According to the USDA, more than 80% of every food dollar spent by consumers goes to marketing, processing, distribution, retailing and wholesaling, leaving only 15.8 cents per food dollar for farmers! To learn more, click here.
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.
Successful Fly-in for Minnesota Farmers Union
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 members traveling to Washington to be a voice for family farmers
Together with nearly 300 other Farmers Union members from all over the country, 36 Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) members and staff will be traveling to Washington D.C. to be a voice for local family farmers in the 2017 National Farmers Union (NFU) Legislative Fly-In.
The Fly-In will begin on Sept. 11 with a visit to the United States Department of Agriculture. Afterwards, members will meet with Congressional leaders from various districts to let them know how the policies that are coming from the nation’s capital are affecting family farmers, ranchers and rural communities around the country.
“Fly-in is a great opportunity for rural Americans to make their voices heard with federal legislators,” said MFU President Gary Wertish. “They have a real chance to influence the policies that affect them most.”
This year, the main focal points for discussion will be strengthening the farm safety net in the next Farm Bill; supporting homegrown renewable energy development; and ensuring family farmers and ranchers have access to affordable, quality health care.
Members from Minnesota Farmers Union that will be participating in this year’s NFU Fall Fly-In are Doug and Barb Wertish of Faribault; Jennifer Smith of Kenyon; Eddie and Lynn Jostock of Rochester; Alan Perish of Browerville; Eunice Biel of Harmony; Judy Johnson of Preston; Ted Winter of Fulda; Brian Rohrenbach and Linda Larson of Rosemount; Carol and Steve Anderson of Foley; Anne and Peter Schwagerl of Browns Valley; Richard Moen of Clearbrook; Josh, Cindy and Kirsten VanDerPol of Kerkhoven; Jill and Aaron Chervestad of Oklee; Hunter Cardinal of Fargo, N.D.; Gene Paul of Delavan; and Ruth Kinnunen of Menahga. Traveling with MFU as a member of the media is Joe Gill, Farm Director of KASM Radio in Stearns County.
Plus MFU and Farmers Union Insurance Agency staff: Gary Wertish, MFU President; Bryan Klabunde, MFU Vice President; Rodney Allebach, Farmers Union Agency President, and his wife Linda; Thom Petersen, Director of Government Relations; Michelle Medina, Director of Renewable Energy; Laura Sherar, Executive Assistant; Brita Moore, Director of Public Relations; Glen Schmidt, Director of Education, and his fiancée Kelsey Kemling; and FUIA Agent Mike Panka, and his wife Becky.
Follow the conversation from Fly-in on social media with the hashtag #NFUFlyin17.
Send us your photos!
Do you have photos you'd like to share with us? Send them our way! We'll display our favorites at the Minnesota Farmers Union State Convention, November 17-19.
Some examples of what to send:
- Breakfasts on the Farm - County picnics - County fairs - Other county events - Highlights from your farm - Children's FFA/4-H events
Some guidelines for sending photos:
- Send a high-resolution copy of the photo - Include your name, address and a brief caption of the photo - Most smartphones have cameras that take high-enough quality photos
Send photos to MFU Public Relations Director Brita Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org by Nov. 1 to be included in the State Convention slideshow. There will be future opportunities to send photos as well!
National Farmers Union releases District Work Packet for local discussion
With members of Congress back in their states and districts for the August recess, now is the time for Farmers Union members and organizations to make their voice heard by federal-level officials. To help guide conversations on areas that are likely to come before Congress this fall, National Farmers Union (NFU) has prepared the 2017 District Work Packet, which you can find here. This document is a set of talking points on the three issues that the NFU Board selected as priorities for the upcoming NFU Fall Legislative Fly-In. They each have congressional “asks” or "calls-to-action.”
There are many issues confronting family agriculture, but to have a unified voice on three of them throughout this recess is important. It’s also a major benefit to being part of a strong, unified national organization for family farmers and ranchers. Your help in promoting district-level work during the August recess will go a very long way towards Farmers Union having both an effective fly-in and successful federal-level lobbying efforts over the course of the next year.
Visit Minnesota Farmers Union at Farmfest 2017!
Join Minnesota Farmers Union at Farmfest 2017! The event takes place at Gilfillan Estates just outside of Redwood Falls, Minn., from Aug. 1-3.
Farmfest is an annual event that brings together farmers and agricultural professionals from around the country. Elected officials will also be in attendance to hear from constituents.
“With the upcoming Farm Bill, it is important for the voices of farmers and rural residents to be heard in its development,” said MFU President Gary Wertish. “Farmfest is a great opportunity for them to talk with elected officials.”
Minnesota Farmers Union activities:
PANELS: PresidentWertish will speak as part of the National Ag Policy Roundtable at 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 2. He will also greet members of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee for the Farm Bill conversation on Aug. 3 at 9:30 a.m.
MNSURE: Allison O’Toole, CEO of MNSure, and representatives will visit the MFU hoop barn from 10:30-11:30 a.m. on Aug. 2 to answer questions and visit with MFU members.
AGRABILITY: Representatives from Agrability will be in the MFU hoop barn all three days to talk about how they can help farmers with disabilities and demonstrate Rollover Protection Systems (ROPS).
AGRITOURISM SIGNS: MFU will have signs available for members and farmers at our hoop barn. Agritourism signs explain to consumers the risks of visiting a farm.
PIZZA: MFU will have pizza from Big River Pizza available at our hoop barn. Additionally, Minnesota Farm Families of the Year may use a coupon for one FREE pizza pie at the barn, or 50 percent off a pizza at Big River’s location in St. Paul.
The MFU hoop barn is located just west of the forum building in lot 509.
Minnesota Farmers Union to Host Rural Voices Discussions on 2018 Farm Bill
With talks underway in Congress for the next Farm Bill, Minnesota Farmers Union invites rural citizens to attend two Rural Issue Discussions about what’s essential to the bill.
“The Next Farm Bill: A Rural Voices Discussion” will be held on July 26 in Mankato and July 27 in Willmar. Both sessions are open to the public.
“It is important that Congress hears the voices of real farmers and rural residents as part of the discussion on the 2018 Farm Bill,” said MFU President Gary Wertish.
Wertish and National Farmers Union Senior Vice President of Public Policy Rob Larew will serve on the listening panel at both sessions. Representatives from Minnesota Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar will be on hand to listen, as well as Hunger Solutions and Feeding America. Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture Andrea Vaubel will be at the Mankato session, and MDA Director of Government Affairs Whitney Place will attend the Willmar session.
The Mankato session will be from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at Morson-Ario VFW Post 9713, 1900 N. Riverfront Drive, Mankato. The Willmar session will be from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at Willmar American Legion Post 167, 220 19th Ave SW, Willmar.
For more information, contact Bruce Miller at 651-470-5438 or Brita Moore at 651-308-2435.
MFU to Hold Water Quality and Soil Health Day
ORONOCO, Minn. — Minnesota Farmers Union invites members and the public to learn about water quality and healthy soil initiatives on Aug. 11. The event will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., beginning at People’s Energy Cooperative, 1775 Lake Shady Ave. S., Oronoco.
In the morning, speakers will include farmers discussing their practices; Minnesota Deputy Agriculture Commissioner Matt Wohlman on the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program; Anna Henderson from Governor Mark Dayton’s office on the governor’s 25 By ’25 water quality initiative; and University of Minnesota professor Don Wyse on the Forever Green project. MFU will provide lunch for the event.
Following lunch, a field tour will be held at Rod Sommerfield’s farm, which is five miles north of Oronoco.
The farm visit will include additional speakers from companies and government agencies, as well as demonstrations on regenerative management and cover cropping. The farm will also feature a soil pit and equipment display area. MFU will provide a bus to the farm, or individuals may drive to the site. Watch for signs the day of the event. View a full agenda at www.mfu.org.
The event is free. Although pre-registration is not necessary, it is appreciated. For more information or to pre-register, please contact the MFU office at 651-288-4067 or Field Representative Dori Klein at email@example.com by Aug. 7.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 651-288-4068 (office) or 651-308-2435 (cell).
MFU sees positive progress for Agriculture in Legislative session
Tuesday May 30th, Governor Mark Dayton signed all of the spending bills passed by the 2017 legislature for the 2018-19 budget years. Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) was pleased to see many of the priorities the organization listed prior to session having positive outcomes for farmers including a strong agriculture budget, buffer and road ditch mowing modifications, a tax credit for agriculture land relating to school capital improvement levies, action on health care, and other important issues.
“MFU would like to thank legislators from both parties, Governor Dayton and his administration for working hard to ensure that Minnesota farmers have the resources and support they need to prosper and continue farming” said MFU President Gary Wertish.
Read more and see the highlights of the legislative session here.
Minnesota Farmers Union Hosts Bi-annual Women’s Conference in Little Falls
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) is hosting their biannual Women’s Leadership Conference Saturday, June 3, 2017 at the Franciscan Convent in Little Falls. 14 percent of family farms have women as the principal operator and 29 percent of businesses are owned by women. These numbers are growing every year.
“It is very important to invest time and education in encouraging women’s leadership,” said MFU President Gary Wertish “I personally invite all women from rural communities and urban communities to attend this year’s conference which highlights the essential pieces of launching and continuing a farm or small business. We are proud of the guests we have joining us and feel they will provide important information to those who attend.”
Lt. Governor Smith to Join Minnesota Farmers Union for Release of New Report
Lt. Governor Tina Smith, Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper, and Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture Matt Wohlman will join Minnesota Farmers Union President Gary Wertish for the release of a report documenting the results of 14 Minnesota Farmers Union Rural Issues Discussions titled: What Do Rural People Think?
Date: Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Capitol Press Corps Conference Room --- Minnesota State Capitol
Time: 11:00 AM
Over the course of two weeks, Minnesota Farmers Union hosted 14 Rural Issue Discussions around the state, involving over 450 people attending and speaking up, and which included the Lieutenant Governor, and Administration Commissioners as listeners.
Minnesota Farmers Union applauds confirmation of Sonny Perdue to lead USDA
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) today applauds the confirmation of former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) by the Senate by a bipartisan vote of 87-11. MFU also appreciates both Minnesota Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken vote in favor of the Perdue nomination.
“MFU is pleased that the vote as finally occurred and Mr. Perdue can get to work as the Secretary of Agriculture on the many pressing issues including a struggling agricultural economy, trade and the looming 2018 farm bill” said MFU President Gary Wertish.
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) together with their members across the state celebrate the 47th Earth Day on April 22, 2017. Earth Day is an annual event to celebrate the environment and raise awareness about pollution and the need for conservation efforts to protect our planet. Today more than 1 billion people across the globe participate in Earth Day activities.
“Farmers and ranchers are stewards of the land, they have the strong appreciation and understanding of just how fragile the land around them is” stated MFU President Gary Wertish. “They work hard every day to sustain and protect the land to provide a strong future for agriculture in America.” Read more here.
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.
Health Care Dominates Talk at Rural Community Meeting
Monday,Minnesota Farmers Union hosted the first of more than a dozen meetings on the pressing issues facing our local farming communities. We were in Oronoco with the heads of several state agencies.
Several farmers were also there to tell us where they think the most work is needed.
“It’s always good when you can get people together who are from different areas,” said Alison Peters.
Minnesota’s Department of Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper was a guest at Monday's meeting.
“So we have some real challenges with the department of human services right now with what’s happening federally, we have bills moving through congress, or not moving any longer through congress that negatively impacts Minnesotan’s lives,” she said.
But farmers say one of the biggest issues for the farming community is health care.
“Rising cost of healthcare impacts greater Minnesota disproportionally,” said Piper.
To view the full article written by KAAL and the television piece go here:
Minnesota Farmers Union hosts Rural Issues Discussions to allow the voices of family farmers and rural residents to be heard on important issues impacting their families and communities
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) has scheduled 15 Rural Issues Discussions from far Southeast Minnesota to far Northwest Minnesota, and many in between to hear directly from farmers and rural residents about the important issues affecting farmers and rural communities. Key stakeholders have been invited to participate in the discussions.
Among them are Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith, and Commissioners: Mike Rothman of Department of Commerce, Emily Johnson Piper of Department of Human Services, Dave Frederickson of Department of Agriculture, and Deputy Commissioner Matt Wohlman Department of Agriculture. Also joining us to talk about the Farm Bill is Vice President of Government Affairs and Communication for National Farmers Union, Rob Larew. Larew previously served as a staff member for United States House Agriculture Committee member, Collin Peterson.
Read more and see the schedule of the Rural Issues Meetings here.
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 members attending the National Farmers Union Convention hosted in San Diego
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) members will be attending the National Farmers Union (NFU) 115th Anniversary Convention that is being held at the Catamaran Resort in San Diego, CA, March 5-8, 2017.
“The National Farmers Union Convention consists of delegates from around the country coming together to discuss key agricultural issues and build a true grassroots policy,” said Gary Wertish, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “The policies we agree upon at the NFU convention are the policies that drive our focus and engagement for the year ahead in our work on federal policy. As always we have a strong representation coming from Minnesota Farmers Union and I expect another great National Farmers Union convention.” Read more here.
Nobles County Farmers Union President, Ted Winter, to Attend Trump Speech
Nobles County Farmers Union President and Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) Executive Board member, Ted Winter will attend President Donald Trump’s address to Congress Tuesday, February 28th as the guest of Rep. Tim Walz.
Mr. Winter is the owner and operator of Winter Agency, which works closely with the Farmers Union Insurance Agency, Inc. to provide property, casualty, life, crop, and health insurance in Windom, Minnesota. Winter also owns and operates a 250-acre crop farm near Fulda, Minnesota.
“It is an honor to attend this address to Congress as guest of Congressmen Walz, I appreciate the efforts he has made on both health care and farm bill issues as well as using a common sense approach in working with farmers and rural Minnesotans,” stated Winter. MFU President Gary Wertish added “MFU appreciates the importance of Rep. Walz inviting a farmer to this speech as his guest to highlight the importance the role farmers play in his district.”
Winter was recently elected to the Executive Board of the Minnesota Farmers Union to represent Southwestern Minnesota. Winter has played an active role in rural policy development having served 16 years in the state legislature and as Majority Leader and has played an active role in MFU policy development for many years.
FFA 2016 MFU Essay Contest Winner
Congratulations to Katie Benson from the Staple-Motley FFA for winning the 2016 Minnesota Farmers Union Essay Contest.
Thom Petersen, Legislative Director for Minnesota Farmers Union, was able to catch up the the Staples-Motley FFA Group during FFA Day on the hill to present Katie, along with her advisor Kerry Lindgren, with the $1,000 scholarship for their FFA Chapter.
Minnesota Farmers Union’s Board of Directors meets elect new Vice President, State Secretary and to discuss legislative priorities.
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
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.
After 34 years of serving as State Secretary, Bessie Klose announced last week that she will not be running again for this position.
Minnesota Farmers Union wants to personally thank Bessie for all of her hard work, meticulous notes, and true dedication to serving the organization.
Bessie and the Klose family have been family to Farmers Union for several decades and we look forward to many more years of friendship, membership and her famous lefsa.
Any active farm member who is interested in filling the role that Bessie has for so many years, can find the filing form on the right hand side of the homepage. Nominations can be taken up until the election during the full board meeting on February 18, 2017 which will be held at the MFU state office.
Any questions can be directed to the state office staff at 651-639-1223.
Minnesota Farmers Union Elects New President
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.
National Farmers Union 115th Annual Convention to be held in San Diego, CA
NFU's 115th Anniversary Convention will gather family farmers and ranchers from across the country, industry professionals and notable speakers at the Catamaran Resort Hotel in San Diego, Calif, in March 2017.
The convention provides NFU members and attendees the opportunity to learn, collaborate and grow through thoughtful discussions, breakout sessions and farm tours. We are pleased to offer attendees new learning opportunities this year while maintaining a focus on the issues that matter most to our family farmers and ranchers, such as the economy and defending the farm safety net.
The state of the farm economy and the upcoming Farm Bill will be a primary focus for the convention’s keynote speakers and panel discussions, while an agricultural tour day will focus on local agriculture and cooperative learning.
Minnesota Farmers Union sets 2017 Legislative priorities
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) with grass-roots input from its farmer-membership has set protecting agricultural portions of the state budget, addressing property tax and health care concerns, as well as addressing the struggling farm economy as top priorities for the 2017 legislative session which begins Tuesday January 3rd.
“MFU is hopeful that with the state budget surplus, legislators will be able to provide some property tax and health care relief for farmers”, said interim MFU President Gary Wertish, who added “MFU will be working with our farmers to ensure that rural Minnesota is represented in those discussions”.
Read Minnesota Farmers Union 2017 priorities here.
Gary Wertish to serve as interim President for Minnesota Farmers Union
Effective Monday January 2nd, 2017 Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) will be led on an interim basis by Gary Wertish who previously served as the organization’s Vice- President. Wertish, a Renville County farmer replaces Doug Peterson who retired December 31st and served as MFU President for the past 14 years. Wertish has long been active in public farm policy and MFU, having served as the organizations Vice-President for the past 5 years.
“MFU is focused right now on the beginning of the Minnesota Legislative session and working with the new administration in Washington D.C. and our members of Congress” said Wertish. “I look forward to working with lawmakers to address health care, taxes and other issues to help our farmers who face a challenging farm economy.”
Wertish will serve until a special election will be held Saturday January 21st, 2017 at the Minnesota Farmers Union office, where MFU County Presidents from around the state will vote on filling the remaining year on Peterson’s two year term. Wertish has filed for the Presidential election as have former Senators Lyle Koenen of Chippewa County, and Senator Vicki Jensen of Steele County.
**Updated 1/2/2017 at 3:25 p.m. upon notice that Mr. Harmon Wilts of Swift County has rescinded his intent to run for President of Minnesota Farmers Union**
Minnesota Farmers Union President returns from meeting at the Vatican
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President, Doug Peterson, announced his retirement last month from MFU, but took on the role on final time as an advocate for American family farmers in a meeting with the Pope and Vatican staff to discuss the importance of farming in the World.
During the meeting which was held in Rome at the Vatican, Pope Francis endorsed and blessed the efforts of Minnesota Farmers Union and Catholic Rural Life to support family farmers in the United States and worldwide. Pope Francis spoke of dignity and value of farmers. He also spoke of the need to move farmers and rural people from the margins of society and economy to the main stream. Read more here.
MFU Saddened by Passing of Two Lifelong Members
MFU is extremely saddened by the passing of two lifelong and integral members: Archie Baumann and Merlyn Hubin.
We will post information here as it becomes available.
NFU Applauds Inclusion of FSA Funding in Congressional Spending Package
As the 114th Congress works to pass a spending bill that would fund the government through April 2017, National Farmers Union (NFU) is pleased that the package considers the plight of the farm economy. The continuing resolution includes a provision to ensure that the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (FSA) can keep up with the mounting demand for farm operating loans given the state of the farm economy.
“We applaud Congress for listening to the requests of family farmers and ranchers and providing funds in the continuing resolution for FSA to meet the record-demand for operating loans. Providing additional funding to FSA before the next fiscal year will help alleviate those producers waiting on direct operating loans and allow more applicants to access capital,” said NFU President Roger Johnson.
Earlier this year, FSA reached the funding cap for direct operating loans. NFU supported the agency’s decision to reprogram funds to assist more than 1,900 approved applicants awaiting FSA direct operating loans, but asked for additional solutions to aid struggling producers.
Read the full release from National Farmers Union here.
Minnesota Farmers Union 75th annual state convention closes with strong policy in place, special orders passed and a farewell to long serving President.
The Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) held its 75th annual state convention on Saturday November 19 and Sunday November 20, 2016. The grassroots organization took to the floor several key issues that are important to the family farmers of Minnesota. The realigned policy will set forth a strong agenda for the organization in the upcoming legislative year.
President Doug Peterson expressed gratitude and honor for being able to serve as the state president of the organization for 14 years. “I have spent the majority of my live fighting for the family farmer and the last 14 years being the voice for the members of the Minnesota Farmers Union, the fight will never end for me, I will always be a farmer and I will continue to be a part of Farmers Union. The support and respect the members of this organization have for the life on the farm and for each other is something I can’t imagine being away from.” Read more here
View 2016 Special Orders
The MFU delegates debated special orders of business at the 2016 Minnesota Farmers Union Annual Convention. They worked together addressing the concerns with the upcoming Farm Bill, Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), and Health Care. You can view the Special Orders below.
Click images below to see highlights from the 2016 MFU Convention
USDA Accepting Nominations for Trade Advisory Committees
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in cooperation with the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), is accepting nominations for new members to serve on its agricultural trade advisory committees. Nominations received by Nov. 18, 2016, will be considered for the next round of appointments.
Members of the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC) advise USDA and USTR on operating existing U.S. trade agreements, on negotiating new agreements and on other trade policy matters. Members of the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committees (ATACs) represent specific commodity sectors and provide technical advice and guidance on trade issues that affect both domestic and foreign production. The six ATACs focus on trade in:
• Animals and animal products; • Fruits and vegetables; • Grains, feed, oilseeds and planting seeds; • Processed foods; • Sweeteners and sweetener products; and • Tobacco, cotton and peanuts.
Committee members represent a cross-section of U.S. food and agricultural stakeholders and must have knowledge of agriculture and trade matters. Committee members, who serve four-year terms, must be U.S. citizens, qualify for a security clearance, and serve without compensation for time, travel or expenses. The committees generally meet in Washington, D.C., at least twice a year.
Nominations must be received by 5 p.m. ET on Nov. 18, 2016. Nominations received after that date will be considered for future appointments as appropriate to maintain staggered terms. All nomination materials should be mailed in a single, complete package to: Thomas Vilsack, Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-1001, Attn: APAC/ATACs. Courtesy electronic copies of the nomination materials should be sent to ATACs@fas.usda.gov.
Minnesota Farmers Union Makes Announcement on the Election Results
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) congratulates the winners of last nights election and urges that promises to rural Minnesota and rural America follow through and that all parties come together to work to build a thriving farm economy. "Rural Minnesota faces many challenges in the coming year with failing commodity prices and climbing debt, we need to work together for balanced trade, sensible regulations and a farm bill that provides an adequate safety net to protect our farmers from catastrophic losses." says Doug Peterson, President of Minnesota Farmers Union.
MFU will be addressing many issues at our 75th annual convention November 19-20, 2016 in Minneapolis at the Ramada Plaza Hotel. Delegates from all over the state will debate farm bill, trade, health care, property taxes and other issues. "MFU stands ready to work with all parties at both the State and Federal level to support and enhance the lives of Minnesota farmers and rural Minnesota" added President Peterson.
Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson Distinguished Friend of Extension
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President, Doug Peterson, was named 2016 Distinguished Friend of Extension Tuesday October 4, 2016.
The Distinguished Friend of Extension award was announced on Tuesday by Dean Bev Durgan who said that Peterson’s advocacy “has strengthened Extension’s ability to create a strong Minnesota.” Read more here.
Minnesota Farmers Union President Announces Retirement
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President, Doug Peterson, announced that he is retiring on December 31, 2016.
Peterson has been MFU President since 2002 and is the second longest serving president in MFU history. In his announcement to his board, Peterson states “He has had the honor and privilege of leading the best farm organization in Minnesota. Together we have made major differences for family farmers.”
Peterson reflected on his beliefs that he has taken Minnesota Farmers Union forward and has elevated its standing among the family farmers of Minnesota and the nation.
Peterson plans on staying active in politics and policy, and will continue to live on his family farm near Madison, MN.
NFU to Add Agriculture Policy Veteran to Lead Public Policy and Communications
National Farmers Union (NFU) today hired a veteran agriculture policy specialist to lead the organization’s policy team through the upcoming Farm Bill. Robert Larew will join NFU as Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Communications on November 14.
Larew has more than 20 years of public service, working on both Capitol Hill and for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). He is currently serving as the minority staff director on the House Agriculture Committee.
“Rob’s agricultural roots and extensive experience working on the last four Farm Bills will serve our family farmers and ranchers well. We are pleased to welcome him to the Farmers Union organization,” said Roger Johnson, president of NFU.
Prior to serving on the Committee, Larew worked as an agriculture legislative assistant and legislative director for U.S. Representative Collin Peterson (D-Minn.). He also served as a legislative assistant for the late U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.) and as director of congressional and public affairs at Food Safety Inspection Service at USDA.
“I'm excited to continue my work in agriculture by joining the premier organization dedicated to supporting family farmers, ranchers, and rural communities,” Larew said.
Raised on a dairy farm in West Virginia, Larew received a Bachelor of Science degree in Dairy Science from Virginia Tech.
Tim Walz Blog on NFU website - The Future of Agriculture and Veterans in Farming
By 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
Minnesota & National Farmers Union Make Their Voices in Washington, D.C. and the 2016 Fall Fly-In Comes to a Close
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) members joined nearly 300 fellow farmers, ranchers and rural citizens from across the country in Washington, D.C., Sept. 12-14, for the National Farmers Union 2016 fall legislative fly-in.
Minnesota Farmers Union fly-in participants were able to meet with several U.S. Senators and Congressman to be able to express their concerns and the need for change in the agriculture industry of the country in order to protect the future of family farmers. Read more here.
38 Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) members joining others in Washington, D.C. to be a voice for family farmers.
Together with nearly 300 other Farmers Union members from all over the country, 38 Minnesota Farmers Union members will be travelling to Washington D.C. to be a voice for local family farmers in the 2016 National Farmers Union (NFU) Legislative Fly-In. The Fly-In will begin Monday, September 12, 2016 with a visit to the USDA. Afterwards members will meet with Congressional leaders from various districts to let them know how the policies that are coming from the nation’s capital are affecting family farmers, ranchers and rural communities around the country. Read more here.
MFU Supports 4H-ers, Puts on a Sensational Cooking Show and Honors Prince in the 2016 State Fair year.
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU), Farmers Union Insurance Agency, and Farmers Union Industries were proud to support many 4-Hers during the 4H auction on Saturday August 27th, at the Minnesota State Fair. Minnesota Farmers Union own, Doug Peterson was one of the guest auctioneers during the live 4-H auction. MFU & associate buyers worked together to contribute records amounts to support four (4) 4-Hers.
· Grand Champion Market Sheep, raised by Riley Arthur, Steele County
· Grand Champion Market Meat Goat, raised by Thomas Sell of Cottonwood County
· Reserve Champion Market Beef, raised Gavin Mulder of Jackson County
· Reserve Champion Market Gilt, raised by Elizabeth Thome of Mower County
Minnesota Cooks program celebrated respected farmers and highlighted premier Minnesota chefs and cooks who serve locally-produced foods on August 28, 2016 in Carousel Park. The live cooking show hosted by Mary Lahammer from Twin Cities Public Television and JD Fratzke from The Strip Club Meat & Fish was a grand success and provided and educational outreach to all who attended on the importance of local foods in our restaurants and recipes. Read more here.
Join Minnesota Farmers Union for coffee, Ag discussion and the new Blueberry Aronia Coffee Cake Ice Cream on a stick!
Do you like to sit down with a great cup of coffee and have a good conversation? Well you can have that at the Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) booth at the State Fair as well. Come by 1635 Dan Patch Avenue to the MFU booth where farmers and consumers can exchange ideas over a cup of our delicious Farmers Choice coffee. New this year, MFU will also have a new treats to enjoy, a Blueberry Aronia Coffee Cake Ice Cream Bar on a stick along with the favorites form last year a Gluten-free Blueberry Chipotle Sweet Corn Honey Muffin, or a Maple Bacon Caramel Roll, and the always favored Mocha on a stick or State Fair favorite Frappe! More here.
Help Field Day
Thank you to Strohfus farms for hosting a hemp field day. This was a great way to connect the farm with the information that is starting to be put together about the production and benefits of the industrial hemp. We look forward to supporting initiatives to help farmers produce and market industrial hemp int he future.
Minnesota Farmers Union President and National Farmers Union President to participate in two separate panels during Farmfest.
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President, Doug Peterson, and National Farmers Union (NFU) President, Roger Johnson, will both be sitting on panels to cover some of the important agricultural topics in America right now.
On Tuesday August 2, 2016 at 10:30 a.m. in the Wick’s Building, Doug Peterson will be on a panel that will be discussing agricultural and rural issues. Doug will be joined by congressional candidates, Congressman Tim Walz, Congressman Tom Emmer, Congressman Collin Peterson, Jim Hogedorn, Steve Williams, David Snyder, David Huges and Amanda Hinson. He will be joined by other agricultural leaders, Kevin Paap MN Farm Bureau President, Teresia Gillie, President of Mn Soybean Growers Assn, Dick Hagen, The Land newspaper, and Andrea Johnson, MN Farm Guide Newspaper. Read more here.
Take your picture on a chopper at the Minnesota Farmers Union Farmfest Booth!
Join Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) at the 2016 Farmfest at Gilfillan Estates, just outside of Redwood Falls, Minnesota, from Tuesday August 2nd to Thursday August 4th. There will be hundreds of Farmers and Ag industry leaders at this year’s Farmfest, many great discussions in the Wick building and tons to see. Read more here.
Minnesota Farmers Union Holds Renewable Energy Working Session and Solar Open House
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) recently moved into their new office at 305 Roselawn Ave E in Saint Paul. Our focus while remodeling the building prior to moving in last December has been renewable energy and a MN based vision on implementing it as soon as possible.
Together with Novel Energy Solutions, MFU installed solar panels on the roof to generate a portion of their energy. June 22 & 23, 2016 MFU hosted a Renewable Energy working session and open house to discuss the importance of renewable energy in the agricultural communities and the benefits that it holds for family farmers. Read more here.
Highlights from the 2016 Focus on the Future Retreat (click here)
Minnesota Farmers Union Hosts Focus on the Future Retreat in June
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) prepares to host its fourth semi-annual leadership retreat, Focus on the Future, June 12-14th in Breezy Point, MN. The leadership retreat is focused on young family farmers and the successful future of farming in rural communities of Minnesota.
“Our Focus on the Future retreat has been very successful and has brought together young and new farmers with experienced and established farmers to help build connections while attending educational break-out sessions throughout the retreat” said MFU President, Doug Peterson. “We focus on successful farming and helping to establish the tools that young and new farmers need in a time where farming is vulnerable to commodity and input prices. The need for farmers is evident by the rising rate of communities with food insecurities, and climate change being at the top of the lists of concerns in many communities. Farmers are the link to changes in all of these areas and we work hard to educate the next generation of family farmers on how to be successful and do their part in the change.” Read more here.
Minnesota Farmers Union pleased with Legislative session
The Minnesota Legislature concluded its regular business Monday May 23rd, Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) saw many positive pieces included for agriculture. “When the session started MFU’s top legislative priorities were addressing property taxes, rural broadband, clarifying the new buffer law and extending the Farmer-Lender Mediation Act as well as other priorities” said MFU President Doug Peterson. Read more here.
Minnesota Farmers Union Statement on Proposed RFS Volume Targets
Minnesota Farmer Union (MFU) is discouraged in viewing the proposal that was released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The proposal of the RFS renewable volume obligations (RVO) for 2017, are at 18.8 billion gallons: 4 billion blended gallons of advanced biofuels (like biodiesel) and 14.8 billion gallons of conventional biofuels (like ethanol), into ours nation’s fuel supply, which falls more than 5 billion gallons. Read more here.
Minnesota Farmers Union focuses on climate change and the family farmer on the 2016 Earth day
Minnesota Farmers Union focuses on climate change and the family farmer on the 2016 Earth day. Our energy needs to be bonded together to create solutions through grassroots policy which can help find the solutions to address climate change. Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) along with National Farmers Union (NFU) are commending the continued progress towards environmental sustainability in observance of Earth Day. Read more here.
Minnesota Farmers Union President to attend U of MN roundtable with Dr. Sally Rockey
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President, Doug Peterson, will attend a round table hosted by the University of Minnesota on April 25, 2016. This is the inaugural director of the USDA’s Food and Agriculture Foundation (FFAR), and this will be a session that will listen to feedback from the agricultural industry leaders to hear about research needs in agriculture and to also work together to conceptualize on innovative partnerships and projects. Read more here.
Minnesota Farmers Union Has Solar Panels Installed on New Office
Minnesota Farmer Union (MFU) moved into their new office in December of 2015. Prior to their move they remodeled the old office space and kept a green focus on the project with a MN based prospective. Learn more here.
Minnesota Farmers Union Opposed to Furth Rail Consolidation, Please with Withdrawal of Canadian Pacific Railway Merger
Minnesota Farmer Union (MFU) is very pleased to hear that Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd (Canadian Pacific) was terminating its efforts to merge with Norfolk Southern Corp (Norfolk Southern). This has been a big concern for Farmers Union. The prospect of a merger only concentrates the rail service and increases marketing and shipping costs to family farmers and county elevators. This merger would have consolidated two of the remaining seven Class I railway companies. Class I railroads account for 69 percent of the U.S. freight rail mileage and 90 percent of its employees. They operate in 44 states across the country and concentrate on long-haul intercity traffic.
“Family farmers depend on the rail transportation to move their products to the market in order to compete in the agricultural industry,” stated MFU President Doug Peterson “it’s a concentration issue, a merger would provide no real solutions to improve efficiencies and reduce cost to farmers, which leaves family farmers captive to the rail road owners.”
Since the Staggers Rail Act of 1980 deregulated the railroad industry, more than 40 Class I transport rail companies consolidated to form the seven companies that exist today. MFU worried that the merger between Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd and Norfolk Southern Corp could potentially elicit additional railroad mergers. Large consolidations such as this will increase the experiences that family farmers and ranchers have already experience, including increased freight charges, and service problems.
Minnesota Farmers Union Member from Northfield, MN in Rice County Creates Stunning Landmark Sculpture for Minnesota Farmers Union
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.
NFU Beginning Farmer Institute Accepting Applications for 2016-17 Class
Cultivating the next generation of farmers and ranchers to carry on the legacy of American agriculture is the main focus of the National Farmers Union (NFU) Beginning Farmer Institute. NFU encourages new farmers, starting an operation of any size, to apply for the 2016-17 program class.
NFU to Survey Family Farmers and Ranchers on 2014 Farm Bill Policies
With the 2014 Agricultural Act in full effect and a new Farm Bill debate on the horizon, the National Farmers Union (NFU) is conducting a survey of family farmers and ranchers across the country to gain a greater understanding of the effectiveness of these programs. Read more here.
Minnesota Farmers Union applauds leading companies in GMO labeling
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) supports several large national food companies for their initiative to start GMO labeling before a Nationwide labeling law is or is not put into place.
July 1st of 2016 Vermont will become the first state to require mandatory GMO notification on package labels. Rhode Island is also currently debating whether or not to require food companies to babel products that contain GM ingredients. The bill that is being discussed in Rhode Island would affect all raw and packed food products with genetically engineered ingredients. Maine and Connecticut have passes laws that require such labeling already. Read more here.
Highlights from the 2016 National Farmers Union Convention
Click on a photo to scroll through all highlight photos available for viewing (320 photos)
Minnesota Farmers Union Vice President, Gary Wertish, spoke on behalf of rural MN in support of Senator Sheran & Representative Johnson’s waiver request for Affordable healthcare.
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) Vice President, Gary Wertish spoke on behalf of rural Minnesotans and family farmers at a press conference hosted by Senator Sheran and Representative Johnson. The press conference introduced legislation that seeks a federal waiver to extend options for affordable healthcare coverage in Minnesota. Read more here.
USDA Commits $260 Million Available for Regional Conservation Partnership Program
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) today announced the availability of up to $260 million for partner proposals to improve the nation's water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability. The funding is being made available through NRCS’ innovative Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) and applicants must be able to match the federal award with private or local funds. Learn more here.
Minnesota Farmers Union President Nominated to Engage Cuba Minnesota State Council
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President, Doug Peterson has been nominated by Senator Amy Klobuchar and Congressman Tom Emmer to be a member of the Engage Cuba Minnesota State Council. Read more here.
Minnesota Farmers Union Celebrates Ag Week, and Emphasizes the Importance of Agriculture and a Healthy Planet.
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) celebrates National Ag week this week (March 13-19, 2016). Ag Day, which is celebrated on March 15, 2016, is a day to recognize and celebrate all that agriculture provides to our communities. Read more here.
Minnesota Farmers Union President, Doug Peterson, re-elected as NFU Secretary
Family farmers and ranchers are the best advocates for agriculture, and over the last four days, the National Farmers Union (NFU) has provided more than 500 members and delegates of the 114th Anniversary Convention with the advocacy tools they need to be better informed about topics important to farm policy and the industry.
Throughout the convention, several high-level officials highlighted the program, speaking about the opportunities and challenges facing American agriculture today. In addition to a special video message from President Barack Obama, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and General Wesley Clark gave keynote remarks. Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton (D), U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.), and U.S. Representative Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) also addressed the convention. Read more here.
Minnesota Farmers Union delegates return home from the 2016 National Farmers Union Convention held in Minneapolis, MN
Family farmers and ranchers from around the country together at the Radisson Blu in the Mall of America to discuss the grass-roots policy of National Farmers Union.
“We came to Minneapolis from farms and ranches that operate thousands of acres to farms that operate less than half an acre. We have full-time farmers and part-time farmers as members. And yet, we all share a common bond because in many ways we face the exact same challenges. We all make NFU a much stronger organization,” said NFU President Roger Johnson during his State of the Farmers Union address. Read more here.
Minnesota Farmers Union members attending the National Farmers Union Convention hosted in Minnesota
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) members will be attending the National Farmers Union (NFU) Convention right here in Minnesota at the Radisson Blu in Mall of America, March 5-8, 2016.
“The National Farmers Union Convention is true grassroots policy-making at its finest, delegates from across the country come together to discuss important topics that are affecting farmers every day.” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President, “We have a strong representation coming from Minnesota Farmers Union and I expect another great National Farmers Union convention that we are proud to be hosting this year at the Radisson Blu in the Mall of America” Read more and see full list of attendees here.
Lt. Governor Smith, Commissioners Zelle and Frederickson to Discuss Transportation Needs with Willmar Farmers and Business Leaders
Doug Peterson, President of Minnesota Farmers Union, will moderate a transportation town hall. Lt. Governor Smith, Commissioners, and members of the Minnesota House and Senate will discuss local transportation needs, including improvements to Highway 23. Read more here.
National Farmers Union Brings Annual Convention to Minnesota
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President, Doug Peterson welcomes the 114th National Farmers Union (NFU) convention to the Radisson Blu in Mall of America March 5-8, 2016.
“The last time that NFU hosted their convention in Minnesota was in 1968,” said Peterson, “we are looking forward to welcoming all members of Farmers Union back to Minnesota and expect to have a full discussion about the policies that are affecting America’s family farmers. This discussion will build the policy that Farmers Union will use when we fight for family farmers at the legislature.” Read more here.
Minnesota Farmers Union Member Appointed to PCA Citizen Advisory Board
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) member, Ted Winter has been appointed by Governor Dayton, along with seven other members of the Governor’s committee, to advise the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. This is a four year term and they will meet on a regular basis to guide the direction and enforcement of the state’s environmental protection laws.
“I have known Ted for many years, and I have respected the work that he has done for rural Minnesota and family farmers,” said Minnesota Farmers Union President, Doug Peterson, “I appreciate the Governor’s choice of appointees and I feel that Ted will serve the community well on this committee.”
Congratulations to the 2016 Minnesota Farmers Union Executive Board. Newly appointed Al Perish, will take over for Markell Vogt who served proudly at the MFU Executive Board for 19 years! (L to R: (front) Merlyn Hubin, MFU President Doug Peterson (back) MFU Vice President, Gary Wertish, Eunice Biel, Larry Jacobson, Dave Johnson, MFU State Secretary Bessie Klose, Alan Perish).
Minnesota Farmers Union’s Board of Directors meets prior to the 2016 Legislative session starting
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. “Minnesota Farmers Union is a grass-roots based organization and our policies are voted on and developed by our farmer-members, and we work to ensure farmers’ voices are heard. The meeting allows for continued, open communication with our county presidents so we all know what is at stake in the coming year, as the legislature is set to begin soon.” Read more here.
Minnesota Farmers Union honors FFA during this year’s National FFA week
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) along with over 600,000 students will celebrate FFA week February 20-27, 2016.
“FFA provides the opportunities personal growth and success in our future generations of family farmers; this is how the agricultural sector is able to maintain the level that they are at and contributing to the future of feeding America. We thank and salute FFA for their hard work.” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. Read more here.
Secretary Vilsack, General Clark announced as Keynote Speakers at National Farmers Union Convention in Minnesota
Farmers and ranchers attending the National Farmers Union (NFU) 114th Anniversary Convention will have the opportunity to hear from high-ranking experts in food and ag policy. NFU is pleased to announce U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and General Wesley Clark as keynote speakers at the annual convention, which kicks off March 5th in Minneapolis, Minn. Read more here.
Minnesota & National Farmers Union Release Statement on Syngenta Merger with ChemChina
In response to the merger announced today between Syngenta AG and China National Chemical Corporation, National Farmers Union (NFU) and Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) have released their statements on the merger. Read more here.
Minnesota Cattlemen’s Association presents award to FUI’s Artex Manufacturing
Artex Manufacturing in Redwood Falls knows being a farmer is tough, so those who design, build, market and deliver its products do it with those farmers in mind. Read more here.
Minnesota Farmers Union states key issues for the 2016 legislative session
With input from its family farmer based membership, Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) has shares some if it’s top key issues that they are looking at for the 2016 legislative session. Read more here.
Minnesota & National Farmers Union Recognize Women’s Contribution to Agriculture
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President, Doug Peterson and National Farmers Union (NFU) President, Roger Johnson today thanked a growing number of women in agriculture for their invaluable contributions to family farming and ranching and noted that their growing presence in farming is vital to the nation’s food security. Read more here.
Minnesota Farmers Union begins their 75th year by kicking off a new logo and with a move into a new office.
During the 74th annual convention for Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) their delegation voted to change their existing logo to a new logo to kick off their 75th year. The new logo includes three stars that represent the three branches of the Farmers Union: legislation, education, and cooperation. The waves of gold represent both field and water. In addition, the wave action also represents movement (not stagnant), which signifies an organization that is progressive and forward thinking. Read more here.
Congratulations to the 2016 National Farmers Union Convention Delegates from Minnesota!
Congratulations to (L to R) Brent Imker, Cottonwood County; Mark Thell, Carlton County; Ann Schwagerl, Big Stone County; Darin Narum, Polk County; and Trevor Jensen, Steele County on being elected as the delegates to represent Minnesota Farmers Union at the National Farmers Union Convention in March at the Radisson Blu in Blomington, MN.
Minnesota Farmers Union 74th annual state convention a success with awards, elections, policy, and special orders.
The Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) held its 74th annual state convention on Saturday, November 21 and Sunday, November 22, 2015. President Doug Peterson and Vice President Gary Wertish were re-elected to serve another two years of office. Policy and special orders were also debated and passed; and delegates were elected for the National Convention in Bloomington, MN March 5-8, 2016. Read more and see the list of this years delegates here.
Farmers will gather to talk agriculture policy at MN Farmers Union convention
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) will be holding their 74th annual state convention Saturday, November 21 and Sunday, November 22 at the Ramada Plaza in Minneapolis. The business of the convention is to debate and pass MFU policy and elect delegates to represent Minnesota Farmers Union at the National Farmers Union convention in Bloomington, MN, March 5-8, 2016. Delegate discussions will surround the WOTUS rule update, Buffers, COOL, and TPP, among other topics of concern for family farmers in Minnesota. Read more here.
MDA directory of Beginning and Transitioning Farmers Information
MDA’s website now features a directory of Beginning and Transitioning Farmer Information at www.mda.state.mn.us/protecting/sustainable/mfo/beginningfarmer. The directory is a clearinghouse of services for all types of farmers, which includes farmers seeking land, financial assistance and loans, farmer education, legal services, multi-cultural programs, networking, mentoring and transitioning, and succession planning.
MDA also created the Minnesota Farm Link, at http://www2.mda.state.mn.us/webapp/props4sale/. It’s a web-based tool designed to link farmers and farmland. Minnesota Farm Link includes all types of farming, from small fruit and vegetable farms, to large grain and livestock operations. Whether it’s helping someone find a farm, matching an experienced or retiring farmer with a beginning farmer, or exploring mentoring opportunities, the goal is to connect people.
Check these two new webpages out to see if there is information that could help you as a family farmer.
Minnesota & National Farmers Union 2015 Washington, D.C. Fly-In Comes to a Close
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) members joined nearly 300 fellow farmers, ranchers and rural citizens from across the country in Washington, D.C., Sept. 16-18, for the National Farmers Union 2015 fall legislative fly-in. Read More
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) members joining others in Washington, D.C. to be a voice for family farmers.
With Congress back in session and a potential government shut down looming, Farmers Union farm delegates from around the country will be heading to Washington D.C. to lobby for family farmers, and make sure that Congressional leaders have family farmers in mind when they push to get many bills passed in the final hours. Thirty-nine Minnesotans are heading out to Washington, D.C. to tell Congressional leaders and White House staff what if affecting family farmers here at home. Items of discussion include: Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL), Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Farmers Union members will be meeting with senators and representatives, and will also meet with officials from the United States Department of Agriculture. See who is going.
MFU Supports 4H-ers with Record Purchases at State Fair Auction
MFU Supports 4H-ers with Record Purchases at State Fair Auction
ST. PAUL (September 9, 2015) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU), Farmers Union Insurance Agency, and Farmers Union Industries were proud to support many 4-Hers during Saturday night’s 4H auction at the Minnesota State Fair. MFU & associate buyers worked together to contribute records amounts to support ten (10) 4-Hers. Read More
Minnesota Farmers Union Sponsored Program Nominated for Emmy® Award for Second Year in a Row!
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President Doug Peterson announced he and Membership Director Bruce Miller are honored to be nominated for the second year in a row as Producing Partners for the MFU-sponsored Twin Cities Public Television show Farm Fresh Road Trip, which has been nominated for an Upper Midwest Emmy® Award. The Farm Fresh Road Trip travels to restaurants across the state to film chefs using farm fresh local foods in their meals as a focus in their restaurants, as well as inform consumers about the importance of using Minnesota local foods. Read more
Presidential candidate Martin O’Malley to make an appearance at MFU building
Presidential candidate Martin O’Malley will make a campaign appearance at the Minnesota Farmers Union building. Read More
Minnesota Farmers Union Pairs Up With Local Foods Restaurant, Birchwood Café, For New Fair Food Items
Minnesota Farmers Union has paired up with Birchwood Café for their new fair food items in 2015. Learn all about them here.
MN COOKS DAY AT THE FAIR IN 2015 MARKS THE 13th ANNUAL MINNESOTA COOKS™ CELEBRATION
The first Sunday of the fair has been named by the Minnesota State Fair Board as “Minnesota Cooks Day” The Minnesota CooksTM program (www.minnesotacooks.org) at the Minnesota State Fair is excited to once again bring together local restaurants and chefs with local farmers and consumers for a day of entertaining cooking demonstrations, hot topic discussions, and free samples of farm-fresh cuisine. 2015 marks the thirteenth Minnesota Cooks celebration at the Minnesota State Fair. This year’s line-up includes an entertaining mix of Minnesota Cooks alumni and newcomers to our state’s local foods scene. Read More
Enjoy pizza and a chopper at the Minnesota Farmers Union’s Farmfest booth!
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) will be joining hundreds of Farmers and Ag industry leaders at this year’s Farmfest. Farmfest is held at Gilfillan Estate outside Redwood Falls, Minnesota on Tuesday, August 4 - Thursday, August 6. More information here
Chaska student wins FFA essay contest from Minnesota Farmers Union
ST. PAUL (July 15, 2015) – Minnesota Farmers Union would like to congratulate Anna Buckentine, daughter of John and Jeanie Buckentine of Chaska, for winning the Minnesota Farmers Union’s (MFU) FFA essay contest. Anna was awarded $1,000 for the Southwest Metro FFA Chapter and a trip to Washington, D.C. when MFU goes on their annual fly-in in September. A parent or her advisor will be accompanying her to Washington, D.C. Read more
MFU Vice President Named By Vilsack to Agricultural Trade Advisory Committee
St. Paul (July 1, 2015) – Gary Wertish, Minnesota (MFU) Vice President was one of 129 agricultural specialists names to trade advisory positions. The individuals named to the committees will play an important role as they represent one of the most important sectors to America’s export economy and they will provide advice as the discussions happen surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). This will help to play an integral part of the export opportunities for American agriculture and will hopefully be the most ambitious trade agenda ever for America’s family farmers, ranchers and businesses of all sizes. Read More
World Farmers’ Organization Assembly and Farm Faith and Environment Symposium Wrap Up in Milan, Italy
St. Paul (June 30, 2015) – Four Farmers Union officials have wrapped up their visit and deep discussions with other Ag leaders, and academics during the World Farmers’ Organization (WFO) General Assembly in Milan, Italy. Read more here
New Food Item at MFU State Fair Building, Makes the MN State Fair New Foods List in 2015
Don't miss one of the hot new items on the Mn State Fair new foods list located at our own Minnesota Farmers Union building this year.
Minnesota BEE-NICE Gluten-Free Muffin
Minnesota-grown, pollinator-friendly blueberries, sweet corn and honey with a hint of chipotle in a gluten-free cornbread muffin.
Farmers Union Delegation to Participate at World Farmers’ Organization Assembly Panel Discussions in Milan, Italy
Four Farmers Union officials will participate in panel discussions during the World Farmers’ Organization (WFO) General Assembly meeting later this month in Milan, Italy.
“I am very proud to be part of a delegation that is able to participate at the World Farmers Organization Assembly Panel” Stated Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President Doug Peterson. “To be able to bring to the table the knowledge of rural farming, and agricultural issues affecting family farmers and express the need to produce more food for an increasing global populations and recognizing food production plus environmental sustainability to such an influential organization, is truly humbling” Read more
Minnesota Farmers Union sees mixed results for agriculture in legislative session
The Minnesota Legislature recently wrapped up the 2015 legislative session with mixed results for agriculture according to the Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU). MFU President Doug Peterson says that “MFU was pleased to see many of its top priorities enacted into law this year including strong investments in partnering with farmers through livestock investment grants and value-added projects, increased funding for state meat inspection and wolf depredation as well as the creation of new incentives for advanced biofuel and biochemical projects. “ Peterson also adds that “MFU was pleased that the legislature came together to adequately address the current outbreak of avian influenza.” Read More of this Legislative Update
MFU disappointed with the COOL repeal at the U.S. House Ag Committee today
WASHINGTON (May 20, 2015) – Despite the objections from the three Minnesota members of the U.S. House Ag committee, Colin Peterson, Tim Walz, and Rick Nolan, the Committee voted today to repeal the County Of Origin Labeling rules.
These rules would have made it mandatory for producers and processors of beef, pork and chicken to label where the animals they used in their products were born, raised and slaughtered. Read More
MFU joins NFU and Kicks Off Special Spring Fly-In Focusing on Popular Country-of-Origin Labeling Law
WASHINGTON (May 19, 2015) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) joined other Farmers Union states in meeting National Farmers Union (NFU) to kick off a special Spring Fly-In of family farmers and ranchers from across the country meeting with their elected officials in Washington and underscoring their unwavering support for Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) and the need for Congress to allow the World Trade Organization (WTO) process to conclude without interference. Read More
Minnesota Farmers Union looking forward to special community meetings for women’s leadership starting this Saturday.
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) is hosting several community leadership meetings focusing on women’s leadership on several Saturdays through the spring of 2015.
Women from all across Minnesota will get together with other women leaders in their communities to build connections and network with other to help strengthen their leadership and drive in their communities. Reaad More
Minnesota Farmers Union leaders meet with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy
St. Paul, Minnesota (April 8, 2015) – On Wednesday, April 8, 2015, Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) leaders President Doug Peterson, Vice President Gary Wertish, and Legislative Director Thom Petersen, met with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to reinforce their support for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and to provide clarity to the definitions of Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS). Read More
Minnesota Farmers Union is Part of Group that is Granted Audience with Pope
St. Paul, Minnesota (March 25, 2015) – Five Farmers Union state presidents, including Doug Peterson, with Minnesota Farmers Union and National Farmers Union’s (NFU) chief counsel, David Velde, also from Minnesota, were granted an audience with Pope Francis today following a weeklong series of meetings with Vatican officials and rural-based non-governmental organizations. Read More
Farmers Union Insurance Agency Sponsors MFU Memberships to Ag Teachers Statewide
St. Paul, Minnesota (March 26, 2015) – Farmers Union Insurance Agency recently sponsored close to 400 Minnesota Farmers Union Memberships for the High School Agricultural teachers throughout the state of MN. Read More
"Thank You!" to Minnesota Family Farmers and Ranchers
ST. PAUL (March 18, 2015) – Minnesota Farmers Union would like to thank farmers and ranchers for their hard work and dedication in honor of Minnesota Agriculture Week, March 15-21, 2015. Read More
Minnesota Farmers Union introduces new program aimed at veterans
St. Paul, Minnesota (February 23, 2015) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) introduces a new program dedicated to the veterans of the armed services living and working in Minnesota.
“Our nation has a long history of support of the education and retraining of our veterans,” stated Minnesota Farmers Union President, Doug Peterson, “it is within that spirit of supporting veterans, that Minnesota Farmers Union is launching ‘MN Vets’, aimed at connecting veterans to farmers and farming.” Read more
Minnesota Farmers Union honors FFA during this year’s National FFA Week
ST. PAUL (February 20, 2015) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) along with over 600,000 students will celebrate FFA week Feb. 22-28, 2015. “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 generations of family farmers. We thank and salute FFA for their hard work in keeping not only the agriculture sector strong, but our rural and urban communities as well.” read more
Farm Groups ask for Gray Wolves to be Delisted from Endangered Species Act
This week the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) and the Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) joined together to ask the Minnesota Members of Congress to cosponsor legislation to reissue the December 2011 U.S. Department of Interior rule that would delist the Western Great Lakes Gray Wolves population in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and turn the management of the wolf back to state control. Read more here
St. Paul, Minnesota (January 6, 2015) - On Monday, January 5, 2015, the Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) sent a letter to Daniel M. Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service urging the appeal of the recent court decision by the US District Judge Beryl A. Howell that returned the gray wolf to the endangered species list in the Western Great Lakes Region including Minnesota. Read More
By Communications Director January 5, 2015 at 10:29am
St. Paul, Minnesota (Monday, January 5, 2014) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) welcomes the 2015 legislative session, and has an ambitious agenda awaiting legislators for what could be a very dynamic session.
“Top issues for Minnesota Farmers Union this session will include a strong budget for agriculture programs and property tax relief” said MFU President Doug Peterson... read more
Honoring those who have served with Minnesota Farmers Union has become one of the highlights of the Saturday night banquet during the annual Farmers Union convention. Several awards were given out at the banquet on Nevember 22, 2014, 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; Darryl Larson, 2014 Dedicated Service Award; and Grant Herfindahl, 2014 Dedicated Service Award.
To see the full list with photos of the 2014 award winnder please click here.
MFU is now offering a line of dress shirts, sweatshirts, casual wear, and bags for purchase in partnership with Rambow Inc. out of New London, Minnesota. Click here to view merchandise and place an order.