MINNESOTA FARMERS UNION WELCOMES YOU!
What MFU members say about their organization...
March 4, 2014 at 02:18pm
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) members will be attending the National Farmers Union (NFU) Convention in Santa Fe, New Mexico, March 8-11.
“The National Farmers Union Convention is important because members from throughout the country gather to discuss ideas important to family farmers and then they pass common-sense policies that will guide us and give direction to Congress in the upcoming year. It is true grassroots policy-making at its finest,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President.
Don Davis, former CEO of Farmers Union Industries, LLC in Redwood Falls, and 2014 recipient of the National Farmers Union Meritorious Service Award. Don’s wife Daphne will also be in attendance.
Tim Velde of Granite Falls, as National Farmers Union Policy Committee Chair.
Meghan Osterbauer of DeGraff and Caleb Schmitz of New London will be attending as part of the National Youth Advisory Council (NYAC). They are two of only six people elected by their peers to be on NYAC. They will make a presentation to the entire convention body, and help plan next year’s NFU All-States Leadership Camp.
Bryan and Jennifer Klabunde of Waubun will be attending as members of the Farmers Union Leadership Couples' Program, developed to empower future leaders in Farmers Union and rural communities.
Jennifer Gibson of North Mankato; Eric Hoese of Mayer; Brent Krohn and Bryce Krohn of Nicollet; and Carsten Thomas of Moorhead will be attending as part of the Beginning Farmers Institute.
Delegates to the NFU Convention are JoAnne Riegert of Waubun; Sam Holmgren of Atwater; Ross Eichens of Minneota; Peter Ripka of Ogilvie; John Larsen of Mantorville; and Merlyn Hubin of Westbrook.
Other MFU members attending are: Farmers Union Insurance Agency President Rodney Allebach and his wife Linda of Albertville; Sandy Hubin of Westbrook; Larry and Gina Jacobson of Hitterdal; Marvin and Marlys Jensen of Kensington; Richard Moen of Clearbrook; Alan and Karen Perish of Browerville; John Nelson of Waubun; Norma Holmgren of Atwater; Stacy Ripka of Ogilvie; Bessie Klose of Atwater; Lisa Severson of Eau Claire, WI; Lori Klose of Benson; and Brian Rohrenbach and Linda Larson of Rosemount.
MFU staff in attendance will be: President Doug Peterson and his wife Elly of Madison; Vice President Gary Wertish and his wife Jeanne of Renville; Education Director Glen Schmidt of St. Paul; Membership Director Bruce Miller and his wife Chris Fullerton of St. Paul; Communications Director Katie Fitzsimmons and her husband David of Minnetonka; and Office Coordinator Amanda Valencia of Forest Lake.
If you would like to speak with any of these people during the convention, please call Katie Fitzsimmons, MFU Communications Director, 612.616.5252.
You can view the full convention agenda at www.nfu.org/convention.
March 3, 2014 at 10:52am
St. Paul, Minnesota (March 3, 2014) – In celebration of the United Nations’ 2014 International Year of Family Farming, this month Minnesota Farmers Union is highlighting the importance of a competitive marketplace.
“For family farmers to be successful, there must be ample competition in the marketplace, and Farmers Union continues to find power in numbers by bringing farmers together to form cooperatives, and to establish new marketing arrangements that help to grow family agriculture,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “These efforts are extremely important and pertinent today, when only a handful of firms dominate many sectors of the agriculture economy.”
When four firms control more than 40 percent of a market, that market is considered non-competitive. According to the University of Missouri-Colombia, the four largest companies control:
- 82 percent of the beef packing industry;
- 85 percent of the soybean processing;
- 63 percent of the pork packing; and
- 53 percent of broiler chicken processing.
“Agricultural concentration in the marketplace presents risks to family farmers, consumers and our overall food security, and Farmers Union will continue to fight for the family farmer and so that consumers receive a fair price at the store,” Peterson added.
February 25, 2014 at 11:13am
St. Paul, Minnesota (February 25, 2014) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) welcomes the 2014 legislative session, and has an ambitious agenda awaiting legislators for what will be a very short session.
“The top issue for MFU this session at the Capitol is addressing several tax issues that have an impact on rural areas,” said Doug Peterson, MFU President. “MFU will be working to provide property tax relief to farmers who continue to experience rapidly rising property taxes.”
Other issues MFU will be working on include:
- legislation to repeal the sales tax on farm equipment repair;
- clarifying farmers’ markets rules;
- passing agritourism legislation;
- supporting transportation funding that benefits rural roads and infrastructure; and
- supporting Minnesota’s biofuel industry.
These are just some of the issues MFU will be working on in the 2014 legislative session, as well as what issues MFU members will be talking to legislators about when they head to the State Capitol on Tuesday March 18, for the MFU annual lobby day.
February 24, 2014 at 03:49pm
St. Paul, Minnesota (February 24, 2014) – Minnesota Farmers Union’s (MFU) Full Board of Directors recently met to discuss issues important to family farmers. The Full Board consists of county presidents throughout the state.
“It is vital for family farmers that we keep issues that impact family farmers in front of state and federal lawmakers so that family farmers are at the table to ensure that fair and common sense policies are developed,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “This meeting allows for continued, open communication with our county presidents so we all know what is at stake in the coming year. Especially as the state legislature begins, this meeting allows for a discussion about the important issues for agriculture that are expected to be coming up in the coming months.”
The Full Board of Directors passed three Special Orders Of Business. One opposing fast-track trade proposals because of its negative impact on our agriculture economy; one thanking Congress for passing a farm bill; and one calling on local, state, and federal officials to find solutions to the propane shortage, as well as ways to prohibit the shortage from happening again.
February 13, 2014 at 03:19pm
ST. PAUL (February 13, 2014) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) salutes the excellent work of the FFA during their National FFA week February 15-22, 2014.
“The FFA does such great work in fostering the skills necessary for our youth to excel and succeed,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “The agriculture sector is strong in good part because FFA provides the tools needed for personal growth and success in our future farm generations. We thank and salute FFA for their wonderful work in keeping not only the agriculture sector strong, but our rural and urban communities as well.”
“The challenge of farming today and for raising food for a growing nation and a hungry world will be met by our youth. It will take knowledge and hard work and we at Farmers Union believe the students of FFA will meet the demands as agriculture evolves in the 21st century,” Peterson added.
Minnesota Farmers Union supports FFA by:
- annually donating 20 FFA jackets through the Blue Jackets Bright Futures Program;
- working closely with the Metro Area FFA Alumni and Friends Association;
- judging numerous FFA competitions across the state;
- hosting the State Officers for a State Officer Professional Development day; and
- sponsoring an annual FFA essay contest encouraging students to learn about a new topic and its place in rural Minnesota and Minnesota’s economy. The winner receives $1000 for their FFA Chapter and a trip to Washington, D.C.;
- creating and facilitating the Minnesota FFA ag boot camp, a program specifically for older students interested in public policy.
February 13, 2014 at 02:08pm
MFU President wrote the following letter about the propane shortage in MN:
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) is calling for increased action at the state and federal levels to deal with Minnesota’s ongoing propane shortage crisis. Minnesota farmers and rural residents need real answers.
MFU thanks our Congressional delegation and Governor Dayton for their ongoing efforts in helping ease this crisis. However, there are still questions as to why and how this happened, starting with: is the federal government moving to correct the cause of the propane shortage?
- Exports. Is part of the problem because propane that could have been used in Minnesota was sold and exported overseas? Did the federal government not see the shortage coming? Consideration should have been given to crop and harvest conditions when considering the export of propane.
- Closed Pipelines. We appreciate and thank the Obama Administration for releasing $15.8 million to Minnesota to address propane shortage, but we also want the Administration to step up their efforts to determine why this happened, and to keep it from happening again. That includes looking into why the Cochin pipeline from Canada, carrying 40 percent of Minnesota’s propane, was out of service during November and December, peak heating times. MFU wants to know whether the plans to halt propane shipments on the Cochin pipeline in April should be permitted to go forward as a matter of national security? Also, we need to address the challenge of transporting propane, and why there are rail and road bottlenecks. Furthermore, should we heat farms and homes, or should oil companies just be allowed to make more profits for oil production?
- Gouging. We want an explanation whether price gouging was and is a part of propane pricing this winter? Why have costs skyrocketed from $1.50 to $5.00 per gallon? How many of our urban and suburban cousins could afford paying three times what it usually costs to heat their homes or businesses? Farmers are also tired of having the blame shoved on them for this problem. Yes, it was a wet harvest, but we have had those before without seeing exorbitant and unaffordable increases in propane prices. Minnesota farmers are demanding to know where in the process the profit is being made, and who is making it? Who gets that extra $3.50 and why? It begs the question of profiteering.
- Certainty. We understand supply and demand, but this shortage goes beyond that. We are demanding that there be certainty for farmers and rural residents, beyond the “pre-buy” system. Many farmers and rural residents save all summer to buy their propane in the winter months. That certainty and ability to pay their heating bills is now gone, and people are being forced to pay outrageous prices for what is an essential element of existence in wintertime Minnesota.
Cold weather is a serious issue and policymakers need to treat it seriously. People should not have to choose between food and fuel!
Minnesota Farmers Union
February 12, 2014 at 02:33pm
St. Paul, Minnesota (February 12, 2014) – Family farmers are the original conservationists, and that is why Minnesota Farmers Union is proud to support conservation programs in the United States while celebrating the United Nations’ 2014 International Year of Family Farming!
“With the global population expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050, family farmers and ranchers have a great challenge to be able to feed and clothe people,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “Production and conservation practices must be geared towards improving the productivity of the land. With more mouths to feed and strained natural resources, it is now more important than ever to invest in conservation practices that help farmers adapt to a changing climate.”
Minnesota Farmers Union believes in sound conservation policies because they assist in erosion control, watershed protection and climate change. Plus over the past 25 years, conservation programs have helped farmers:
· save 295 million tons of soil per year; and
· save between 1.5 and 3.3 million acres of wetlands from being drained.
February 4, 2014 at 02:05pm
ST. PAUL (February 4, 2014) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) is pleased the farm bill is one step closer to becoming law with passage by the Senate on a vote 68-32. MFU thanks Senator Amy Klobuchar and Senator Al Franken for supporting the bill. The House passed the bill on January 29 on a 251-166 vote.
“Family farmers thank the Senate for acting swiftly and getting the farm bill passed. We urge President Obama to waste no time in getting this farm bill signed, so family farmers can have the security they need to plan for the future,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “I want to thank Senator Klobuchar for her hard work on the farm bill conference committee, and also to Senator Al Franken for supporting the bill, and helping pass this common sense piece of legislation that protects farmers as they provide food, fuel and fiber for this country.”
The bill includes:
- approximately $4 billion in livestock disaster funds, retroactively available to those who suffered tremendous losses last October;
- repeals direct payments;
- protects current crop insurance program;
- does not repeal permanent law;
- provides $900 million of mandatory funding for energy programs;
- includes $30 million a year in mandatory funding for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program, with $10 million a year in discretionary funding;
- includes $20 million a year in mandatory funding for the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative;
- includes $20 million a year in mandatory funding for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program;
- addresses fraud within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP);
- reduces SNAP funding by $8 billion over the next 10 years;
- increases access for livestock producers to Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) benefits, along with many other supportive policies for the livestock industry;
- does not make any legislative changes to the Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) law;
- does not make any major adjustments to protections for producers under the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA); and
- the proposed farm bill reduces spending by about $23 billion over the next 10 years.
January 29, 2014 at 02:51pm
Farmers Union President heads to Mexico City for conference on NAFTA
St. Paul (January 28, 2014) – Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson is travelling to Mexico City, Mexico, for the Trinational Farmers Forum about the North American Free Trade Agreement. People from the United States, Mexico and Canada will be participating.
This forum is designed to discuss implications of the North American Free Trade Agreement at its 20-year mark; share information, and prepare strategy against the Trans Pacific Partnership. President Peterson will be on a panel titled, “Reform for the field – alternatives to support family farming, fair trade, and a better quality of life,” on Wednesday, January 29.
President Peterson will be in Mexico City starting Tuesday, January 28, through Friday, January 31. He will be available for press calls throughout those four days, and available at 612.867.3427.
January 28, 2014 at 12:48pm
MFU's own Tim Velde just returned from chairing the National Farmers Union policy committee in preparation for the National Convention in Santa Fe, NM, March 8-11.