Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) works to protect and enhance the economic interests and quality of life of family farmers and ranchers and rural communities. MFU is a nonprofit membership-based organization. Membership is open to farmers and non-farmers. 


Highlights from the 2014 annual MFU convention

By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (November 23, 2014) The Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) held its 73rd annual state convention on Saturday, November 22 and Sunday, November 23.  Policy and special orders were debated and passed; and delegates were elected for the National Convention in Wichita, Kansas, March 14-17, 2015.

 “Minnesota Farmers Union is about bringing common-sense solutions to the table when ag policy is being discussed, and that is why our convention is so important, because this is where our policy is debated and decided by our county-elected delegates,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “Our grassroots way of doing things ensures everyone has a voice and that our policy is sound because it comes from the head and hearts of our members.”

The MFU delegates debated and passed special orders of business in support of Country of Origin Labeling (COOL), adult farm business management, improved rail service, and opposed fast-track trade authority for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Delegates went page-by-page in our policy and debated issues from renewable energy to local foods.

During the convention, a team from MNSURE and Farmers Union Agency were on-hand to offer free consultations and speak about Minnesota’s health insurance exchange.  Speakers included: Senator Amy Klobuchar; Senator Al Franken; Dave Frederickson, Department of Agriculture Commissioner; Chandler Goule, National Farmers Union Vice President of Government Relations; and Bruce Abbe, Executive Director MidWest Shippers Association.

Several awards were given out at the banquet Saturday night, including the Lifetime Achievement Award to Jim & Mary Stone; Excellence in Youth Education Award, Ed Terry; Julie Bleyhl, Distinguished Service with Excellence in Membership & Policy Award; Mary Lahammer, 2014 Outstanding Media Communications Award; Darrell Larson, 2014 Dedicated Service Award; and Grant Herfindahl, 2014 Dedicated Service Award.

By Communications Director

Minnesota Farmers Union Largest Single Contributor to FFA Blue Jacket Bright Future Program

St. Paul, MN. (October 28, 2014) For the sixth consecutive year, the Minnesota Farmers Union has donated to the FFA’s Blue Jackets Bright Future program, which provides sponsored FFA jackets to Minnesota youth who are starting their FFA career, and for the sixth consecutive year, MFU was the single largest sponsor to the program!  Out of 105 donors and 193 jackets sponsored, the Minnesota Farmers Union was the single largest contributor once again, sponsoring 30 jackets.

“The Blue Jackets Bright Future program is a valuable program providing students with an FFA jacket to support their FFA involvement.  A personalized FFA jacket provides recipients with a sense of pride while giving them ownership of their FFA experiences,” says Lavyne Rada, Minnesota FFA Association Leadership Development Coordinator.  “FFA plays an important role in developing agricultural and leadership skills in students while preparing them for their future careers.”

“The jacket is a symbol of tradition and pride for those who have worn the official FFA jacket. Many past members have sponsored jackets, but it’s not uncommon for individuals and companies to sponsor jackets because they appreciate what the organization does to develop young leaders,” said Val Aarsvold, Minnesota FFA Foundation Executive Director.

For more information about the Minnesota FFA Foundation’s Blue Jacket Bright Future program, contact Val Aarsvold at 507-534-0188 or visit



By Communications Director

Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) members joined more than 275 fellow farmers, ranchers and rural citizens from across the country in Washington, D.C., Sept. 7-10, for the National Farmers Union annual fall legislative fly-in.

Minnesota Farmers Union fly-in participants were able to meet with several U.S. Senators and Congress Persons to discuss rail improvement, fair trade transparency, renewable fuel standards and other issues that have effects on their farms. One major component of the fly-in was having the opportunity to present the Golden Triangle award to the key leaders who stand behind Minnesota Farmers Union and National Farmers Union policy. These leaders are Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Al Franken, Representative Colin Peterson, Representative Tim Walz and Representative Rick Nolan.

“Having Minnesota Farmers Union members in our nation’s capitol lets them speak directly with representatives in Congress, and tell the real story of family farming. We help members of Congress understand that action is important to family farmers and rural communities,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “Our members had good conversations with congress people about the issues impacting them, including Country-of-Origin Labeling, trade policy, Transportation Surface Transportation Board and the Renewable Fuels Standard. Making farm and ranch issues real to congress persons is the purpose of the fly in. Face-to-face meetings with congress people are the reality of politics, people and getting things done in Washington, D.C.

In addition to Capitol Hill visits, MFU members met with USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy. Discussion centered around current United States water issues and Farm Bill implementation.

Minnesota Farmers Union members who attended the fly-in include Carol and Steve Anderson of Foley, Douglas Fjerstad of Fosston, Marvin Jensen of Kensington, Cherryl Johnson of Hoffman, Robert Johnson of Clearbrook, Jennifer and Bryan Klabunde of Waubun, Linda Larson and Brian Rohrenbach of Rosemount, Judy McCollum (Minnesota Farmers Union Agency) and David McCollum of Mahnomen, Richard Moen (Minnesota Farmers Union Industries) of Clearbrook, Gene Paul (National Farmers Organization Policy Advisor) of Delavan, Alan Perish of Browerville, Mike and Kay Peterson of Northfield, Robert Ryan of Bird Island, and Grant Smude (FFA Essay Contest Winner) and Cara Smude of Morrison.

Staff members included President Doug Peterson of Madison, Vice President Gary Wertish of Renville, Field Representative Amanda Rosendahl of Swift County and Government Relations Director Thom Petersen of Pine City.

By Communications Director

MINNEAPOLIS (September 13, 2014)  Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President Doug Peterson and Membership Director Bruce Miller have won an Upper Midwest Emmy® Award. Peterson and Miller are Producing Partners for the MFU-sponsored Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) show Farm Fresh Road Trip.

“The genesis of the Farm Fresh Road Trip is MFU’s Minnesota Cooks™ program, which we started to promote Farmers Union’s policy for supporting local foods and promoting farm-fresh, local foods grown by family farmers,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “The Farm Fresh Road Trip demonstrates to a television audience the connection between the farmer, the chef and the consumer while showcasing the underlying importance of local foods in Minnesota’s economy. Twin Cities Public Television has done a great job in helping bring forward the importance of local foods and its benefits, and we are proud to be in a partnership with them. This Emmy® award is an honor.”

The Farm Fresh Road Trip travels to restaurants across the state to film chefs using farm fresh local foods in their meals, as well as inform consumers about the importance of using Minnesota local foods.

The Farm Fresh Road Trip is nominated in the category: Lifestyle-Program/Special/Series. Along with Peterson and Miller, the nomination includes Twin Cities Public Television’s host, crew and leadership.

The Upper Midwest Emmy® Awards Gala honors exceptional work and nurtures the next generation of television professionals. The gala was held Saturday, September 13 at Target Field.

Farm Fresh Road Trip features six restaurants: River Rock Café in St. Peter; Zella’s in Hutchinson; Lake Avenue Café in Duluth; Foxy Falafel Food Truck in Minneapolis and St. Paul; Spanky’s Stone Hearth Restaurant in Frazee; and The Strip Club Meat and Fish in St. Paul.  The full program, or specific segments, can be seen yet on TPT’s website:

By Communications Director

Sunday, September 7 - Wednesday, September 10, Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) Members and Staff will focus Congress’ attention to issues that affect America’s farm families and rural communities!
Twenty-four Minnesotans are heading out to Washington, D.C. to tell Congressional leaders and White House staff that reliable railways are needed in the Midwest, Fair Trade transparency is needed via reform of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), support for the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) and that Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) is here to stay.
Farmers Union members will be meeting with senators and representatives, hear from representatives from the United States Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, Surface and Transportation Board and White House staff.
MFU Members Attending:
Carol Anderson and Steve Anderson of Foley;
Douglas Fjerstad of Fosston, Ag Instructor;
Marvin Jensen of Kensington, Farmers Union Industries;
Cherryl Johnson of Hoffman;
Robert Johnson of Clearbrook, Ag Student;
Jennifer Klabunde and Bryan Klabunde of Waubun;
Linda Larson and Brian Rohrenbach of Rosemount;
Judy McCollum Farmers Union Agency agent; and David McCollum, of Mahnomen;
Richard Moen of Clearbook, Farmers Union Industries;
Gene Paul of Delavan, National Farmers Organization Policy Advisor;
Alan Perish of Browerville;
Mike Peterson and Kay Peterson of Northfield;
Robert Ryan of Bird Island;
Grant Smude, FFA Essay Contest Winner and Cara Smude of Morrison.

MFU Staff in Attendance: Doug Peterson of Madison, MFU President;
Gary Wertish of Renville, MFU Vice President;
Amanda Rosendahl of Swift County, MFU Field Representative;
Thom Petersen of Pine City, MFU Government Relations Director;
INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES: Call Interim Communications Director, Stephanie Olmscheid, at 651.288.4068 for questions or would like to speak to any staff or members during the fly-in.



Click here to see the 2014 MFU delegates voted to the NFU convention.

For archived news, please see Press Releases

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