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Current NFU News
NFU Cautiously Optimistic Following Omnibus Spending Bill Passage PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 17, 2014

Contact: Melisa Augusto, 202-314-3191
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WASHINGTON (Jan. 17, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson expressed cautious optimism after the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives’ passage of the $1.1 trillion spending bill that will keep the federal government running through September.

“It isn’t all too often that Congress passes bipartisan legislation. Let’s hope this spirit of cooperation continues through to the farm bill,” said Johnson. “We are pleased by the activity, even though the omnibus bill – and its accompanying report language – is far from perfect. While the bill includes much-needed funding increases for rural development programs, it also makes detrimental cuts to the Women, Infants, and Children Program, and appropriations for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission fall short of the agency’s needs.”

The bill includes nonbinding report language that is critical of Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL).

“It is a sign of desperation when packers, processors, and our foreign competitors go as far as including misleading rhetoric and scare tactics in the omnibus report language, in order to try to deny consumers the right to know the origins of their food,” said Johnson. “We urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture to stand firm in supporting COOL and to dismiss this nonbinding resolution.”

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 Women’s Conference Provides Skills, Guidance to Participants PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 14, 2014

Contact: Melisa Augusto, 202-314-3191
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CLEARWATER BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 14, 2014) – National Farmers Union’s (NFU) 2014 Women’s Conference will conclude today in Clearwater Beach, Fla. This conference for farm and rural women is based on the well-respected Annie's Project education program. The event was held Jan. 11-14, 2014, and provided participants with tools and information to confidently manage risks in their farm or ranch operations and develop leadership skills. 

"Family farm operations are more successful when each person in the management team better understands strategic planning, business analysis, family dynamics, and transferring operations from one generation to the next," said NFU President Roger Johnson. "This conference builds on our experience in proving adult education classes specifically designed for women in agriculture."

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Krysta Harden was a keynote speaker at the event. A variety of trained instructors will taught family farm finances, budgeting and cash flow, cooperatives, marketing, farm transfer and estate planning, business planning, leadership assessment and skills, generational issues, and action planning. Attendees learned about skills for women leading in agriculture and have peer-to-peer networking opportunities.  

Annie's Project also helps women find new ways to balance the demands of family, community and professionalism within the agricultural community. The conference was sponsored by Farm Credit, American Farmland Trust, CoBank, 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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NFU Opposed to Proposed Fast-Track Trade Authority PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 13, 2014

Contact: Melisa Augusto, 202-314-3191
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WASHINGTON (Jan. 13, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson voiced opposition today to a bill, introduced last week by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., that would allow trade agreements to move through Congress with limited debate and without amendments.

“We oppose fast-track negotiating authority for the president,” said Johnson. “Trade agreements must be a fair deal for all parties – farmers, workers, and consumers, both in the United States and abroad. Previous trade deals haven’t lived up to this standard, so Congress should have full opportunity to review and amend provisions of a trade agreement, consistent with the U.S. Constitution.”

If passed by Congress, the Baucus-Camp bill would grant the president the authority to negotiate all terms of trade deals and would pave the way for a fast conclusion and approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, without substantial Congressional oversight.

“It is imperative for our negotiators to focus on the huge U.S. trade deficit,” said Johnson. “Just increasing exports, while increasing imports at even faster rates, is a recipe for continued and even larger trade deficits, which have a negative effect on U.S. growth, jobs and our standard of living. Currency manipulation must be effectively dealt with, or any minor advantages gained in other parts of the agreements can be easily and rapidly outweighed by manipulated currency values.”

“In order to ensure these important matters are considered, Congress must have a real say in the process,” Johnson continued. “I urge lawmakers to join with NFU and continue to speak up in opposition to fast-track authority.”

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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COOL Arguments Heard in Court PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 9, 2014

Contact: Melisa Augusto, 202-554-1600
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WASHINGTON (Jan. 9, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement following the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit hearing arguments in the ongoing Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) lawsuit in which NFU is an intervener:

"Today's argument presents to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit the question of whether the U.S. District Court's denial of the preliminary injunction on the implementation of the May 2013 revised regulations on COOL on meat products should be upheld. The May decision was a victory for supporters of COOL. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) new COOL rules brought the United States into compliance with the World Trade Organization.

"This case is about the ability of consumers to make informed decisions on their purchases of meat products. At a time when consumers are asking for more information about the origins and content of their food, it is important that the court uphold its original decision. The USDA revised regulations provide consumers more information and should reduce confusion for consumers at retail.

"While the packer-producer groups and foreign competitors have sought to limit the consumer's ability to know the origins of their food, NFU and our allies strongly supported the government position that a preliminary injunction wasn't appropriate.

"We are hopeful that the D.C. Circuit's decision will uphold the district court's denial of the preliminary injunction."

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 Disappointed in EPA’s Proposed 2014 RFS Targets PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 7, 2014

Contact: Melisa Augusto, 202-314-3191
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WASHINGTON (Jan. 7, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today expressing deep concern with EPA’s proposed 2014 volumes for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). EPA’s proposal reduces overall volumes by 16 percent. This is the first time in the program’s history that EPA has reduced overall targets.

“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,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “The RFS is a principle driver of the cellulosic and advanced biofuels industry. This proposal would strand billions of dollars of investment in the next generation of biofuels and send those investment dollars overseas.”

“The ethanol industry supports nearly 400,000 jobs nationwide. If the current proposal is finalized, it will reduce farm income and damage rural economies,” Johnson continued. “EPA wrongly justified its action based on the so-called ‘blend wall.’ This is a creation of the oil industry in order to protect its market share. EPA needs to stand up to Big Oil and support an American-produced, environmentally responsible alternative.”

Under section 211(o) of the Clean Air Act, the EPA is required to set the renewable fuel targets for the following year.

Click here to view NFU’s comments.

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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