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NFU Grassroots Policy Discussions Begin in Washington PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 27, 2014

Contact: Melisa Augusto, 202-314-3191
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WASHINGTON (Jan. 27, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) commenced its grassroots policy revision process this week with the 2014 policy committee in Washington, D.C. This year’s committee is comprised of Tim Velde (chairman) of Minnesota, Tom Coudron of Missouri, William Downs of Montana, Vern Jantzen of Nebraska, Joel Keierleber of South Dakota, Kim Klose of North Dakota, Aaron Heley Lehman of Iowa, Harvey Schroeder of Oklahoma, and Tom Wingfield of Rocky Mountain. The committee members are all outstanding leaders in their state/regional Farmers Union organizations and were nominated by their respective state’s president to serve on the committee.

“NFU is proud of its grassroots process for policy formation, and the policy committee is vital to carrying out that tradition,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “The committee is tasked with reviewing our current policies and offering changes and additions for the delegates to vote on at our upcoming convention. This policy is what we will advocate for during the course of the next year.”

The committee will hear from Brian Baenig, chief of staff, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); Sarah Bittleman, senior agricultural counselor, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); and Doug McKalip, senior policy advisor for rural affairs, White House Domestic Policy Council, to ensure they have a broad working knowledge of current legislative and regulatory issues as they revise NFU’s organizational policy.

“The committee is here working just as the Farm Bill Conference Committee is hopefully wrapping up its negotiations,” said Johnson. “We hope that this week will prove to be productive in concluding a farm bill right alongside our ending the first phase of our policy process.”

This week is the first part of a two-step process. The second part of the process will take place in March during NFU’s convention. During the convention, any Farmers Union member may propose changes to the policy. The committee then considers those proposals and submits a final copy of the suggested policy to the state delegates at the convention for consideration and adoption. NFU’s 112th Anniversary Convention will take place on March 8 -11, in Santa Fe, N.M. Visit www.nfu.org/convention for more details.

Click here to view a picture of the 2014 NFU Policy Committee.

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 Grassroots Policy Discussions Begin in Washington

 
Packers and Processors Attempt to Hold Farm Bill Hostage PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 27, 2014

Contact: Melisa Augusto, 202-314-3191
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WASHINGTON (Jan. 27, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement in response to a letter from the meatpacking industry sent today to Congress. The letter calls for Congress to gut the Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) law. It also proposes to dismantle protections for producers under the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA). Finally, the letter threatens to oppose the farm bill unless its demands are met:

“NFU strongly disagrees with this letter and supports the livestock provisions in the emerging farm bill, which are beneficial to family farmers and ranchers. The groups that signed the letter do not represent farmers and ranchers. They represent the vertically integrated packers, and they clearly do not have the interests of family farmers and ranchers in mind.

“The farm bill conference includes several strong positives for livestock. Permanent baseline funding for livestock programs is part of the bill, including nearly $5 billion in disaster funds. The Livestock Forage Program is also set to be improved in this farm bill, as are the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and various livestock health initiatives.

“It is especially outrageous that on COOL, the outcome these organizations seek was not the subject of a single hearing in either the Senate or the House; it was not even proposed as an amendment on the floor of either chamber, nor was it debated in either committee. And they want to do this despite the fact that more than 90 percent of consumers want to know more about where their food comes from.

“I ask the conferees and all members of Congress to listen to the voices of family farmers, ranchers and consumers, and to support a conference committee report that makes improvements to livestock programs and stays strong on COOL and GIPSA. It is time to get this farm bill done.”

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 Applauds RFS Support from Congress PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 23, 2014

Contact: Melisa Augusto, 202-314-3191
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WASHINGTON (Jan. 23, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement in praise of the two letters 61 members of Congress signed and sent to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today in support of EPA changing its proposed 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumes released late last year:

“NFU is grateful for the leadership shown by the members of Congress who sent this letter to EPA. The RFS is a principle driver of the cellulosic and advanced biofuels industry. EPA’s proposal is a big step backward in the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, ending our reliance on foreign oil, and giving consumers a choice at the pump.

“The ethanol industry supports nearly 400,000 jobs nationwide. If the current proposal is finalized, it will reduce farm income and damage rural economies.

“I hope that EPA hears the message loud and clear that their proposal is not the right direction to take our country. NFU will continue to work with EPA and members of Congress on support for the RFS.”

Click here to view the Senate letter on Renewable Fuel Standards

Click here to view the House letter on Renewable Fuel Standards

(Links Courtesy of The Hagstrom Report)

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 Represents United States at Meeting of World Rural Forum PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 23, 2014

Contact: Melisa Augusto, 202-314-3191
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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (Jan. 23, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) Vice President of Government Relations Chandler Goule represented NFU at a meeting of the World Rural Forum on the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) during the International Water Summit in Abu Dhabi this week.

“It was profound, no matter which country was presenting, that we all face very similar barriers -- inequality between genders, land ownership disputes, and difficulty attracting young farmers and ranchers, to mention a few,” said Goule.

The meeting included 30 participants from five continents. Attendees worked on a paper that will be submitted to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) for use during IYFF. The paper will address issues like food security, land ownership laws, government budget items for agriculture, gender equality, and ways to attract young and beginning farmers and ranchers.

“It was an honor to represent NFU and to be the only person from the United States attending the meeting,” said Goule. “Working together we can overcome these barriers and help more countries become food secure. This is the true goal of the International Year of Family Farming.”

NFU is the chair of the U.S. national committee for IYFF. You can find information on the committee at www.YearofFamilyFarming.com.

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 Reiterates Farm Bill Priorities, Urges No Changes to COOL PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 22, 2014

Contact: Melisa Augusto, 202-314-3191
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WASHINGTON (Jan. 22, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson sent a letter today to the members of the farm bill conference committee emphasizing the importance of finishing a five-year, comprehensive farm bill as soon as possible.

“It is time to move the farm bill across the finish line,” said Johnson. “Family farmers, ranchers, fishermen, rural communities and consumers have waited long enough for a long-term plan. We are hopeful that the process is nearing an end.”

NFU is especially concerned by attempts to repeal or undermine Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL), which provides valuable information to consumers.

“If any harmful changes to COOL are included in the farm bill, it could very likely affect NFU’s ability to support the entire farm bill,” said Johnson. “Farmers, ranchers, producers and consumers strongly support COOL and I urge Congress to defend the current law.”  

The letter outlined additional key priorities such as support for establishing fixed reference prices for commodity programs, enacting a price stabilization tool as part of the dairy safety net, providing $900 million in mandatory funding for renewable energy programs, including adequate funding levels for the Farmers Market and Local Foods Promotion Program, and maintaining farm bill permanent law to provide Congress the impetus to update and review farm policy periodically.

“There are many important policies and programs in the farm bill that have been debated and amended at length,” said Johnson. “It’s time to seal the deal. I urge the conference committee to take swift action so that we can ensure certainty for all Americans as soon as possible.”

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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Click here to view today's letter

Click here to view NFU's priorities

 
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