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Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) works to protect and enhance the economic interests and quality of life of family farmers and ranchers and rural communities. 

 

Minnesota Farmers Union and Farmers Union Insurance Agency invest in 40 Square as viable farmer health care option

The Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) Executive Committee voted on Nov. 3 to approve the organization’s purchase of shares in 40 Square Cooperative Health Solutions, a new health care cooperative for Minnesota farmers.

MFU, a grassroots organization, has its heritage in the cooperative model. 40 Square is a relevant example of farmers forming a cooperative to collectively address a need.

“Ever since farmers in Jackson County started organizing for fairer commodity prices in the early 1910s, MFU has been a strong backer of new cooperatives,” said Gary Wertish, President of MFU. “We supported legislation passed this year that allowed Minnesota farmers and agribusinesses to form cooperatives for health care, which makes groups like 40 Square possible. We are happy to make this investment in 40 Square.”

Farmers Union Insurance Agency, an MFU-owned company serving the insurance needs of Minnesotans, is supporting the marketing efforts of 40 Square. The majority of FUIA agents have signed up to write 40 Square health care policies for their farmer customers.

“Farmers Union Insurance Agency is always seeking sustainable health insurance options for Minnesota’s farm families and their employees, and we feel 40 Square will be a viable option today and into the future,” said Rodney Allebach, President and General Manager of FUIA. “We are proud to partner with Minnesota Farmers Union and 40 Square by taking a stake in this partnership.”


Donate items for MFU Fundraiser Auction

Do you have any retro Farmers Union memorabilia? Or farm machinery collectibles? Consider donating them for the MFU 76th Annual Convention Fundraiser Auction. Funds raised support the MFUPAC and the MFU Foundation.

Drop your items off at the Ramada Plaza on the morning of Nov. 18. There will be a silent auction throughout the day. The live auction will begin at 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 18, following the banquet.


Scholarships available for members to attend NFU Women's Conference

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The National Farmers Union Women's Conference will be held Jan. 14-18 in San Diego, Calif. We are pleased to offer five $1,000 scholarships for our members to be able to attend the conference. Members must be in good standing with Minnesota Farmers Union and plan to attend the conference. The scholarship goes towards the costs of attending. Download the application here and mail back to us by Dec. 1.
The theme of this year's conference is Women in Leadership. Women have been leading in agriculture for many years, and NFU hopes to build on this idea throughout the conference.

The conference will prepare attendees and their operations for their own future in many areas, including: business planning, succession planning, running for local office, networking, telling their own stories, innovative marketing and much, much more. NFU hopes to provide attendees with a network of female producers that they can reach out to throughout the year, as well as provide attendees with important tools that will help set their operations up for a future of success. View the agenda here.

FFI: Contact MFU Education Director Glen Schmidt at glen@mfu.org.


MFU signs letter urging policy that supports small family farms

Minnesota Farmers Union recently signed a letter from the Center for Rural Affairs calling on the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to  adopt policies that address unfair contracts for farmers, increase market transparency, reform USDA guaranteed loans, and guarantee worker rights as they work on the 2018 Farm Bill. Several other state Farmers Union organizations, as well as National Farmers Union, signed the letter.

View the letter at this link: http://www.cfra.org/news/171011/congress-must-adopt-policies-support-small-farms


Successful Fly-in for Minnesota Farmers Union

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The participants from the National Farmers Union Legislative Fly-in have returned after three days of learning and discussion. Minnesota sent 36 in total to Washington, D.C.
Participants had three main issues to talk to legislators about - the Farm Bill, health care and renewable fuels - as well as the Farmer's Share that NFU releases monthly. MFU's group dropped information or talked directly with all of Minnesota's Congressional delegation, plus other representatives from around the nation.
We also presented five legislators with the Golden Triangle Award, the highest honor from National Farmers Union. The award signifies that the member has shown dedication to improving the livelihoods of family farmers and ranchers. MFU awarded Golden Triangles to Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Al Franken, Rep. Tim Walz, Rep. Rick Nolan and Rep. Collin Peterson.


Minnesota Farmers Union Welcomes Brita Moore as Public Relations Director

As of July 10, 2017, Brita Moore has joined the Minnesota Farmers Union staff as Public Relations Director.

Moore, who lives in St. Paul, previously was assistant managing editor at Agri News, a weekly newspaper focusing on agricultural issues in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa.

“I am honored to work with MFU,” Moore said. “I look forward to helping strengthen Minnesota’s rural communities and sharing the stories of our farmers.”

“Brita’s experience as an agriculture journalist will be a great benefit to our staff,” said MFU President Gary Wertish. “I am grateful to have her on board.”

Moore will primarily be responsible for promoting MFU on social media, contributing stories to the monthly Minnesota Agriculture publication and media relations. She can be reached at brita@mfu.org, 651-288-4068 (office) or 651-308-2435 (cell).


MFU applauds passage of ditch mowing legislation

Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) today applauded the signature of
Senate File 218 by Governor Mark Dayton that implements a moratorium
on the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) in enforcing
permits until April 30th, 2018 for mowing and baling in right of way on
trunk highways, except for land that adjoins state land.


MFU had raised concerns with the new permit system MNDOT had announced in
December of 2016, that many farmers saw as unnecessary, confusing and
burdensome.“Mowing roadsides has been an important source of forage for
farmers, controls weeds and improves visibility on highways” said MFU President
Gary Wertish. The legislation will give all parties a chance to get together and
address issues, “MFU encourages farmers to pay attention to this issue over the
interim and be involved in making their voice heard on this issue” added Wertish.

Read more here. 


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MFU Applauds the Strong Work Completed as the NFU Concludes its 115th Anniversary Convention with Adoption of Policy, Special Orders of Business

The National Farmers Union (NFU) 115th Anniversary Convention concluded today following the adoption of the organization’s policy book and special orders of business.  The Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) delegation was a part of nearly 500 family farmers and ranchers who convened in San Diego both to engage in thoughtful policy deliberations, as well as to learn from agricultural experts and each another.

 

The adopted policy book and special orders of business will guide the organization’s government affairs priorities over the course of the next year, including the current farm crisis and upcoming deliberations on the 2018 Farm Bill. Read more here.

 


Two Minnesota Farmers Union Members Recognized for Excellence in Membership and Leadership

National Farmers Union (NFU) recognized the efforts of two Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) members for their excellence in membership recruitment and outreach at the 115th Anniversary Convention.

 

“A strong grassroots network is the backbone of a farmer-led organization,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “Our peer-driven approach to membership and outreach is what keeps our organization rooted in rural America, and I am honored to recognize the efforts of these dedicated leaders.”

 

Annually, National Farmers Union presents one or more awards in each of four categories: Silver Star Award, Membership Achievement Award, Leadership Achievement Award, and Outstanding Leadership Achievement Award.

 

Gary Wertish of Minnesota Farmers Union, received the Silver Star Award, the highest honor bestowed to individual Farmers Union organizers. Wertish is a six-time recipient of the coveted award.

 

Bessie Klose from Minnesota Farmers Union received the Membership Achievement Award for her dedication to recruitment. 


Minnesota Farmers Union’s Board of Directors meets elect new Vice President, State Secretary and to discuss legislative priorities.

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Minnesota Farmers Union’s (MFU) Full Board of Directors met for the special business of electing a new Vice President of the organization.  Bryan Klabunde from Wauban, Mahonomen County, was elected as the new Vice President of Minnesota Farmers Union. Bryan will fill the position that was left open with the election of Gary Wertish to President of the organization in January.
 

Members also discussed legislative issues that are affecting family farmers in the 2017 legislative session. The Full Board consists of county presidents throughout the state. Discussion involved key issues such as ditch mowing permits, buffer regulations, and the public option on health care, amongst other important key issues. Read more here.


Minnesota Farmers Union applauds passage of Rural Finance Authority Legislation

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Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) applauds the signing today by Governor Mark Dayton of legislation to fund the Rural Finance Authority (RFA) which helps farmers secure funding for various important loans including restructure, beginning farmers, and farm improvement loans. 

 

MFU appreciates the efforts of the chief authors Rep. Tim Miller (R-Prinsburg) and Sen. Andrew Lang (R-Olivia) as well as many legislators from both sides of the aisle in recognizing the need to expedite funding for the RFA which has lacked funding since December 31st, 2016 and been unable to process loans. Read more here.


Minnesota Farmers Union Elects New President

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Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) held a special election on Saturday, January 21, 2017 to elect a new President to replace former president, Doug Peterson, who retired December 31, 2016. The special election consisted of the full board members of county presidents from around that state.
 

Former MFU Vice President, Gary Wertish was elected by the full board members on Saturday to be the 10th President of Minnesota Farmers Union.

Gary has served as the Vice President of Minnesota Farmers Union since 2009, and has filled in as interim President since the retirement of Doug Peterson on December 31, 2016.
 

Prior to being elected as Vice President, Gary had worked as a field representative for Farmers Union. Gary worked for Senator Mark Dayton as his Agricultural Director. He farms with one of his sons raising corn, soybeans, and navy beans.
 

Read more here.


Tim Walz Blog on NFU website - The Future of Agriculture and Veterans in Farming

tjw-official-headshot-2013_0By U.S. Congressman Tim Walz (MN-01)

By now folks across the country are well aware that the average age of American farmers and ranchers is just over 58 years old. Less well known is the fact that 200,000 military personnel are discharged from the armed services each year. As a Member of Congress who serves on the House Agriculture, Armed Services, and Veterans Affairs Committees, I see a compelling opportunity at the intersection of both populations.
 

Agriculture is in desperate need of an infusion of new farmers and ranchers. As a result, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking to add 100,000 new farmers to agriculture in the coming years. Retiring farmers without viable succession plans are weighing what to do with vast tracts of land across this country, and as older farmers look to transition, and rural communities continue to empty out, farming and ranching’s future looks more unstable.
 

Meanwhile, the veteran community faces its own set of unique challenges. Of the 2.7 million service members who have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, at least 970,000 veterans have some degree of officially recognized disability. Recent reports suggest that such figures significantly underestimate the actual extent of injuries sustained. Following their separation from the military, our brave men and women look to new careers where they can utilize valuable skills they have learned in ways that serve their community


To read more click here:  http://nfu.org/veterans-and-agriculture-an-opportunity-to-revitalize-farming/5214

 


Minnesota Farmers Union Member from Northfield, MN in Rice County Creates Stunning Landmark Sculpture for Minnesota Farmers Union

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Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) member, Mike Peterson, from Northfield, MN in Rice County, and Rice County Vice President, created a stunning sculpture for MFU that represents the true symbols of family farmers, whom MFU strong advocates for and supports.  The plow, rake, and hoe are the original insignia of Minnesota Farmers Union, and represent the historical tools of farmers that represent their hard work. Read more here.


Next Step Agenda

Tentative Agenda


2017 Rural Voices Discussion Report

2017 Rural Voices Discussion Report


MFU Rambow Logo Wear

MFU offers a line of dress shirts, sweatshirts, casual wear and bags for purchase in partnership with Rambow Inc. out of New London, Minn. Click here to view merchandise and place an order. 


National Farmers Union Logo