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NFU Bestows Highest Honor at Convention PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 10, 2014

Contact: Brittany Jablonsky, 701-690-0000
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SANTA FE, N.M. (March 10, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) honored Stan Brown, Don Davis and Dallas Tonsager with the award for Meritorious Service to Farmers Union and American Agriculture during its 112th Anniversary Convention this week.

“The three gentlemen honored this year exhibit sincere dedication to Farmers Union and family agriculture in this country,” said NFU President Roger Johnson.

“Stan Brown dedicated 43 years of his career to Farmers Union insurance, including 14 years as general manager of the Midwest Agency,” said Johnson. “Under his leadership, we saw great business success and built invaluable relationships. We are truly grateful for his loyalty to our organization.”

“Don Davis has held numerous leadership positions with several Farmers Union organizations, most recently returning as CEO of Farmers Union Industries. Under Don’s leadership Farmers Union Industries has grown from $49 million in sales to $185 million in sales,” said Johnson. “Through Don’s leadership, the ability of five state farmers union organizations to secure a strong and consistent financial base has been achieved. He has consistently demonstrated his knowledge and commitment to empowering farmers in ways that improve producer income and be engaged in a competitive marketplace.”

“Dallas Tonsager has 35 years of agricultural, business, cooperative and financial experience through his work as a farmer, businessman and community, state and national leader,” said Johnson. “He served two terms as South Dakota Farmers Union president, held several leadership positions in the industry, and retired after holding the position of U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development. Tonsager committed his tenure as under secretary to making the Rural Energy Assistance Program (REAP) a nationwide program instead of being concentrated in the Midwest.”

Meritorious Service Awards honor those who have made particularly noteworthy contributions to agriculture, humanity and Farmers Union. This honor is the highest award the NFU Board of Directors can bestow upon an individual.

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 Hosts Rocky Mountain Ag Commissioners on Panel PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 10, 2014

Contact: Brittany Jablonsky, 701-690-0000
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SANTA FE, N.M. (March 10, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson moderated a panel today at NFU’s 112th Anniversary Convention on agriculture issues in the Rocky Mountain states. The panelists included Colorado Agriculture Commissioner John Salazar, New Mexico Director/Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte, and Wyoming Director of Agriculture Jason Fearneyhough.
 
“As a former agriculture commissioner, I appreciate the issues these gentlemen addressed, from managing extremes in water resources, to endangered species designations, to helping consumers understand the difficulties of agriculture production and working across the political aisle to enact favorable policies,” said Johnson.
 
The panelists also discussed their efforts to work with other federal, state and local officials to ensure these agencies recognize the realities of farming and ranching while writing regulations that affect agricultural production.
 
“Today’s panel was informative for our members from across the country, while also reminding us that family farmers and ranchers are all facing similar challenges – regardless of geographical location,” said Johnson. “It was an honor to be joined by each of these state agriculture officials.”
 
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 Delegates Re-Elect Johnson, Elect Teske Vice President PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 10, 2014

Contact: Brittany Jablonsky, 701-690-0000
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SANTA FE, N.M. (March 10, 2014) – Delegates at the National Farmers Union (NFU) 112th Anniversary Convention re-elected Roger Johnson president of the organization and Donn Teske, Kansas Farmers Union president, NFU vice president.

“I am grateful that the membership will allow me to serve for two more years,” said Johnson. “I am honored to lead this organization and am looking forward to working with Donn to continue the time-honored traditions of Farmers Union.”

Johnson is NFU’s 14th president, a position he has held since 2009. Johnson hails from a family farm near Turtle Lake, N.D., and grew up as an active member of Farmers Union. Prior to his post at Farmers Union, he was the North Dakota Commissioner of Agriculture.

“I am so humbled by the faith and trust the delegates have shown by electing me vice president,” said Teske. “ I’ll do my best to help President Johnson move the organization forward under the direction of the grassroots policy formed here today.

Teske was elected from a field of three candidates, and replaces former NFU Vice President Claudia Svarstad, who did not seek re-election.

Teske has served as Kansas Farmers Union president since 2000 and is a fifth generation farmer in northeast Kansas.

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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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Delivers NFU Convention Keynote Address PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 10, 2014

Contact: Brittany Jablonsky, 701-690-0000
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SANTA FE, N.M. (March 10, 2014) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack addressed attendees of the National Farmers Union’s (NFU) 112th anniversary convention this morning, highlighting the important contributions family farmers and ranchers make to our country’s food, energy, economic, environmental and national security. His keynote remarks on implementation of the 2014 Farm Bill set the tone for the afternoon’s upcoming policy discussion.

“For more than two years the secretary has been almost singularly focused on getting a new, comprehensive, five-year farm bill through a dysfunctional Congress to provide certainty for family farmers, ranchers and the food insecure. It is refreshing to hear him instead be able to celebrate our hard-fought farm bill victories in a forward-looking address,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “I appreciate Secretary Vilsack’s efforts to put forward all resources possible to quickly roll out the commodity programs even though we are in the midst of the 2014 crop year.”

During his remarks, the Secretary announced new and expanded efforts to connect small and mid-sized farmers and ranchers with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) resources that can help them build stronger businesses, expand to reach new and larger markets, and grow their operations.

“The recent Census of Agriculture shows that there is tremendous growth potential for small and mid-sized producers in the American agricultural landscape,” said Vilsack. “USDA is taking a hard look at our existing resources to ensure that they work for producers of all sizes. We’ve adjusted policies, strengthened programs and intensified outreach to meet the needs of small and mid-sized producers. These producers are critical to our country’s agricultural and economic future.”

“The administration’s efforts to reinvigorate family farmers in the shrinking middle will provide valuable resources to the family farmers and ranchers who most need education, credit and technical assistance and build the future of the rural economy,” said Johnson.

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 Members Hear from Farm Bill Insiders 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) – Attendees of National Farmers Union‘s (NFU) annual convention heard today from a panel of congressional, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and media experts on the 2014 Farm Bill.

Bart Fischer, chief economist, House Committee on Agriculture; Joe Shultz, chief economist, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; and Alexis Taylor, chief of staff, USDA Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, described the farm bill conference process from their respective viewpoints. Sara Wyant, president, Agri-Pulse Communications, moderated the panel.

The panelists discussed the compromises farm bill conference committee members made when negotiating the differences between the House of Representatives and Senate versions of the bill, particularly on commodity programs, Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL), crop insurance, payment limitations, changes to base acres allocations, and the new dairy program.

Panelists focused on the new commodity programs, the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs, as well as enhanced risk management tools, including the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) and improved options for non-insured crops and beginning farmers. Emphasis was also placed on the importance coalition-building efforts played in farm bill passage.

Taylor discussed the long-term implementation timeline, with emphasis on timely enactment of the livestock disaster programs, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack's top priority. USDA also plans to hold listening sessions in Washington, D.C., and across the country to ensure farmers and ranchers have the opportunity to provide input on program implementation.

When posed with a question on COOL, the panelists each said they would be watching the World Trade Organization’s decision closely.

“This panel was a great opportunity for our members to hear firsthand from those responsible for all aspects of the ‘behind-the-scenes’ farm bill process: both writing and implementing the legislation,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “The information the panelists presented will help our members prepare for the difficult and complex commodity program and risk management decisions they will be making in the coming year.”

For more information on 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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