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Dairy Crisis
Current NFU News
NFU Urges Canadian Agriculture Minister to Review Recent COOL Study; Allow WTO Process on COOL to Run Its Course PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 9, 2015

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
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WASHINGTON (Feb. 9, 2015) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson urged the Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Gerry Ritz, to review the results of a recent econometric study showing that “COOL did not have a negative impact on Canadian cattle exports,” in a letter sent today.

The letter comes on the heels of a trip by Minister Ritz and members of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, the Canadian Pork Council and the Canadian Meat Council to Washington, D.C. to meet with American lawmakers. Johnson pointed out that the study, conducted by C. Robert Taylor, Ph.D., of Auburn University, points out that previous studies conducted on behalf of Canadian interests and submitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO) were flawed.   

“Dr. Taylor’s study addressed issues such as confounding factors and omitted variable bias present” in several previous studies, the letter notes. Unlike those studies, which relied largely on proprietary data that was provided to the researchers by the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association – a staunch opponent of COOL – Taylor’s study instead relied upon Mandatory Price Reporting data, which is publicly available. 

“Dr. Taylor’s recent study on COOL discredits claims made by Canada to the WTO,” said Johnson. “I strongly encourage Minister Ritz to study the COOL report, use it to inform his assessments of COOL, and allow the WTO process to run its course.”

Johnson also noted that the recent study on COOL found that fed cattle price basis actually declined after COOL went into effect; that COOL also had no negative impact on imports of slaughter cattle; and COOL did not significantly affect those of feeder cattle.

“American lawmakers should not be listening to the overblown rhetoric and retaliatory threats made by foreign government officials and the multinational meatpacking industry,” said Johnson. “Farmers and ranchers in this country are proud of the products they produce, and consumers have a strong and growing desire to know where their food comes from.”

The WTO has stated multiple times that countries have a right to label products with their country of origin and remain in compliance with WTO,” said Johnson. “The Canadian government needs to allow the WTO process to run its course.”

A full copy of the letter is available here.

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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Holstein Foundation Names Goule 2015 Young Dairy Leaders Institute Distinguished Alumnus PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 4, 2015

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
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WASHINGTON (Feb. 4, 2015) – National Farmers Union (NFU) Senior Vice President of Programs Chandler Goule has been named the 2015 Young Dairy Leaders Institute (YDLI) Distinguished Alumni Leader by the Holstein Foundation.

The Young Dairy Leaders Institute, a program of the Holstein Foundation, is a nationally recognized three-phase leadership and communication skills development program for young adults working in the dairy industry. Each year, the Holstein Foundation recognizes one YDLI alumnus who has made notable contributions and used the skills gained during his or her YDLI experience for the betterment of the dairy industry. Goule, a graduate of YDLI Class 5, is currently one of NFU’s media spokespersons and oversees the departments of government relations, communications, education and membership.

"YDLI was key in my initial development as a professional,” Goule said. “It was the first time I took the Myers-Briggs test and learned about the 16 types of personalities. It was the first time I had any type of formal media training. The instruction I received helped me bring the entire dairy industry supply chain together and then later helped when I worked on the House Agriculture Committee. The program also assisted me in identifying my strengths and my weaknesses in order to improve upon both areas. It is a great program, and I am honored to receive this award.”

He was named to his position last March after four-and-a-half years as NFU’s vice president of government relations. Prior to joining the family farm organization, Goule worked for the U.S. House Agriculture Committee, for U.S. Rep. Collin C. Peterson, and for U.S. Rep. John S. Tanner. He earned a master’s degree from George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University.

Goule will be recognized during the upcoming YDLI Class 9, Phase I program, Feb. 25–28, 2015, in Phoenix, Arizona. For more information on YDLI or other Holstein Foundation programs, visit www.holsteinfoundation.org or contact Jodi Hoynoski, at 800.952.5200, ext. 4261 or by email.

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 Applauds Budget; Insists Agriculture Has Already Done Its Part to Reduce the Deficit PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 2, 2015

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
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WASHINGTON (Feb. 2, 2015) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson today commended President Obama’s 2016 Budget Proposal, noting its crucial investments for family farmers, ranchers, and rural America.

“The president has demonstrated meaningful support for the men and women who grow this nation’s food, feed, fiber and fuel, and the challenges they face daily,” said Johnson.

“The dramatic changes fueled by climate change are clearly one of the major hurdles facing America’s producers,” noted Johnson. “Family farmers and ranchers across the U.S. are already feeling the impact of increasing weather volatility, resulting in fewer workable field days, increased potential for soil erosion, and increased crop insurance claims. Investments in clean energy and climate resilience, like the permanent extension of the renewable electricity production and investment tax credits, will create new opportunities for American businesses while mitigating our producers’ climate risk.”  

Johnson also noted that for generations, farming and ranching income has lagged behind the overall prosperity of the nation, and that the budget outlines opportunities to reduce this disparity.

“The president’s budget proposal recognizes the disparity between farming and ranching incomes and the rest of the nation, which NFU has long worked to address,” said Johnson. “Through meaningful changes to the tax code, investments in rural development programs, and expanded educational opportunities, this budget has the potential to lift up rural communities.

Johnson said that he was disappointed the Administration has proposed across the board cuts to crop insurance, a farmer’s primary risk management tool.

“The 2014 Farm Bill just included $23 billion dollars for deficit reduction, so agriculture has clearly already done its part,” he said. Johnson urged the administration to look to other parts of the budget for additional reductions. “When Mother Nature strikes or markets fluctuate, without crop insurance, many family farmers and ranchers could be put out of business,” 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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NFU Salutes Women in Agriculture and Their Invaluable Role in Family Farming PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 2, 2015

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
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WASHINGTON (Feb. 2, 2015) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson today saluted the growing role of women in agriculture and their invaluable contributions to family farming.

“Women have always played a critical role in family farming, and that role is increasing dramatically as the number of women who are farmers in the U.S. has grown to roughly one million strong,” said Johnson. “Thankfully, the future of family farming in America is in good hands, and that is due in no small part to the growing contributions of women in agriculture,” he said.

In 2007, women operated 14 percent of all U.S. farms, nearly triple the number in 1978. In some states, such as Arizona, female operators comprise nearly half the state’s farmers, although Texas boasts the most female farmers overall.

Johnson noted that many years ago, NFU recognized the important and growing role of women in agriculture – both as leaders and as principal farm operators – and had women elected to leadership positions within the organization as early as 1906.

“NFU, since its founding in 1902, has understood the importance of women having a strong voice in agriculture,” said Johnson. “The organization’s long history of having women in leadership positions and advocating for women’s voting rights, both within the organization and in local, state and national government, has allowed NFU to provide a more progressive and balanced voice for all family farmers for more than a century.”

Johnson also noted that NFU has developed educational programming and outreach tools to identify and empower women to help improve their farming skills. This outreach, which includes business acumen, leadership training and hands-on practical experience, is helping women succeed in their growing role on the nation’s farms and in its farm organizations.

“Each year, NFU hosts an annual women’s conference aimed at providing participants with the tools they need to succeed on the farm and leading farm organizations,” said Johnson. This year, NFU partnered with Annie’s Project, an educational program dedicated to strengthening women’s role in agriculture. The conference, held each January, attracted 50 women from across the country. 

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, women farmers and ranchers on average are better educated than their male counterparts, with approximately 61 percent of women principal operators having education beyond high school – compared to 47 percent of male operators – and 32 percent having a college degree.  “Clearly, women farmers are willing and eager to better their skills and education, and NFU is happy to play a role in that,” said Johnson.

But the growing role of women in agriculture is not limited to just the United States.  NFU also is a very involved member of the World Farmers Organization (WFO), an international farm organization which aims to bring together national producer and farm cooperative organizations to develop policies which favor and support farmers' causes in developed and developing countries around the world.

Johnson pointed out that recent studies report that the majority of the world’s farmers are women, yet many of them face barriers to land ownership, credit and markets not faced by their male counterparts. “NFU will continue to work with WFO to address these disparities, which are particularly worrisome because women are estimated to produce up to 80 percent of the world’s food,” said Johnson.

Each month throughout 2015, NFU will highlight some of its key issues, education initiatives and visions for improving family farming in the U.S. and abroad. 

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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Applications Now Being Accepted for 2015 NFU Beginning Farmers Institute PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Jan. 30, 2015)

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
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WASHINGTON (Jan. 30, 2015) – National Farmers Union (NFU) is now accepting applications for the 2015 class of the Beginning Farmers Institute (BFI). The annual program is open to individuals who are new to farming, in the process of transferring an operation from a relative or non-relative to themselves, or 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 small 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 2015 program will attend three separate education sessions: Washington, D.C., Sept. 15-18; northern California, Nov. 5-8; and a final session culminating at NFU’s 114th Anniversary Convention in March 2016 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Program topics at the education sessions will include business planning, U.S. Department of Agriculture programs, tax and record keeping, estate transfer and marketing.

The Beginning Farmers Institute is supported by the CHS Foundation, FUI Foundation, Farm Credit, and the NFU Foundation.

Interested applicants can download the 2015 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 March 30, 2015. The announcement of accepted applicants to the BFI program will be on May 30, 2015.

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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