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Current NFU News
Family Farming Builds Tomorrow’s Rural Leaders PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 13, 2014

Contact: David Thews, 202-554-1600
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WASHINGTON (June 13, 2014) – In celebration of the United Nations’ 2014 International Year of Family Farming (IYFF), this month National Farmers Union (NFU) is highlighting the link between family farming and developing the next generation of rural leaders.

“NFU has a long history of growing the next generation of family farm advocates and leaders in their rural communities,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “Our education programs place emphasis on leadership development, community engagement, and citizenship for members of all ages. Farmers Union members and participants in our youth programs have gone on to become innovative family farmers and ranchers, thought-leaders in agriculture, and elected officials from the local to the international level.”

This month, NFU will be highlighting outstanding young leaders in the organization and their contributions to their rural communities. In the developing world, empowering smallholder farmers, particularly women, to take on leadership roles within their communities, farmer-owned cooperatives and farm organizations can help them more effectively advocate for policies and practices that improve food security and reduce poverty.

“As we continue to celebrate IYFF and the work family farmers around the world are doing to feed, clothe and fuel the world, we encourage everyone to join our efforts, get involved locally and join Farmers Union,” said Johnson.

For more information about NFU’s education and leadership development programs, please visit 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 Urges DOJ to Block Tyson’s Buyout of Hillshire PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 10, 2014

Contact: David Thews, 202-554-1600
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WASHINGTON (June 10, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement in response to reports that Tyson Foods won a bidding war to acquire Hillshire Brands:

“Tyson Food’s likely purchase of Hillshire benefits corporate owners at the expense of farmers and consumers. Our country is worse off because of the increasingly consolidated food and agriculture marketplace. Farmers and ranchers will have fewer buyers and Tyson will be better able to dictate lower prices paid to producers. Closures of meatpacking and processing facilities, especially in areas where both Tyson and Hillshire are currently operating, will be all but assured.

“We’re already well on our way to having one giant food company and this purchase would send us farther down that path.

“It’s striking that last week marked 100 years since the enactment of the Clayton Act, which was designed to prohibit anti-competitive mergers and ensure a fair marketplace. On behalf of family farmers and ranchers, I urge the Department of Justice enforce existing anti-trust laws and halt this planned acquisition. NFU will continue to fight against this and other mergers that will stack the deck further in favor of the powerful, multi-national food companies.”

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 Announces Beginning Farmer Institute Participants PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 9, 2014

Contact: Brittany Jablonsky, 202-314-3108
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WASHINGTON (June 9, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) announced the 15 participants selected for the fourth class of its Beginning Farmer Institute. Those selected for the next class are 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 and Thomas Clark 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 Beginning Farmer Institute underscores our commitment to growing a new generation of family agriculture,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “The program helps answer questions new farmers have. It also allows us to share our expertise to answer questions that people might not think of asking when they begin farming.”

Institute participants will meet several times over the next year to learn about financial planning, farm management and farmer-owned cooperatives. In addition, they will help determine the agenda based on what they have identified as important to their operation. Topics include marketing, understanding U.S. Department of Agriculture programs, renewable energy, recording keeping, farm transitioning and understanding the local food system.

“Farming is both a profession and a way of life, and it demands a lot from people,” said Johnson. “Farmers are entrepreneurs, conservationists, mechanics and managers, and they have to do all of these things well in order to operate a farm around the clock, month after month, year after year. They grow our nation’s food, feed, fuel and fiber from the ground up.”

The selected individuals from across the nation range from cattle ranchers and grain farmers to those growing for farmers markets to urban farmers. The program is sponsored in part by Farm Credit, CHS Foundation, FUI Foundation and the NFU Foundation.

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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USDA Announces Conservation Programs that Benefit Beginning Farmers PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 5, 2014

Contact: Brittany Jablonsky, 202-314-3108
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WASHINGTON (June 5, 2014) – Yesterday U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced the beginning of a sign-up period for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and implementation of the Transition Incentives Program (TIP):

“I applaud the administration’s efforts to protect vulnerable agricultural land for the benefit of future generations of farmers,” said National Farmers Union (NFU) Senior Vice President of Programs Chandler Goule. “Yesterday's announcement not only benefits the environment, but also encourages new and beginning farmers to get started in agriculture." 

Instead of holding a general CRP sign-up period in 2014, Secretary Vilsack announced USDA will accept continuous sign-ups beginning June 9. Under the continuous sign-up, producers with CRP contracts ending in 2014 will have the option to extend their contracts for an additional year. 

In addition to the CRP announcement, USDA will encourage retiring farmers to transfer a portion of their CRP land to beginning, disadvantaged or veteran farmers through the Transition Incentives Program (TIP). Retiring farmers who transition their land would receive two additional years of CRP payments.

“CRP and TIP are hugely valuable programs that protect natural resources and encourage new and beginning farmers. It is a shame that the House Appropriations Committee made cuts to key conservation programs,” said Goule. “Appropriators should leave farm bill programs alone. I urge Congress to restore funding for these important initiatives as the appropriations process continues.” 

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 Clean Power Plan Proposal PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 2, 2014

Contact: Brittany Jablonsky, 202-314-3108
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WASHINGTON (June 2, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan proposal to cut carbon pollution 30 percent by 2030:

“The changing climate has already begun to affect agriculture, and it is clear that weather volatility will only continue to increase in the coming years unless our policymakers proactively address this challenge. I commend the administration for its leadership on climate change mitigation.

“Agriculture stands ready to be an important part of the solution to our climate challenges. I encourage Congress and the administration to engage the agricultural community in reducing carbon pollution by creating voluntary incentives for sequestering carbon and implementing conservation strategies that preserve our limited soil and water resources.

“The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is currently the most important policy we have to address climate change. I hope EPA reinforces today’s announcement by withdrawing its misguided proposal to undermine the RFS, returning the 2014 biofuels target to its statutory levels.

“I also urge EPA to recognize that rural electric cooperatives serve our nation’s farmers and ranchers and are a significant source of rural employment. Co-ops provide power to 42 million Americans and account for 12 percent of total U.S. electricity sales. Any regulatory action must consider the impact on rural electrics and the communities they serve.” 

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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