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Farmers Union Leader Appointed Special Ambassador of International Year of Family Farming PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 15, 2014

Contact: David Thews, 202-554-1600
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Farmers Union Leader Appointed Special Ambassador of International Year of Family Farming

ROME, Italy (July 15, 2014) – Robert L. Carlson, former president of the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO), has been appointed United Nations (UN) Special Ambassador of the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF). His appointment was made by José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome earlier today.

“I am truly honored to accept this position,” said Carlson. “I will do my best to represent family farmers and ranchers throughout the world. I think it’s very important for people to recognize the significant contributions that agriculture makes on our global economy.”

Carlson accepted the appointment during a special video conference. Participants in the ceremony included José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General; H.E. Peter McGovern, Ambassador of Canada to Italy; David J. Lane, US Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies in Rome; Marcela Villarreal, Director, Office for Partnerships, Advocacy and Capacity Development (OPC), FAO; and Francesco Pierri, Family Farming Officer, Advocacy Unit of OPC, FAO.

Carlson brings a wealth of farming knowledge and diplomatic experience to the post. He served as the first president of the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO) from September 2011 to March 2014. He currently serves as vice president of international relations for National Farmers Union (NFU) in the United States.

NFU President Roger Johnson commented, “We are so pleased that Robert has been appointed to this position. He has been a long-time advocate for family farmers and ranchers, and will be a great champion for the agricultural industry. We look forward to his involvement with the U.S. national committee on IYFF, for which NFU is the chair organization.”

Carlson’s international diplomatic experience is extensive. He has represented family farming issues at world food summits as well as international agricultural conferences on climate change and food security. He has participated in United Nations high-level meetings, World Trade Organization talks and the World Economic Forum. Carlson is committed to the future of family farming as an economic and social base for rural society, the nation, and the world.

As a native of North Dakota, Carlson served as president of North Dakota Farmers Union from 1997 to 2012, and as the organization’s vice president from 1987 to 1997. Much of his life has been devoted to family farming issues - as a farmer and as an advocate for family farmers. Carlson worked with his father growing up on their North Dakota farm, homesteaded by his grandfather in 1900. He raised his own sons farming that same land, now owned and operated by two generations who grow grain and raise cattle. As active members of Farmers Union, the Carlsons consider farming to be the greatest occupation in the world and support many state cooperatives.

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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More about the International Year of Family Farming Special Ambassadors at http://www.fao.org/family-farming-2014/home/special-ambassadors/en/.

More information about the U.S. National Committee at www.YearofFamilyFarming.com

 

For further information contact:
Press Office
World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO) | Organizzazione Mondiale degli Agricoltori (OMA)
Via del Tritone, 102 - 00187 Rome, Italy

Tel: +39 06 4274 1158 | Fax: +39 06 4200 075
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Web: http://www.wfo-oma.com

 
NFU President Urges Congress, EPA to Stay Course on RFS PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 8, 2014

Contact: David Thews, 202-554-1600
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WASHINGTON (July 8, 2014) –National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson spoke today at a briefing at the U.S. House of Representatives on the importance of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The briefing was hosted by Fuels America in cooperation with Reps. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, and Lee Terry, R-Neb.

“It is crucial that Congress not change the RFS and for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to improve the 2014 RFS targets in order to provide certainty for farmers and the ethanol industry,” said Johnson.

“EPA was originally going to finalize its 2014 Renewable Volume Obligation in June, but is now moving the date until September,” Johnson continued. “NFU has strongly encouraged EPA to fix its flawed proposal. EPA needs to begin to align itself with rural America. It will be difficult to build trust in the countryside if EPA does not greatly improve the 2014 RFS targets.”

“The RFS drives economic growth in rural America and supports around 300,000 direct jobs nationwide,” said Johnson. “A stable RFS will help to develop the next generation of biofuels and provide new market opportunities for farmers, while simultaneously providing significant climate, environmental and national security benefits.”

Other panelists included Brooke Coleman, executive director, Advanced Ethanol Council; Doug Bervin, vice president of corporate affairs, POET; Josh Nasser, legislative director, United Auto Workers; and Geoff Cooper, senior vice president, Renewable Fuels Association.

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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Let’s Keep COOL this Independence Day PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 2, 2014

Contact: David Thews, 202-554-1600
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WASHINGTON (July 2, 2014) – More than 74 million Americans plan to celebrate our nation’s independence this weekend by enjoying a barbecue. About 900 million pounds of pork, beef and chicken will be purchased around the country this week. With all that meat on the grill over the weekend, consumers ought to know where that food comes from.

Fortunately Americans can clearly see the country (or countries) of origin of the meat products they buy at the grocery store. This information is included on the label or near the meat counter, and is called Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL). This well-intentioned and useful label enjoys near-unanimous support from shoppers, with a May 2013 poll finding that more than 90 percent of consumers want COOL. Furthermore, 87 percent of adults favored a requirement for food sellers to indicate on the package the country or countries in which animals were born, raised and processed.

In a recent letter to Congress, 179 farm, rural, faith, environmental, labor, farmworker and consumer organizations also highlighted the importance of keeping COOL. It is very clear consumers continue to want to know more information about their food, not less.

Even though COOL is extremely popular, it has been under attack for decades. Even though basic origin information is required on nearly all consumer products, COOL for meat is still relatively new – it’s only been in effect since 2009.

Recent efforts by multinational meat companies and foreign competitors have sought to repeal COOL. These interest groups have declared war on the consumer’s basic right-to-know and are trying to scare Congress into going against the wishes of 90 percent of the American public.

On this Fourth of July weekend, National Farmers Union urges you to take time to exercise your right to know where your food comes from. Once the barbecue is over, put your right to free speech to use, too. Tell Congress to declare independence from “big meat” and to keep COOL.

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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Aging Farm Population Opens Door For Beginning Farmers PDF Print E-mail

LOGO IYFF horizontal-EN







FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 1, 2014

Contact: David Thews, 202-554-1600
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WASHINGTON (July 1, 2014) – In celebration of the United Nations’ 2014 International Year of Family Farming, this month National Farmers Union (NFU) is highlighting opportunities for interested individuals to get into farming. According to the U.S. Census the average age of a farmer in the United States is 57. This is up from 54 in 1997. The percentage of farmers over 65 has increased by about 10 percent since 1969.

“With an aging farm workforce, there is a real need for new, beginning and transitioning farmers and ranchers to enter the agriculture sector,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “At the same time, as soldiers return home from tours abroad, they are looking for new employment opportunities. Farming is an excellent way for these men and women to transition back into the workforce.”

“NFU supports programs for beginning farmers and ranchers, as well as veterans, in order to ensure the future of our industry,” said Johnson.

National Farmers Union’s Beginning Farmers Institute (BFI) develops and encourages agricultural leaders from all backgrounds. Leadership training and farm management skills are taught to promising individuals eager to enter or expand their agricultural knowledge. According to the Farmer Veteran Coalition, as of 2009 there were 21.9 million veterans in the United States, including 1.5 million female veterans.

To support our efforts, we encourage everyone to get involved and join their local Farmers Union. Information can be found at www.nfu.org/membership.

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 Congress to Stay the Course on COOL PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 30, 2014

Contact: David Thews, 202-554-1600
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WASHINGTON (June 30, 2014) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement in response to renewed efforts by opponents of Country-of-origin labeling (COOL) to repeal the consumer labeling requirements:

"The World Trade Organization's report on COOL's compliance with trade obligations has reportedly been transmitted to the U.S. government but not yet been made available to the public. Despite that fact, the multinational meatpackers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are pushing to repeal COOL without knowing the full findings of the WTO compliance study. Urging Congress to repeal COOL laws before the WTO report is issued is just another desperate attempt to prevent consumers from having access to basic information about their food. 

“NFU eagerly awaits the WTO report and will recommend a response if necessary. Consumers have a right to know where their food comes from and our family farmer and rancher members agree. The WTO has already ruled that the U.S. COOL law is acceptable. There are many policy or regulatory options – if any are needed – that can be adopted in order to comply, although NFU feels the current COOL regulations are WTO-compliant."

 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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