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NFU Honors 40 Outstanding Members of Congress with Golden Triangle Award PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Sept. 9, 2014)

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
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WASHINGTON (Sept. 9, 2014) – – National Farmers Union (NFU) recently announced its recipients of the Golden Triangle Award, the organization’s highest legislative honor. The annual award is presented to members of Congress who have demonstrated leadership and support policies that benefit America’s family farmers, ranchers, fishermen and rural communities.

“Recipients of the Golden Triangle Award have been strong advocates for family farmers and ranchers, and support similar principles and policies as Farmers Union,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “We are pleased to honor those who have proven to be true allies of our organization and our members across the country.”

This year’s Golden Triangle recipients were selected for their leadership on a variety of issues, including votes on the farm bill and related amendments. The awards will be presented at a reception during NFU’s Annual Legislative Fly-In this September.

The Golden Triangle Award is based on NFU’s symbol – a triangle with “legislation” and “cooperation” forming the sides and “education” the base. The Golden Triangle Awards have been presented to legislators since 1988.

List of all 2014 Golden Triangle Award Recipients:

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Wis.         Sen. Michael Bennet, Colo.          Rep. Bruce Braley, Iowa                  Sen. Sherrod Brown, Ohio         
Rep. Cheri Bustos, Ill.                Sen. Thad Cochran, Miss.            Rep. Joe Courtney, Conn.                Rep. Rodney Davis, Ill.
Sen. Joe Donnelly, Ind.              Rep. Sam Farr, Calif.                   Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick, Pa.            Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, Neb.
Sen. Al Franken, Minn.               Sen. Charles Grassley, Iowa        Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, N.M.   Sen. Martin Heinrich, N.M
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, N.D.          Sen. John Hoeven, N.D               Rep. Jared Huffman, Calif.               Sen. Tim Johnson, S.D.
Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Ohio             Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Minn.          Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, N.H.         Sen. Patrick Leahy, Vt.  
Rep. Dave Loebsack, Iowa          Rep. Frank Lucas, Okla.              Rep. Ben Ray Luján Grisham, N.M.   Sen. Jerry Moran, Kan.
Rep. Rick Nolan, Minn.               Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Calif.              Rep. Gary Peters, Mich.                   Rep. Collin Peterson, Minn.
Rep. Chellie Pingree, Maine        Rep. Mark Pocan, Wis.                 Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Mich.           Sen. Mark Udall, Colo.
Sen. Tom Udall, N.M.                 Sen. Jon Tester, Mont.                 Sen. John Walsh, Mont.                   Rep. Tim Walz, Minn.

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 Beginning Farmers Institute Holds First Session PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Sept. 8, 2014)

Contact: Andrew Jerome, (202) 314-3106
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WASHINGTON (Sept. 8, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) Beginning Farmers Institute (BFI) participants are in Washington, D.C., this week to take part in the first session of the institute. Participants will learn financial, marketing, public speaking and planning skills.

“It has become increasingly difficult for beginning farmers to succeed,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “That is why programs like BFI are so important, because they give beginning farmers an opportunity to learn important leadership and farm-management skills that benefit not only themselves, but also the communities and economies they support.”

BFI participants include 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 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 selected individuals from across the nation range from cattle ranchers and grain farmers to those growing for farmers markets and urban farmers. The institute is a yearlong program and is sponsored in part by Farm Credit, CoBank, DuPont Pioneer, CHS Foundation, FUI Foundation and the NFU Foundation. More information can be found at 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 Kicks Off 2014 Fly-In with Briefings from Top Administration and Elected Officials PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Sept. 8, 2014)

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
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WASHINGTON (Sept. 8, 2014) – The National Farmers Union (NFU) Annual Fall Legislative Fly-In commenced today with briefings by top officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and members of Congress and staff of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Agriculture.

“With two of rural America’s most important initiatives under fire — Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)  — NFU members have travelled to the nation’s capital to urge their members of Congress to stand strong on COOL and the RFS,” said NFU President Roger Johnson.  ”Fly-in is not only important to NFU, but to the overall health and vibrancy of rural America.”

Roughly 250 Farmers Union members have gathered in Washington for the fly-in. Tuesday and Wednesday they will visit the offices of every member of Congress to highlight the priorities of Farmers Union and family farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and consumers.  “We hope that hearing directly from family farmers will encourage members of Congress to stand firm on COOL and the RFS, and continue to fight for family farmers and the rural economies that they support,” he said.

Johnson noted that COOL has been under attack from the multinational meat industry and key trade competitors who are trying to keep the common-sense labeling law from being enacted.  The other agriculture commodities have come under attack recently by big oil companies pressuring the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which has been considering rolling back key targets. 

Fly-in participants will also speak with their elected officials about the ongoing lack of railroad service for grains in the upper Midwest.  “The inability for farmers in the upper Midwest to secure railroad passage for their commodities is simply unacceptable,” said Johnson.

Johnson noted that also of concern to the participants were ongoing trade issues that could have a major downside for America’s small family farms, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  “If our past trade agreements had been negotiated fairly and with the appropriate goals, we wouldn’t have the gross trade imbalance that we’re seeing today,” said Johnson.  “And we can’t allow our nation to enter another major trade agreement unless the issue of currency manipulation to gain an unfair advantage on American farmers is on the table,” he noted.

NFU’s Fall Legislative Fly-In meetings and events will be held Sept. 8 to 10. For more information about Fly-In events, visit www.NFU.org.

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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Fargo Forum NFU Guest Editorial: Rail Delays in the Dakotas Staggering, Unacceptable PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Sept. 2, 2014)

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
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WASHINGTON (Sept. 2, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson called the ongoing rail delays in the upper Midwest ‘staggering’ and ‘unacceptable’ and urged the federal government to press “the local railway monopoly” for better results, in a recent Fargo Forum Op-ed.

“If the federal government, under the management of the Surface Transportation Board (STB), doesn’t start producing some impressive results from the local railway monopoly ¾ BNSF Railway (BNSF) and Canadian Pacific (CP) ¾ the area’s farmers, farm families and the rural economies they fuel are going to be feeling a whole lot of hurt,” Johnson points out.

He notes that in North Dakota, where shipping by rail is the only option for many, four different grain elevators indicate that their oldest orders are from early March – that’s four months behind – and shuttle orders are up to 2,000 cars behind.  In South Dakota, farmers will soon be forced to pile wheat on the ground because elevators can’t accept the increased liability. At one particular elevator, 3 million of the yearly 15 million bushels of grain will not move before this year’s harvest comes in. 

“The ethanol industry, with up to 61 percent of ethanol being transported in that fashion, has also been frozen out of rail shipping.   Earlier this year, ethanol prices dramatically increased due to lack of supply brought on by the shipping delays.  Failure to bring ethanol to market will hurt consumers because of higher gasoline prices and will work against our efforts to offset imports of foreign oil.  Ethanol will only fuel the nation if it can get to the nation’s consumers.

“For most of the issues farmers face, they have tools in their belt that can help them deal with an impending disaster.  For many weather and market related issues, they have crop insurance. For soil erosion, they can vary their tilling practices and plant cover crops. For train issues, the only place to turn is the STB. Clearly, someone there needs to wake up at the switch and get things back in order because innocent farmers are paying the price.”

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 Commends USDA for Timely Rollout of Dairy Program PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aug. 28, 2014

Contact: Andrew Jerome, (202) 314-3106
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WASHINGTON (Aug. 28, 2014) – National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson commended USDA on their timely rollout of the dairy Margin Protection Program and for including provisions that will help America’s family farmers with their risk management needs. 

“America’s family-run dairy farms are in great need for these kind of risk management tools to help them manage risk that is beyond their control,” said Johnson. 

The Margin Protection Program, which replaces the Milk Income Loss Contract program, gives participating dairy producers the flexibility to select coverage levels best for their operation. The program is voluntary.

“The family farmer provision, included as part of the program, will allow many of this nation’s family-operated dairy farms to breathe a sigh of relief now that they have adequate risk management tools in hand. It is unfortunate that the Congress did not include a dairy stabilization program that would have helped take the volatility out of milk prices.”

USDA also announced the Dairy Product Donation Program (DPDP), which will donate dairy products to low-income people, including food banks, state and local agencies and advocacy organizations to determine the types and quantities of foods to purchase for distribution through its nutrition assistance programs. Johnson called the DPDP smart public policy. “This is a wonderful example of smart public policy since it allows USDA to help stabilize the milk market while also helping those facing food insecurity,” he said.

“USDA has done a wonderful job rolling out its new and updated programs as mandated by the 2014 Farm Bill and they should be commended for that,” he said.

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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