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Current NFU News
NFU Applauds Appellate Court’s Decision Not to Enjoin COOL Labels PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 28, 2014

Contact: Brittany Jablonsky, 202-314-3108
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WASHINGTON (March 28, 2014) – Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied plaintiffs’ appeal of a denial of their request for a preliminary injunction. The preliminary injunction would prevent revised Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) regulations from remaining in effect while the plaintiffs’ lawsuit challenging the COOL regulations proceeds. Today’s ruling affirms a Sept. 11, 2013, decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that also denied the request for a preliminary injunction. As a result of today’s decision, the revised COOL regulations will remain in place while the case is pending.

“I am extremely pleased with today’s decision,” said Roger Johnson, National Farmers Union (NFU) president. “Yet again, claims that the revised COOL regulations are unconstitutional or inconsistent with the COOL statute have been rejected in federal court.”

“Today’s decision notes that COOL advances legitimate values, including consumer information and consumer choice. The Court of Appeals also explained that COOL labels can be seen as a sign that retailers ‘take pride in identifying the source of their products.’ NFU’s family farmer- and rancher-members certainly take pride in the products they produce, and I am glad that consumers will be able to continue to identify their products at retail as a result of today’s decision.”

Today’s decision is the latest setback for plaintiffs who filed the case in an effort to have the revised COOL regulations invalidated. The case was filed on July 8, 2013, by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, American Meat Institute, Canadian Cattlemen's Association, Canadian Pork Council, North American Meat Association, American Association of Meat Processors, National Pork Producers Council, Southwest Meat Association and Mexico’s National Confederation of Livestock Organizations.

NFU, together with the United States Cattlemen’s Association, the American Sheep Industry Association and the Consumer Federation of America, intervened to defend the COOL regulations from challenge, and they actively participated in a briefing at the District Court and the Court of Appeals, as well as the preliminary injunction hearing at the District Court.

Johnson is currently in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at the World Farmers Organization’s fourth general assembly, where many of the speakers have discussed the need for farmers to connect more directly with consumers and be more transparent to enhance consumer confidence.

“I note that plaintiffs may seek to have today’s decision reheard by the full Court of Appeals. If they do so, NFU will continue to defend COOL on behalf of our members,” said Johnson. “In the meantime, producers and consumers will continue to benefit from improved origin information as the revised COOL regulations remain in effect.”

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 EPA's Proposed Clean Water Act Rule PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 25, 2014

Contact: Brittany Jablonsky, 202-314-3108
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WASHINGTON (March 25, 2014) – Chandler Goule, National Farmers Union (NFU) senior vice president of programs, issued the following statement on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule regarding provisions of the Clean Water Act:

“NFU has long advocated for increased certainty surrounding Clean Water Act requirements for family farmers and ranchers in the wake of complicating Supreme Court decisions. Today’s draft rule clarifies Clean Water Act jurisdiction, maintains existing agricultural exemptions and adds new exemptions, and encourages enrollment in U.S. Department of Agriculture conservation programs.

“In addition, farmers and ranchers who are voluntarily enacting certain conservation practices on their farms will be exempt from Clean Water Act Section 404 permitting requirements.

“Today’s ag-friendly announcement clearly indicates that NFU and other agricultural stakeholders made their voices heard, and EPA took notice. I encourage EPA to continue to rebuild trust with the agricultural community by withdrawing its proposal to reduce the Renewable Fuel Standard targets.”

Click here to read NFU’s 2013 comments on an initial draft of the proposed rule.

Click here for more information on the proposed rule.

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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Celebrate Family Farming on National Ag Day PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 25, 2014

Contact: Brittany Jablonsky, 202-314-3108
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WASHINGTON (March 25, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) is celebrating National Ag Day by highlighting the importance of family farming to food security both in the United States and around the world. The United Nations (U.N.) has declared 2014 the International Year of Family Farming

“Family farmers constitute 96 percent of all farms in the United States and 45 percent of the world’s population makes its living directly from farming. Without family farmers, there would be no National Ag Day,” said Chandler Goule, NFU senior vice president of programs. 

Delegates to the recent NFU convention passed a special order of business celebrating the International Year of Family Farming and “congratulating the world’s family farmers for their critical contributions to food security, environmental stewardship and rural economic development.”

“In spite of family farmers’ work, globally 870 million people still suffer from chronic undernourishment and a disproportionate number of them are farmers,” said Goule. “On this National Ag Day, I challenge all consumers and the agriculture community to come together to help solve our world’s food security challenges.” 

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 Improvements to FSA Farm Loan Programs PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 24, 2014

Contact: Brittany Jablonsky, 202-314-3108
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WASHINGTON (March 24, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) Senior Vice President of Programs Chandler Goule issued the following statement on U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack's recent announcement of improvements to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Farm Loan Programs:

"Throughout the 2014 Farm Bill reauthorization process, NFU advocated for common-sense reforms that would help small, beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers better access agricultural credit. I commend Secretary Vilsack for implementing these farm bill provisions, such as elimination of term limits for guaranteed operating loans, a more accurate definition of beginning farmer, and an increase in the maximum loan amount for Direct Farm Ownership down payments, in a timely manner to help support the next generation of family farmers and ranchers."

Click here to read USDA's fact sheet on the modifications.

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 Submits Testimony to House Ag Appropriations Subcommittee PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 24, 2014

Contact: Brittany Jablonsky, 202-314-3108
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WASHINGTON (March 24, 2014) – Last week National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson submitted testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Agriculture Appropriations, outlining NFU's priorities for Fiscal Year 2015 funding for agricultural programs. In his testimony, Johnson listed five main requests.

NFU opposes any legislative riders or targeted funding restrictions to limit or restrict the enforcement, legal defense or study of Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL). New COOL regulations enacted in 2013 are currently being evaluated by the World Trade Organization and the legal system, and efforts to undermine these proceedings through appropriations are unwarranted and premature. Studies have found that more than 90 percent of consumers support COOL.

"Because of appropriations riders in the last three years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has not been allowed to write rules that would provide greater fairness for livestock sellers and poultry growers in the agriculture marketplace, as directed by the 2008 Farm Bill," said Johnson. "I strongly urge the subcommittee to reject any legislative riders that would undermine the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration's authority and ignore congressional intent."

"Homegrown renewable energy helps our country reduce its carbon footprint while building the future of the rural economy," said NFU Senior Vice President of Programs Chandler Goule. "NFU requests the subcommittee fully fund Congress' substantial discretionary investments in existing energy programs through the 2014 Farm Bill to help meet our country's renewable energy goals."

Finally, NFU has two agricultural research requests, calling for the implementation of a 2008 Farm Bill directive to make conventional plant and animal breeding a priority for research grants, and fully granting the administration's request for funding for the development and release of regionally adapted, public cultivars.

"With the passage of a new, comprehensive farm bill, Congress has clearly established its agricultural priorities for the next five years," said Goule. "It is critical that appropriators not reduce funding through changes in mandatory programs for the entirety of the 2014 Farm Bill in order to achieve Congress' legislative goals."

Click here to read NFU's testimony.

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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