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. 


What MFU members say about their organization...


By Katie Fitzsimmons

ST. PAUL (April 9, 2014) Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson returns from Quebec and the North American Continental Dialogue on Family Farming as part of the International Year of the Family Farmer.


“As 2014 is the International Year of the Family Farmer, it’s important to gather farmers from all of North America to discuss the challenges they face, and how beginning farmers, and the next generation of family farmers remain profitable,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President.  “Communication on government policy and its impact on trade and concentration are similar to problems identified by the World Farmers Organisation as affecting the 500 million family farmers in worldwide.”


Items discussed during the meeting included:

·         resiliency of family farmers in North America;

·         current realities of education and communication with consumers about family farming in the United States,            Canada, and Mexico;

·         local, state, national and international policies and its impact on farmers in each country;

·         issues relating to access to credit, land and other factors of production;

·         food security and the role of women as family farmers;

·         issues relating to manpower, succession, technological and economical performance, agri-environment, and             training and consulting services on the farm; and

·         issues relating to marketing.

By Katie Fitzsimmons

ST. PAUL (April 7, 2014) Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) will be holding meetings throughout the state in the next couple weeks. These meetings are a great opportunity for people to get together in the countryside and talk about what is going on in rural Minnesota, as well as have Farmers Union inform folks about what is going on at the federal and state level in the agriculture world.  Meetings are open to everyone.


Meeting information:

Thursday, April 10

9:30 - 11:00 a.m.         Ag Power Enterprises, Inc/John Deere Dealership, 355 SW 18th Street, Owatonna; and

1:30 - 3:00 p.m.           DNR Building, 261 Highway 15 South, New Ulm.


Thursday, April 17

9:30 - 11:00 a.m.         Henry’s Catering & Banquet Center, 6774 Higheay 25 NE (Highway 25 & Highway 23), Foley; and

2:00 - 3:30 p.m.           Spanky’s Stone Hearth Restaurant, 34785 County Highway 4 ,Vergas.


Friday, April 18

9:30 - 11:00 a.m.         Tim and Connie Velde Farm, 5178 230th Avenue, Granite Falls.


Chandler Goule, NFU Senior Vice President of Programs, will be at the Thursday, April 17 and Friday, April 18 events in Foley, Vergas and Granite Falls. He will speak on passage of the new farm bill, and what else to expect next in Washington D.C. with implementation of the farm bill, and other future issues.

By Katie Fitzsimmons

ST. PAUL (April 1, 2014) Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson returns from the World Farmers Organisation (WFO) general assembly in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  The WFO is made up of farming organizations from 80 different countries who gather to discuss challenges in farming, with the objective of developing sound policies for farmers throughout the world.


“There are 500 million family farmers in the world and to have this farmer to farmer communication aimed at improving our system of food, trade and credit, particularly among women and young farmers, is an incredible opportunity for learning and sharing ideas and solutions,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “If we could just get women the access and credit to land that they need, it would alleviate hunger for 150 million people. That is an alarming statistic and a problem we hope to find a solution for at future WFO assemblies.”


The general assembly focused on a number of issues, including women and beginning farmers, climate change, and contract agriculture production.  As the lead organization in promoting the International Year of the Family Farmer, Farmers Union will continue to address the issues discussed at the WFO general assembly, at the North American Continental Dialogue on Family Farming in Quebec, April 7 & 8.

By Katie Fitzsimmons

ST. PAUL (March 28, 2014) The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied plaintiffs’ appeal of a denial of their request for a preliminary injunction. The preliminary injunction would prevent revised Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) regulations from remaining in effect while the plaintiffs’ lawsuit challenging the COOL regulations proceeds.


 “People deserve to know where their food comes from. It gives consumers the information they want, and need so they can make an educated decision about the food they are buying and serving their family,” said Gary Wertish, Minnesota Farmers Union Vice President. “MFU applauds today's court decision as a very important victory for our family farmers and consumers. This reaffirms the farmers’ right to label the fruits of their labor, and the consumers right to choose.”


Today’s ruling affirms a September 11, 2013, decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that also denied the request for a preliminary injunction. As a result of today’s decision, the revised COOL regulations will remain in place while the case is pending.


 Minnesota Farmers Union policy has long supported country of origin labeling (COOL). 


By Katie Fitzsimmons

MFU members with Governor Mark DaytonSt. Paul (March 26, 2014) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) members from throughout the state were at the State Capitol for their annual trip to St. Paul, where they talked about MFU priorities, including property tax relief, addressing propane issues, and releasing farm equipment repair tax, among other issues.


“These visits at the State Capitol are so important because it gives MFU members an opportunity to speak with their legislators about what is happening in the countryside,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “It also allows for legislators to hear first-hand from MFU members the consequences of legislative decisions and how they impact family farmers and rural communities.”


MFU members met with state legislators, Governor Mark Dayton, Attorney General Lori Swanson, and Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson. 

By Katie Fitzsimmons

St. Paul (March 22, 2014) – Minnesota Farmers Union is proud to join in the celebration of agriculture and all it does for our communities during Minnesota Agriculture Week, which was declared by Governor Mark Dayton to be March 23-29, and National Agriculture Day, which is Tuesday, March 25.


“Family farmers not only provide us with food, fuel, and fiber, but agriculture is a financial boon to our local, state and federal economies by supporting 340,000 jobs and adding $75 billion to our state economy alone,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President.  “Farmers work tirelessly to provide unlimited opportunities for all Americans through abundant food and renewable energy, while at the same time, providing a clean environment, a strong economy, and ensuring national security.”


Facts on agriculture:

  • on average, a farmer receives only 15.8 cents on every food dollar, the other costs come from distribution, retailing, processing, marketing, and wholesaling;
  • every American farmer feeds about 144 people;
  • a dairy cow produces 1,500 gallons, or 6,000 quarts of milk in a year;
  • every year, each person in the United States uses the equivalent of one tree, 100 feet tall and 16 inches in diameter, for their wood and paper needs;
  • Americans eat about 125 pounds of potatoes a year, half from fresh potatoes and half in processed foods;
  • it only takes a combine 9 seconds to harvest enough wheat to make 70 loaves of bread;
  • there are about 600 kernels on every ear of corn;
  • one bushel of wheat will produce 73 one-pound loaves of bread;
  • a pig can run a 7-minute mile; and
  • one acre of soybeans can produce 82,368 crayons.


For more facts on agriculture, go to

By Katie Fitzsimmons

St. Paul (March 13, 2014) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) members return from the National Farmers Union (NFU) Convention held in Santa Fe, New Mexico. MFU in Santa Fe, NM


“The National Farmers Union Convention is such a wonderful time because farmers from all across the country get together to discuss issues that are important to family farmers, and pass policy that is used as a guide when pushing for common-sense policies in Congress ” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President.


Farmers Union delegates re-elected President Roger Johnson and elected a new Vice President, Donn Teske, who currently serves as Kansas Farmers Union president and is a fifth generation farmer. He replaces outgoing Vice President Claudia Svarstad. The National Farmers Union Board unanimously re-elected MFU President Doug Peterson as National Farmers Union Secretary.


During the convention, it was announced that the National Farmers Union Feeding America campaign raised $196,000 for those who are hungry.  MFU President Peterson served as honorary chair of the campaign.


“Everyone deserves a place at the table, but sometimes people do not have the resources needed to get the nutrition they need, and as farmers, we believe in helping those who are food insecure find their way to the table,” said Peterson. “I am very proud that Farmers Union raised $196,000 to help feed the hungry.”


MFU attendees heard from: U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack; a farm bill update panel with Sara Wyant, president, Agri-Pulse Communications; Bart Fischer, chief economist, House Agriculture Committee; Joe Shultz, Chief Economist, Senate Agriculture Committee; and Alexis Taylor, chief of staff, Farm and Foreign Agriculture Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture. There was also a state agriculture policy panel which included Colorado Agriculture Commissioner John Salazar, New Mexico Director/Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte, and Wyoming Director of Agriculture Jason Fearneyhough.


Along with passing policy, convention delegates passed seven Special Orders of Business addressing varying aspects of agriculture, which can be found here,


The Minnesota delegation included: Don Davis, former CEO of Farmers Union Industries, LLC in Redwood Falls who received the National Farmers Union Meritorious Service Award, and his wife Daphne; Tim Velde, National Farmers Union Policy Committee Chair from Granite Falls; Meghan Osterbauer of DeGraff and Caleb Schmitz of New London as part of the National Youth Advisory Council (NYAC); Bryan and Jennifer Klabunde of Waubun as members of the Farmers Union Leadership Couples' Program; Jennifer Gibson of North Mankato, Eric Hoese of Mayer, Bryce Krohn of Nicollet, and Carsten Thomas of Moorhead as part of the Beginning Farmers Institute; 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 as delegates; and 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.

By Katie Fitzsimmons

ST. PAUL (March 11, 2014) – Five Minnesotans concluded their participation in the National Farmers Union (NFU) Beginning Farmers Institute (BFI) at the NFU National Convention in Santa Fe, New Mexico March 8 - 11, 2014.  The Minnesotans are: Eric Hoese of Mayer; Carsten Thomas of Moorhead; Brent Krohn and Bryce Krohn of Nicollet; and Jennifer Gibson of North Mankato.Beginning Farmer Institute participants


“The BFI program helps beginning farmers attain more skills to navigate the road blocks and difficulties that may come upon them as they start farming,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “Knowing what resources are out there for you can make a huge difference when farming, especially a farmer just starting out.  Farmers Union wants to give this next generation a chance to succeed and to know about all the tools they have access to.”


At the NFU Convention, the BFI class reviewed United States Department of Agriculture programs, took a closer look at farming from local foods to international agriculture, and considered financial planning critical to obtaining credit.


BFI is a year-long program and is currently accepting applications for its next class. It is open to individuals who are new to farming, are in the process of transferring an operation from a relative or non-relative, or are contemplating a career in farming or ranching.  Interested applicants can download the 2014 application on the NFU website,  Applications must be postmarked on or before April 7, 2014.


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

By Katie Fitzsimmons

ST. PAUL (March 10, 2014) – Don Davis received the Meritorious Service Award this year at the National Farmers Union Convention held in Santa Fe, New Mexico March 8-11, 2014. Don recently retired from being CEO of Farmers Union Industries, LLC in Redwood Falls.NFU President Roger Johnson with Don Davis


“Don served as CEO of Farmers Union Industries, LLC, and under his direction and leadership , Farmers Union Industries has experienced steady growth and financial stability,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “It is wonderful that Don is getting recognized for all his hard work. Minnesota Farmers Union congratulates him on this very deserving award, and thanks him for all he has done for family farmers.”


Don has been with organizations throughout the Farmers Union family since 1984 when he started as the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Farmers Union Marketing and Processing Association. He worked his way up until he became the CEO of Farmers Union Industries, LLC, a position he held since 2005.

By Katie Fitzsimmons

Meghan Osterbauer & Caleb SchmitzST. PAUL (March 10, 2014) – Meghan Osterbauer, daughter of Tony and Janeen Osterbauer of DeGraff; and Caleb Schmitz, son of Terry Schmitz and Bob Thompson of New London spoke at the National Farmers Union (NFU) Convention in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in front of hundreds of Farmers Union members as part of the National Youth Advisory Council (NYAC).
“Both Meghan and Caleb show great leadership skills and incredible poise; they are impressive young adults,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President.  “Rural Minnesota is in good hands when the next generation includes people like Meghan and Caleb representing us.  I thank them for their hard-work and dedication to family farmers.”

During the NFU Convention, Meghan spoke to the convention assembly about how farming does a world of good, and Caleb spoke on how camp and the Farmers Union education program has impacted his life. They are part of the NYAC until summer 2014. The NYAC is made up of six youths who are elected by their peers during the NFU All-States Leadership Camp. NYAC duties include representing thousands of Farmers Union youth across the country while working at the annual NFU Convention. These young Farmers Union leaders also help plan the next year’s NFU All-States Leadership Camp.

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