated by two generations who grow grain and raise cattle. As active members of Farmers Union, the Carlsons consider farming to be the greatest occupation in the world and support many state cooperatives.

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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More about the International Year of Family Farming Special Ambassadors at http://www.fao.org/family-farming-2014/home/special-ambassadors/en/.

More information about the U.S. National Committee at www.YearofFamilyFarming.com

 

For further information contact:
Press Office
World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO) | Organizzazione Mondiale degli Agricoltori (OMA)
Via del Tritone, 102 - 00187 Rome, Italy

Tel: +39 06 4274 1158 | Fax: +39 06 4200 075
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Web: http://www.wfo-oma.com

 
NFU President Urges Congress, EPA to Stay Course on RFS PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 8, 2014

Contact: David Thews, 202-554-1600
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WASHINGTON (July 8, 2014) –National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson spoke today at a briefing at the U.S. House of Representatives on the importance of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The briefing was hosted by Fuels America in cooperation with Reps. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, and Lee Terry, R-Neb.

“It is crucial that Congress not change the RFS and for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to improve the 2014 RFS targets in order to provide certainty for farmers and the ethanol industry,” said Johnson.

“EPA was originally going to finalize its 2014 Renewable Volume Obligation in June, but is now moving the date until September,” Johnson continued. “NFU has strongly encouraged EPA to fix its flawed proposal. EPA needs to begin to align itself with rural America. It will be difficult to build trust in the countryside if EPA does not greatly improve the 2014 RFS targets.”

“The RFS drives economic growth in rural America and supports around 300,000 direct jobs nationwide,” said Johnson. “A stable RFS will help to develop the next generation of biofuels and provide new market opportunities for farmers, while simultaneously providing significant climate, environmental and national security benefits.”

Other panelists included Brooke Coleman, executive director, Advanced Ethanol Council; Doug Bervin, vice president of corporate affairs, POET; Josh Nasser, legislative director, United Auto Workers; and Geoff Cooper, senior vice president, Renewable Fuels Association.

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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