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NFU Recognizes Members, States for Excellence PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 9, 2014

Contact: Brittany Jablonsky, 701-690-0000
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SANTA FE, N.M. (March 9, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) recognized members, county and local organizations and state divisions for excellence in membership recruitment and outreach in the past year.

“Peer recruitment is a powerful and important part of growing and maintaining membership in our organization,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “The passion and dedication these members exude for Farmers Union is something in which we take great pride.”

Gary Wertish of Minnesota Farmers Union achieved the Silver Star Award. The Silver Star Award is the highest award a member can achieve for membership recruitment in a given year.

“Wertish has achieved this level of excellence each of the past three years,” said Johnson. “His determination and commitment to bringing new members to the organization is invaluable. We are proud of his achievement.”

Individuals also recognized for membership recruitment included Holly Finnarn of Ohio, Tom Farber of South Dakota, Ben Gotschall of Nebraska, Larry Anderson of Minnesota, and Linda Riefers of Ohio. Thirty-three county and local organizations were also recognized. North Dakota and Rocky Mountain Farmers Union were each presented with the Outstanding Leadership Achievement Award for their level of activity and outreach.

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 Convention Convenes with a Focus on Future of Family Farm Policy PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 8, 2014

Contact: Brittany Jablonsky, 701-690-0000
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SANTA FE, N.M. (March 8, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) is focused firmly on family farming and ranching’s promising future, while remaining anchored in the organization’s rich 112-year heritage, NFU President Roger Johnson told NFU convention attendees this evening.

Farmers Union has many successes to celebrate this year, with significant membership growth in key states; the passage of a new five-year farm bill that will positively impact farmers, ranchers and consumers; robust grassroots advocacy efforts across the country; and increasing participation in Farmers Union’s education programs. These victories will set the stage for continued work centered on priorities set by the membership this week in Santa Fe.

Johnson told Farmers Union members in attendance that “thanks to your hard work and tireless advocacy, we have a 2014 Farm Bill.” NFU achieved several key priorities in the bill, including safety net provisions that protect farmers from losses due to both natural disasters and price collapse; a disaster program for livestock producers; maintenance of the existing Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) law for meat, seafood and poultry; and mandatory funding for renewable energy programs.

Johnson continued to outline three major legislative challenges NFU faces in the coming year: ongoing efforts to undermine COOL, attacks on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and pending free trade agreements.

“Although we have achieved a victory in the farm bill, the COOL fight is not over,” said Johnson. “COOL is on the right side of history, but our opponents will keep looking for a back-door win in Congress and we must remain vigilant.”

“The RFS saves consumers a dollar per gallon in fuel costs while reducing our nation’s dependence on foreign sources of energy,” said Johnson. The global oil and gas industry is larger than the gross domestic product of all but three countries in the world, the United States, Japan and China, Johnson noted. The oil industry’s aggressive lobbying campaign against the RFS has resulted in an Environmental Protection Agency proposal that would slash RFS targets by 16 percent.

As the United States negotiates pending free trade agreements with Pacific nations and the EU, NFU continues to urge our negotiators to support principles that will positively impact the U.S. economy. “Although agriculture enjoys a positive trade balance, the rest of the U.S. economy suffers an enormous trade deficit, resulting in the annual loss of three to five million American jobs and a 4 percent drag on our nation’s economic performance,” said Johnson. “The inconvenient truth about U.S. trade is that we have no clear trade strategy.”

NFU will continue to meet these challenges with its time-tested advocacy and leadership. “During the 2014 Farm Bill debate, we proved that there is no match for the grassroots power of family farmers and ranchers,” said Johnson. “The strength of our organization is in our membership – it always has been, and it always will be.”

The NFU convention continues through Tuesday, March 11. For more information, visit www.nfu.org/convention, or follow @nfudc and #NFU2014 on Twitter.

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 Members Contribute $196,700 to Ending Hunger in Their Communities PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 8, 2014

Contact: Brittany Jablonsky, 701-690-0000
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SANTA FE, N.M. (March 8, 2014) – For the third year, National Farmers Union (NFU) partnered with Feeding America to raise funds and donate produce to food banks in rural communities. Farmers Union members donated $196,700 to Feeding America and its local food banks – the most money raised annually since the campaign’s inception.

“Feeding the less fortunate is not a mission family farmers and ranchers take lightly. Farmers Union members have always sought innovative solutions to food security challenges, whether in their own communities or on the other side of the world,” said NFU President Roger Johnson.

“Rural hunger doesn’t always get the same media attention as inner-city poverty, but anyone who has lived in a rural community knows that food insecurity doesn’t discriminate based on geography, and is often exacerbated by the distance and isolation of rural areas,” said Johnson. “And, globally, some of the most food-insecure families are comprised of smallholder farmers who are themselves food producers.”

Many donations were in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables, given to local food banks to provide needy families with fresh, locally grown food. In addition, many youth participating in Farmers Union education programs donated funds to the campaign, fostering a new generation of leaders dedicated to improving their communities.

NFU announced the campaign’s results at the opening of its annual convention, which runs through Tuesday. For more information about the NFU convention, visit www.nfu.org/convention, or follow @nfudc and #NFU2014 on Twitter.

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 President's FY 2015 Budget PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 4, 2014

Contact: Brittany Jablonsky, 202-314-3108
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WASHINGTON (March 4, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued a statement following the announcement of President Obama's fiscal year 2015 budget:

"The president has submitted a forward-looking budget that builds on the agricultural economy's successes while investing in innovative solutions to future challenges.

"The president's proposed Climate Resilience Fund will provide farmers and ranchers with much-needed assistance after extreme weather events, which are occurring with increasing frequency. I hope Congress follows the president's lead and takes action to comprehensively address global climate change in a way that engages and recognizes the valuable contributions the agricultural community can make to reducing our nation's carbon footprint.

"The 2012 Census of Agriculture confirmed what farmers and ranchers have known for some time: the average age of farmers continues to rise and mid-sized farms are disappearing. The proposed budget wisely invests in lending for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers to help grow the next generation of agriculture.

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture's workforce has suffered a 5 percent reduction in recent years after facing mandatory budget cuts due to sequestration and prolonged budget impasses. Given this reality, it will be difficult for farmers, ranchers and rural residents to expect the same level of local services they have enjoyed before. Sec. Vilsack and his team stretch resources as far as they can, but spending cuts have consequences.

"I look forward to continuing to work with Congress and the administration to ensure smart investments that support family farmers, ranchers and rural communities."

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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Beginning Farmer Institute Application Period Extended PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 3, 2014

Contact: Melisa Augusto, 202-314-3191
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WASHINGTON (March 3, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) has extended the application deadline for its 2014 Beginning Farmers Institute (BFI) program to April 7, 2014, due to additional sponsorships that will allow for more participants. 

The annual program, now accepting its fourth class of students, is open to individuals who are new to farming, are in the process of transferring an operation from a relative or non-relative to themselves, or are contemplating a career in farming or ranching.

"The Beginning Farmers Institute underscores NFU's commitment to growing a new generation of family agriculture," said NFU President Roger Johnson. "One unique feature of the Institute is that participants direct the agenda, allowing them to gain information on topics that will be most relevant to their particular operations. The size and diversity of the group also ensures valuable interaction and learning opportunities among the participants."

The BFI program helps students gain insight and practical skills needed by beginning farmers and ranchers, including business plan writing, financial planning, and researching available programs to help starting up and sustaining a successful operation.

Applicants accepted into the 2014 program will attend three separate education sessions. One session will be in Washington, D.C., one in Minneapolis, Minn., and a final session culminating at NFU's convention in March 2015 in Wichita, Kan. Program topics at the education sessions will include business planning, U.S. Department of Agriculture programs, tax and record keeping, estate transfer and marketing.

Interested applicants can download the 2014 application on the NFU website, as well as visit NFU's education Facebook page for updates and further information on NFU's youth and young adult education programs. Applications must be postmarked on or before April 7, 2014.

The Beginning Farmers Institute is supported by the FUI Foundation, Farm Credit, CoBank, CHS 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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