<![CDATA[-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home]]> <![CDATA[Minnesota Farmers Union urges appeal of court decision on gray wolf]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Minnesota-Farmers-Union-urges-appeal-of-court-decision-on-gray-wolf/
   By Amanda V

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 

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<![CDATA[Minnesota Farmers Union welcomes legislative session]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Minnesota-Farmers-Union-welcomes-legislative-session/
   By Communications Director

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 

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<![CDATA[2014 Minnesota Farmers Union Award Winners]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/2014-Minnesota-Farmers-Union-Award-Winners/
   By Amanda V

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.

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<![CDATA[Minnesota Farmers Union debates ag policy, elects delegates at 73rd annual state convention, Nov. 22-23, 2014]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Minnesota-Farmers-Union-debates-ag-policy-elects-delegates-at-73rd-annual-state-convention-Nov-22-23-2014/
   By Communications Director

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

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

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<![CDATA[Minnesota Farmers Union Largest Single Contributor to FFA Blue Jacket Bright Future Program]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Minnesota-Farmers-Union-Largest-Single-Contributor-to-FFA-Blue-Jacket-Bright-Future-Program/
   By Communications Director

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 


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<![CDATA[Minnesota Members Return from Washington, D.C.]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Minnesota-Members-Return-from-Washington-DC/
   By Communications Director

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

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

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

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

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

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

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<![CDATA[MFU President Doug Peterson & Memberhship Director Win Emmy Award]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-President-Doug-Peterson--Memberhship-Director-Win-Emmy-Award/
   By Communications Director

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

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

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

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

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

Farm Fresh Road Trip features six restaurants: River Rock Café in St. Peter; Zella’s in Hutchinson; Lake Avenue Café in Duluth; Foxy Falafel Food Truck in Minneapolis and St. Paul; Spanky’s Stone Hearth Restaurant in Frazee; and The Strip Club Meat and Fish in St. Paul.  The full program, or specific segments, can be seen yet on TPT’s website: http://www.mnvideovault.org/index.php?id=25083&select_index=0&popup=yes

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<![CDATA[Rail Improvement, Fair Trade Transparency, RFS and COOL dominate Farmers Union Washington, D.C. Fly-In]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Rail-Improvement-Fair-Trade-Transparency-RFS-and-COOL-dominate-Farmers-Union-Washington-DC-Fly-In/
   By Communications Director

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

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

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<![CDATA[Minnesota Cooks Celebration at the State Fair Entertains, Educates, and Entices]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Minnesota-Cooks-Celebration-at-the-State-Fair-Entertains-Educates-and-Entices/
   By Communications Director

The Minnesota Cooks program at the State Fair brings together those who value and support locally Minnesota grown food: farmers, consumers, and chefs. Onstage, chefs created dishes using fresh ingredients supplied by local farmers. Emcees Mary Lahammer of Twin Cities Public Television and JD Fratzke of The Strip Club Meat & Fish talked with chefs and a panel of farmer and local celebrity tasters in lively and meaningful discussions about their local food philosophies. At the end of each demonstration, the panel, as well as fairgoers, sampled the mouthwatering, farm-fresh fare.

“Join Minnesota Farmers Union as they present Minnesota Cooks Day at the State Fair, joining farmers, chefs and consumers in a dirt to dinner plate discussion on farm-fresh food, its availability, and challenges that farmers face in the new economy of food,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President and creator of Minnesota Cooks “The Minnesota Cooks program explores the edges of food production; some produce traditional and some non-traditional. Our discussion and dialogue with farmers, consumers and chefs will prove to be interesting and educational.”

2014 Farm and Resturant Pairings:

• Kirsten Shabaz with Valley Natural Foods demonstrated quick, healthy breakfast options.
• Mendoberri Café & Wine Bar featured apples from Wescott Orchard and Hidden Stream Farm.
• Wild Hare Bistro featured vegetables from Farmucopia.
• Tiny Diner, featured pork from Pastures A Plenty.
• Gorkha Palace, featured turkey from Ferndale market.
• Birchwood Café, featured black currants and blueberries from Blue Fruit Farm.
• Broadway Bistro, featured vegetables from Sundogs Prairie Farm.
• Wise Acre Eatery, featured bacon from Tangletown Gardens’ Farm.
• Gastrotruck, featuring mushrooms from Mississippi Mushrom.
• Terra Waconia, featuring vegetables from Pamered Pumpkin.
• Positively 3rd street bakery featured eggs from Locally Laid Egg Company.
• The Bluestem featured bison from Prairie Heights Bison.
• Mill Valley Kitchen, featured chicken from Kadejan, Inc.
• Easy & Oskey demonstrated inventive mocktails by using their popular Make Your Own Bitters Kit.
Local Celebrity and Farmer Tasters:

On hand to taste and share opinions of the fabulous food being prepared were celebrity tasters and farmers including:
• Lori Sturdevant, StarTribune
• Pakou Hang, Hmong American Farmers Association
• Roger Johnson, President of National Farmers Union
• Carrie Tollefsen, Minnesota Grown & Olympic Gold Medalist
• Monica Irwin, Budding Farmers
• Dave Fredrickson, Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture
• Paul Huginin, Minnesota Grown
• Patrick Jon Weiland, Journalist and TV Producer and Director
• Rodney Allebach, President & General Manager of MN Farmers Union Insurance Agency
• Jason DeRusha , WCCO-TV
• Mike Rothman, Minnesota Commisioner of Comerce
• Tricia Cornell, Food Writer
• Megan O’Hara, Homegrown Minneapolis
• Stephanie Meyer, Fresh Tart
• Sue Zelickson, Women Who Really Cook & Charlie Awards
• Joy Summers, Food & Beverage Writer
• Joe Rolle, Chef
• Joe Glambruno, Bad Weather Brewing

Minnesota Cooks Calendar

The beautiful 12-month Minnesota Cooks calendar will continue its tradition of debuting at the event. This publication features stunning photography, enticing stories about the rich relationships these farmers and chefs share, and stellar recipes. For the duration of the fair, this calendar will be available at Minnesota Farmers Union’s building at 1635 Dan Patch Avenue.

Emmy Nominated

Peak at some of what the Minnesota Cooks program has to offer, check out this video from one of our partners, Twin Cities Public Television, on the Farm Fresh Road Trip

Minnesota Cooks is presented by Minnesota Farmers Union. For more information:

Visit www.minnesotacooks.org
E-mail info@minnesotacooks.org
“Like” Minnesota Cooks on Facebook http://goo.gl/NmI07O

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<![CDATA[Minnesota Farmers Union sponsored program nominated for Emmy® Award]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Minnesota-Farmers-Union-sponsored-program-nominated-for-Emmy-Award/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (August 20, 2014) Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President Doug Peterson announced he and Membership Director Bruce Miller are honored to be nominated 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 well as inform consumers about the importance of using Minnesota local foods.

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

The Farm Fresh Road Show is nominated in the category: Lifestyle-Program/Special/Series. Along with Peterson and Miller, the nomination includes Twin Cities Public Television’s host, crew and leadership.  The winner will be announced at the Emmy® Gala at Target Field on September 13, 2014.

Farm Fresh Road Show features six restaurants: River Rock Café in St. Peter; Zella’s in Hutchinson; Lake Avenue Café in Duluth; Foxy Falafel Food Truck in Minneapolis and St. Paul; Spanky’s Stone Hearth Restaurant in Frazee; and The Strip Club Meat and Fish in St. Paul.  The full program, or specific segments, can be seen yet on TPT’s website: http://www.mnvideovault.org/index.php?id=25083&select_index=0&popup=yes

Minnesota Farmers Union’s work with local foods also included Minnesota Cooks™ at the Minnesota State Fair on Sunday, August 24. Additional information about this program is available at www.minnesotacooks.org

 

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<![CDATA[MFU Rewards 4H-ers with Record Purchases at State Fair Auction]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-Rewards-4H-ers-with-Record-Purchases-at-State-Fair-Auction/
   By Communications Director


ST. PAUL (August 23, 2014) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU), Minnesota Farmers Union Insurance, and Farmers Union Industries set not one, but two record prices at this year’s State Fair 4-H Purple Ribbon Livestock Auction. MFU & associated buyers contributed over $30,000 by buying the following four animals:

  • Reserve Champion Market Beef, raised Blake Heideman of Freeborn County
  • Grand Champion Market Gilt, raised by Lance Becker of Martin County
  • Reserve Champion Market Sheep, raised by Jessica Wiebe of Cottonwood County
  • Grand Champion Market Meat Goat, raised by Madeline Schultz of Rice County

“Having an animal in the Purple Ribbon Auction is a goal for many 4-H youths,” said Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson. “MFU is more than happy to support these determined individuals.”

The Purple Ribbon 4-H Auction is 101-head livestock auction that raises funds for Minnesota 4-H youth and Animal Science programs.
 

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<![CDATA[Minnesota Farmers Union interviews Sen. Franken, Conservationist Baloun, Rep. Hanson, and FFA President Roessler on Linder Farm Network]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Minnesota-Farmers-Union-interviews-Sen-Franken-Conservationist-Baloun-Rep-Hanson-and-FFA-President-Roessler-on-Linder-Farm-Network/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (August 21, 2014) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President Doug Peterson hosted a live interview of Senator Al Franken, State Conservationist Don Baloun, Representative Rick Hansen & MN FFA President Jack Roessler. The interview was aired by Lynn Ketelsen on the Linder Farm Network radio.

“The State Fair is a great place to see the politicians of Minnesota—so remember to always ask them hard questions to keep them on their toes” joked MFU President Doug Peterson. Asking Franken his plan for avoiding propane shortages this year and his stance on Country of Origin Labeling did just that.

MFU would like to thank Lynn Ketelsen for his skills airing this interview and Senator Al Franken, State Conservationist Don Baloun, Representative Rick Hansen and MN FFA State President Jack Roessler for their time.

 

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<![CDATA[Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson Awarded Honorary State FFA Degree]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Minnesota-Farmers-Union-President-Doug-Peterson-Awarded-Honorary-State-FFA-Degree/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (August 21, 2014) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President Doug Peterson was awarded an honorary FFA Degree by Minnesota FFA President Jack Roessler during an on-air interview.

“I am honored to receive this degree from Jack and all of the Minnesota FFA Organization” says MFU President Peterson. “The real world leadership skill they demonstrate and teach strengthens Minnesota’s youth countless ways. A strong foundation makes for a stronger Minnesota.”

MFU hosted this interview, aired by Lynn Ketelsen of Linder Farmer Network, at the MFU building located on the corner of Snelling and Dan Patch of the State Fairgrounds. Other interviewees include Senator Al Franken, State Conservationist Don Baloun, and Representative Rick Hansen.

Minnesota Farmers Union, standing for agriculture and fighting for farmers (www.mfu.org).

 

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<![CDATA[Farmers Union at the Fair!]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Farmers-Union-at-the-Fair/
   By Communications Director

Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) is set for the Fair with some delicious new treats, some refreshing old ones and some good ol’ conversation!

 

The MFU booth is located at 1635 Dan Patch Avenue, just inside the Snelling Avenue entrance where we will have our delicious Farmers Choice coffee and much-loved mocha and mango bars, and frappes. New this year, MFU will also have a caramel-based ice cream with pralines and cookies, s’mores mocha, and four varieties of cookie sandwiches – chocolate chip cookies with mocha ice cream, peanut butter cookies with chocolate ice cream, sugar cookies with mango ice cream, and turtle cookies with vanilla ice cream!  Stop by, grab something to drink and a treat to eat, or feel free to rest your weary feet in our back patio. See you at the Fair!

 

MFU activities at the Fair:

  • Thursday, August 21 at 12 p.m. – MFU President Doug Peterson will be the Linder Farm Network farm broadcaster of the day from the MFU booth with special guests Senator Al Franken, State Conservationist Don Baloun, State Representative Rick Hansen and FFA President Jack Roessler;
  • Friday, August 22 at 2:30 p.m. - sponsorship of the celebrity cow milking contest;
  • Saturday, August 23 at 6 p.m. - 4-H auction with MFU President Doug Peterson as one of auctioneers;
  • Sunday, August 24 at 7:45 a.m.- the MFU-sponsored milk run;
  • Sunday, August 24 - 12th annual Minnesota Cooks Program from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., in Carousel Park, just west of the Grandstand Ramp.  You can check out the schedule at www.minnesotacooks.org, and you can pick up a free Minnesota Cooks calendar at the event;
  • Tuesday, August 26 – 11:15 a.m. – MFU Vice President Gary Wertish will be on the MN Farm Network from the MFU booth;
  • Monday, September 1 at 1 p.m. - MFU President Doug Peterson will be on a labor panel at the DFL booth; and
  • MFU will also be participating in the Agrilympics, for more information, www.mnstatefair.org/entertainment/ag_exhibits/agri-lympics.html
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<![CDATA[Check out the Minnesota Cooks schedule for the State Fair!]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Check-out-the-Minnesota-Cooks-schedule-for-the-State-Fair/
   By Communications Director

On Sunday, August 24, 2014, Minnesota Farmers Union Presents Minnesota Cooks™, a Local Foods Cooking Event at the State Fairgrounds

 

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota CooksTM program (www.minnesotacooks.org) at the State Fair is poised to host its twelfth annual celebration honoring relationships among premier Minnesota chefs and cooks, local farmers, and consumers. The day will feature cooking demonstrations, discussions, and sampling of delicious, sustainable cuisine.

 

The program will begin at 9:00 AM with a culinary demonstration of quick, healthy breakfast options by Kirsten Shabaz of Valley Natural Foods and live music from jazz and blues musicians Laura Underwood and Jeff Bjorgo.

 

Beginning at 10 AM, there will be six hourly presentations throughout the day by Minnesota’s premier chefs and cooks. All shows take place on the Minnesota Cooks Stage in Carousel Park, just south of the Grandstand.

 

Minnesota Cooks brings together those who value and support our local food system: farmers, consumers, and chefs. Onstage, these chefs and cooks will create amazing dishes using fresh ingredients supplied by our local stewards of the land. As they prepare their creations, emcees Mary Lahammer of Twin Cities Public Television and JD Fratzke of The Strip Club Meat & Fish will engage the chefs and a taster panel of farmers and local food heavyweights in lively and meaningful discussions about their sustainable food philosophies. At the end of each demonstration, the panel, as well as fairgoers, will sample the mouthwatering, farm-fresh fare.

 

“I'm very proud of what this program has accomplished. We've been in lockstep with consumers' increasing concern about where their food comes from and who produces it,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President and creator of Minnesota Cooks. “We're pleased to educate about not only where to purchase these products, including restaurants and retailers, but also the community connection that purchasing local, farm-fresh foods brings about."

 

2014 farm/restaurant pairings:

 

10am

▪          Eric & Lisa Klein, Hidden Stream Farm and Robert Ulrich, Mendoberri

▪          Michael Schumacher & Marina Lovell, Farmucopia and Reed Olson, Wild Hare Bistro

11am

▪          Jim & LeeAnn VanDerPol, Pastures A Plenty and TJ Rawitzer, Tiny Diner

▪          John Peterson & Jane Peterson, Ferndale Market and Rashmi Battachan & Sarala Kattel, Gorkha Palace

12pm

▪          Jim Riddle & Joyce Ford, Blue Fruit Farm and Tracy Singleton & Marshall Paulsen, Birchwood Cafe

▪          Megan & Stephan Henry, Sundogs Prairie Farm and Matthew Jensen, Broadway Bistro

1pm

▪          Dean Engelmann & Scott Endres, Tangletown Gardens’ Farm and Beth Fisher, Wise Acre Eatery

▪          Ian Silver-Ramp, Mississippi Mushrooms and Stephen Trojahn & Catherine Eckert, Gastrotruck

2pm

▪          Laura Dimler, Pampered Pumpkin and Craig Sharp & Tracy LeTourneau, Terra Waconia

▪          Joe Lindgren & Danie Jimenez, Positively 3rd Street Bakery and Jason & Lucie Amundsen, Locally Laid Egg Company

3pm

▪          John Bowron, Prairie Heights Bison and Skyler Hoiland, The Bluestem

▪          Weston Gienger, Kadejan, Inc. and Jourdan Morris and Mike Rakun, Mill Valley Kitchen

 

At 4pm, Erik Eastman & James Eastman of Easy & Oskey will demonstrate inventive mocktails using bitters from their popular Make Your Own Bitters Kit. Mary DuShane and Nicholas Jordan of The Moonlight Duo will entertain afternoon audiences with Southern roots and bluegrass music.

 

In addition to this year’s selected farmers, the Minnesota Cooks taster panels will feature local food heavyweights eager to weigh-in on our state’s food scene - politicans, authors, food bloggers, and radio personalities: Lori Sturdevant of Star Tribune, Sue Zelickson of The Charlie Awards and Women Who Really Cook, author Atina Diffley, Fresh Tart blogger Stephanie Meyer, WCCO news anchor Jason DeRusha, and many others.

 

The beautiful 12-month Minnesota Cooks™ calendar will continue its tradition of debuting at the event. This stunning publication will proudly feature original gorgeous photography, enticing stories about the rich relationships these farmers and chefs share, and stellar recipes. For the duration of the fair, it will be available at Minnesota Farmers Union’s building at 1635 Dan Patch Avenue. After the fair, calendars can be requested through the Minnesota Cooks website (www.minnesotacooks.org) or through the 2014 participating restaurants and farmers.

 

Minnesota Cooks is presented by Minnesota Farmers Union with significant support from Minnesota Grown, Farmers Union Insurance Agency, and Farmers Union Industries. For more information about Minnesota Cooks, please visit the website at www.minnesotacooks.org, e-mail info@minnesotacooks.org, or like Minnesota Cooks on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/pages/MinnesotaCooks/108643322551336

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<![CDATA[MFU pleased COOL law upheld]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-pleased-COOL-law-upheld/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (July 31, 2014) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) policy has long supported country of origin labeling (COOL), that is why MFU is pleased by the District Court of Appeals’ decision to deny an appeal to halt the enforcement of COOL.

 

“Time and time again, multinational meatpackers and foreign competitors try to stop COOL, and once again the courts have agreed with popular opinion - consumers deserve to know where their food is coming from,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “MFU applauds the court’s decision because of its importance to family farmers and labeling their home-grown products, and for the consumer’s right to be educated about where their food comes from and to make buying decisions based on this knowledge.”

 

By a 9-2 majority, the Court upheld an earlier 3-judge panel decision to deny an appeal to halt the enforcement of the popular labeling law, passed in 2008.  The court ruled that “several aspects of the government’s interest in country-of-origin labeling for food combine to make the interest substantial: the context and long history of country-of-origin disclosures to enable consumers to choose American-made products; the demonstrated consumer interest in extending country-of- origin labeling to food products; and the individual health concerns and market impacts that can arise in the event of a food-borne illness outbreak.”

 

MFU will continue to fight and protect COOL.

 

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<![CDATA[Huffington Post: NFU Take on Multinational Meat Merger]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Huffington-Post-NFU-Take-on-Multinational-Meat-Merger/
   By Communications Director

From National Farmers Union:
 

WASHINGTON (July 29, 2014) – NFU President Roger Johnson today took his argument directly to consumers in a Huffington Post op-ed explaining why the proposed merger between Tyson Foods and Hillshire Brands Co. will hurt consumers, farmers and ranchers alike.

“We are told time and again by multinational companies proposing mergers that consumers will benefit from better prices,” Johnson wrote.  “But we’ve seen how well that concept works in the real world, as anyone who has flown lately, or purchased prescription medication, or felt the sting of “Too Big to Fail” banking, or dealt with a cable company can attest.”  
 

Johnson explains the Department of Justice (DOJ) is currently considering a massive marriage between the largest meat company in the nation, Tyson Foods, and the 11th largest meat company, Hillshire Brands Co.   “The scale and scope of this merger will substantially reduce competition in the meat sector, which is already very concentrated,” he explained.   “In fact, just four companies slaughter and process nearly 81 percent of the cattle nationally, and in the pork sector, the top four firms control 65 percent of hog sales.” 
 

Johnson points out that for grocery shoppers, the proposed Tyson-Hillshire merger means Big Meat will now have even more control over prices.   “Over the decades, we’ve heard the same tired propaganda: That consolidation helps everyone,” he concluded.  “But a century of broken promises and a little common sense tells us differently.  Mergers help the big get bigger and leave the small guys helpless to their whims.  The DOJ needs to say no to this latest power grab.”
 

 

 

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<![CDATA[Pizza and bikes and watermelon at Farmfest, oh my!]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Pizza-and-bikes-and-watermelon-at-Farmfest-oh-my/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (July 25, 2014) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) will be at Farmfest at Gilfillan Estate outside Redwood Falls, Minnesota on Tuesday, August 5 - Thursday, August 7.  MFU will be selling local-ingredient, wood-fire Big River Pizza (bigriverpizza.com) and have four youth bikes to give away!

 

“Farmfest is about getting together to talk about ag policy and what is going on in the countryside,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “Minnesota Farmers Union has a great location for just that, as we are located just west of the forum building on lot 509.  Stop by, get a local-ingredient piece of pizza, sign up for a free kid’s bike, and have a conversation.  See you out there!”

 

Minnesota Farmers Union activities:

  • PIZZA: MFU will be selling Big River Pizza (bigriverpizza.com) all day, every day at lot 509;
  • BIKES: MFU will give away four bikes, so come register at the MFU hoop barn. The drawing will take place on Thursday afternoon, and you do not have to be present to win;
  • PEDAL PULL: Minnesota Farmers Union Insurance Agency’s (www.mnfuia.com) Children’s Pedal Pull, daily at 1 p.m., near entrance gate 2;
  • QUESTIONS: MFU President Doug Peterson will be asking questions of the governor candidates on Tuesday, August 5 at 10:30 a.m. in the forum building;
  • MNSURE: Representatives from MN Sure will be at the MFU hoop barn all three days to answer questions about the program, www.mnsure.org;
  • MOVE MN: a Move MN representative will be in the MFU hoop barn on Tuesday, August 5, to talk transportation issues, movemn.org;
  • WATERMELON: MFU’s free watermelon feed, Thursday, August 7, 1 p.m., in the forum building;
  • SECOND HARVEST: Come find out more about their Invest an Acre and Share Fresh program, www.2harvest.org; and
  • AGRIABILITY: a representative from Agriability will be in the MFU hoop barn all three days to talk about how they can help farmers with disabilities.

 

The MFU hoop barn is located just west of the forum building in lot 509.

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<![CDATA[Ag Educator Award]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Ag-Educator-Award/
   By Intern


Minnesota Farmers Union has the distinct pleasure of awarding the Outstanding Agriculture Teacher Award to its recipient each year at the Minnesota Association of Agricultural Educators' Annual Banquet.  This year, the award went to Ron Dvergsten, a farm business management instructor at Northland Community and Technical College in Thief River Falls.  Pictured above: MFU Executive Board Member Eunice Biel; Outstanding Agriculture Teacher Award recipient Ron Dvergsten; and MFU President Doug Peterson 

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<![CDATA[Farmers Market Bill Signing ]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Farmers-Market-Bill-Signing-/
   By Intern

Minnesota Farmers Union had the privilege to be a part of the ceremonial bill signing of the Farmers Market bill.  MFU President Doug Peterson and MFU intern Kirsten Pagel attended the event.  
Today, Minnesota Farmers Union had the privilege to be a part of the ceremonial bill signing of the Farmers Market bill.  MFU President Doug Peterson and MFU intern Kirsten Pagel attended the event.  

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<![CDATA[MFU day camps coming up!]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-day-camps-coming-up/
   By Communications Director

St. Paul (July 2, 2014) - Have your child join Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) for a day camp in your area this summer. MFU professional camp counselors will be traveling around the state teaching about cooperative organizations, and cooperation, while most importantly having fun! Each day camp is unique, with a different combination of crafts, games, lessons, songs, and skits all in the great outdoors. These activities are designed to enhance each day-camper’s leadership skills—the building blocks of strong rural communities—in an entertaining and engaging setting outside of the classroom.
 

"Kids love to do hands-on activities, and the Minnesota Farmers Union day camps are a great opportunity for kids to get their hands dirty, learn something about farms and rural communities and have some fun this summer,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President.  “The kids will be enjoying themselves so much, they won’t even know they are learning!”

 

Dates and locations of upcoming day camps:

Monday, July 14                     10 a.m. – 3 p.m.          Robbins Island Park, Willmar

Tuesday, July 15                     10 a.m. – 2 p.m.          Little Falls Lions Park

Wednesday, July 16                10 a.m. – 2 p.m.          Dawson Swimming Pool      

Wednesday, July 16                10 a.m. – 2 p.m.          Owatonna Day Camp                       

Thursday, July 17                    1 p.m. – 4 p.m.            Farmers for a Day, Kerkhoven

Friday, July 18                        11 a.m. - 2 p.m.           Ivanhoe Swimming Pool Park               

 

Day camps are open to children 5-12 years of age and the fees for day camp range from free to $5. For more information or to sign up for a day camp, contact Glen Schmidt, MFU Education Director at glen@mfu.org or 651.288.4066.  Day camps are made possible from the generous donations of CHS Foundation and Minnesota Farmers Union Foundation.

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<![CDATA[Pierz student wins FFA essay contest]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Pierz-student-wins-FFA-essay-contest/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (June 5, 2014) Minnesota Farmers Union would like to congratulate Grant Smude, son of Jim and Cara Smude of Pierz, for winning the Minnesota Farmers Union’s (MFU) FFA essay contest.  Grant was awarded $1,000 for the Pierz FFA Chapter, and a trip to Washington, D.C. when MFU goes on their annual fly-in in September.  A parent or his advisor will be accompanying him to Washington, D.C.MFU President Doug Peterson; Grant Smude; and FFA Advisor Pat Tax

 

A thank you and congratulations also goes out the Pierz FFA Advisor, Pat Tax, for her guidance.

 

MFU asked FFA students statewide to write a 500-750 word essay in response to this question, “What is the farmer’s role in conservation, and why is it important to the future of agriculture in Minnesota?”

 

Mr. Smude states in his essay, “There is no one more closely connected to our soils and waterways than our farmers. Their role in protecting these and all the natural resources we have is vital. Farmers are the foundation upon which we survive.”

 

“Grant did a great job of articulating how farming, conservation practices, and the livelihood of us all are interconnected. His essay was thorough and comprehensive and he did a wonderful job,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “Grant should be very proud of his work and I want to congratulate him on a job well done.  A bright future in agriculture lies ahead of him.”

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<![CDATA[Scientific literature used to clarify which U.S. waters are within EPA's jurisdiction]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Scientific-literature-used-to-clarify-which-US-waters-are-within-EPAs-jurisdiction/
   By Communications Director


This piece is by Daryll E. Ray and Harwood D. Schaffer, Agricultural Policy Analysis Center, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN:

In enforcing the Clean Water Act (CWA), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Army Corps of Engineers (COE) have clear jurisdiction over “[1] traditional navigable waters; [2] interstate waters, including interstate wetlands; [3] the territorial seas; [and 4] impoundments of traditional navigable waters, [and] interstate waters, including interstate wetlands, [and] the territorial seas.” The further upstream a water body, intermittent stream, or wetland is from one of these, the less clear it becomes that the EPA and the COE have jurisdiction.
 

This lack of clarity has resulted in lawsuits on behalf of landowners, several of which have ended up before the US Supreme Court. In the 2001 and 2006 cases, justices argued that there must a “significant nexus” between other waters and those over which the agencies have clear jurisdiction for the agencies to exercise regulatory control. The purpose of the April 21, 2014 proposed rule, “Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’ Under the Clean Water Act,” is in part to clarify what that “significant nexus” is and what waters would fall under the jurisdiction of the EPA and/or the COE. All quoted material in this article comes from the Proposed Rule.
 

To accomplish this goal, the “EPA’s Office of Research and Development prepared a draft peer-reviewed synthesis of published peer-reviewed scientific literature discussing the nature of connectivity and effects of streams and wetlands on downstream waters.... The draft Report provides a review and synthesis of the scientific information pertaining to chemical, physical, and biological connections from streams, wetlands, and open waters such as oxbow lakes, to downstream larger water bodies such as rivers, lakes, and estuaries in watersheds across the United States and the strength of those connections.” For the EPA, the first step is to identify the ways in which the scientific literature makes the connection between upstream tributaries and adjacent wetlands and downstream larger waters.
 

Connectivity (emphasis added) is the degree to which components of a system are joined, or connected, by various transport mechanisms and is determined by the characteristics of both the physical landscape and the biota of the specific system. The structure and function of downstream waters are highly dependent on the constituent materials contributed by and transported through waters located elsewhere in the watershed. Connectivity for purposes of interpreting the scope of ‘waters of the United States’ under the CWA serves to demonstrate the ‘nexus’ between upstream water bodies and the downstream traditional navigable water, interstate water, or the territorial sea.
 

“Based on the literature, the Office of Research and Development was able to assess the types of connections between the tributaries and adjacent waters and the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of downstream traditional navigable waters, interstate waters, and the territorial seas.”
 

But identifying the nexus alone is not enough to satisfy the court’s concern. “as Justice Kennedy found…a mere hydrologic connection may not suffice in all cases to establish CWA jurisdiction and there needs to be ‘some measure of the significance (emphasis added) of the connection for downstream water quality.’” 
 

In the proposed rule the agencies write, “The data and conclusions in the Report concerning the strength of the relevant connections (emphasis added) and effects of certain types of waters on downstream waters provide a foundation for the agencies’ determinations that certain waters have effects on the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of traditional navigable waters, interstate waters, or the territorial seas that are ‘significant’ (emphasis added) and thus constitute a significant nexus(emphasis added).”
 

The proposed rule says, “the Report concludes that the scientific literature clearly demonstrates that streams, regardless of their size or how frequently they flow, strongly influence how downstream waters function. Streams supply most of the water in rivers, transport sediment and organic matter, provide habitat for many species, and take up or change nutrients that could otherwise impair downstream waters. 
 

“The Report also concludes that wetlands and open waters in floodplains of streams and rivers and in riparian areas (transition areas between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems) have a strong influence on downstream waters. Such waters act as the most effective buffer to protect downstream waters from nonpoint source pollution (such as nitrogen and phosphorus) [it should be noted that much of the potential pollution caused by farming is nonpoint source pollution], provide habitat for breeding fish and aquatic insects that also live in streams, and retain floodwaters, sediment, nutrients, and contaminants that could otherwise negatively impact the condition or function of downstream waters.
 

“Regarding wetlands and open waters located outside of floodplains and riparian areas, the Report finds that they provide many benefits to rivers, lakes, and other downstream waters. If the wetland or open water has a surface or shallow subsurface water connection to the river network, it affects the condition of downstream waters. 
 

“Where the wetland or open water is not connected to the river network through surface or shallow subsurface water, the type and degree of connectivity varies geographically, topographically, and ecologically, such that the significance of the connection is difficult to generalize across the entire group of waters.
 

“Lastly, the Report concludes that to understand the health, behavior, and sustainability of downstream waters, the effects of small water bodies in a watershed need to be considered in aggregate. The contribution of material by, or an important water-retention function of, a particular stream, other open water, or wetland might be small, but the aggregate contribution by an entire class of streams, other open waters, and wetlands (e.g., all ephemeral streams in the river network) can be substantial.”
 

Based on the draft report, the agencies conclude that both “tributary streams” and “adjacent waters,” as defined in the proposed rule, “perform the requisite functions for them to be considered ‘waters of the United States’ by rule.” In addition, “other waters” may, in some cases, perform these requisite functions.” But the agencies are proposing that these would be evaluated on a case-specific basis.
 

The agencies assert that the scientific literature shows that the included waters “supply sediment, wood, organic matter, nutrients, chemical contaminants, and many of the organisms found in downstream traditional navigable waters, interstate waters, and the territorial seas.”
 

Furthermore, “These chemical, physical, and biological connections affect the integrity of downstream traditional navigable waters, interstate waters, and the territorial seas through the export of channel-forming sediment and woody debris, storage of local groundwater sources of baseflow for downstream waters and their tributaries, and transport of organic matter. Wetlands and open waters located in riparian and floodplain areas remove and transform nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus. They provide nursery habitat for fish, and colonization opportunities for stream invertebrates. 
 

“Adjacent waters, including those located in riparian and floodplain areas, serve an important role in the integrity of traditional navigable waters, interstate waters, and the territorial seas because they also act as sinks for water, sediment, nutrients, and contaminants that could otherwise negatively impact traditional navigable waters, interstate waters, and the territorial seas.”
 

In the next column, we will examine the definition that the agencies have developed for the term “waters of the United States.”

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<![CDATA[Farmers Union holds retreat to empower women and young leaders in agriculture]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Farmers-Union-holds-retreat-to-empower-women-and-young-leaders-in-agriculture/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (June 5, 2014) Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) held a Focus on the Future retreat and Women’s Conference at the Radisson-Duluth.

 

“Women, young people, and beginning farmers are so integral in farming and in making our country thrive,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “That is why Minnesota Farmers Union feels it is so important to hold conferences like this to empower people, and to help them recognize their potential and to be aware of the networks that can help them achieve their goals.”

 

The conference had many wonderful speakers, including:

·         Champion and coach Shannon Miller, University of Minnesota-Duluth women’s hockey;

·         Charlie Poster, MN Department of Agriculture Assistant Commissioner;

·         Stephanie Heim, University of Minnesota Extension Farm to School State Lead;

·         State legislators: Senator Kent Eken, Senator Lyle Koenen, Senator Vicki Jensen, and Representative Andrew  Falk;

·         Jerry Demmer, Chair of the MN Corn Research and Promotion Council;

·         Ron Johnson with the Duluth Port Authority;

·         Kristine Fladeboe- Duininick, award-winning auctioneer and motivational speaker;

·         Jessica Miles, Ag Marketing Specialist with the Minnesota Grown Program;

·         Melisa Augusto, National Farmers Union Membership and Marketing Director;

·         Laurel Feddema, and Tony Mans with Second Harvest Heartland;

·         farmer Doug Hoffbauer, who gave a tour of his farm (www.farmerdoug.com) and Tom Hanson, owner of the  Duluth Grill (www.duluthgrill.com), who talked about the importance of using local food, including some from the  garden in his parking lot, at their restaurant; and

·         several MFU members who spoke from the heart about their experiences on the farm.
 

Minnesota Farmers Union wants to thank the Farmers Union Insurance Agency (www.mnfuia.com) and Minnesota Corn Growers Association (www.mncorn.org) for sponsoring the event, as well as the Radisson-Duluth for graciously giving $250 to the Farmers Union Feeding America campaign.

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<![CDATA[2014 Minnesota Farmers Union Foundation Golf Benefit]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/2014-Minnesota-Farmers-Union-Foundation-Golf-Benefit/
   By Amanda V

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<![CDATA[Congratulations to the MFU members accepted into the next MARL class]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Congratulations-to-the-MFU-members-accepted-into-the-next-MARL-class/
   By Communications Director

Congratulations to the MFU members who are in the new Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership (MARL) class, a leadership development program.  They are:

  • Jim Kanten of Milan, 
  • Pakou Hang of Minneapolis, 
  • Corey Hanson of Gary, 
  • Whitney Place of Minneapolis, 
  • Margaret Wagner of Minneapolis, 
  • Timothy Hagl of Red Lake Falls, and 
  • Kyle Hemme of Hardwick.
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<![CDATA[MFU pleased with legislative session]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-pleased-with-legislative-session/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (May 19, 2014) Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) sees 2014 legislative session as a success for family farmers.  The session ended May 16.

 

“MFU appreciates the investments that the legislature and Governor Dayton made in agriculture and rural Minnesota this session” said MFU President Doug Peterson.

 

Key MFU-supported provisions passed this session include:

-          $17 million in property tax relief for farmers;

-          repeal of sales tax on farm equipment repair;

-          $2 million for “Farm to Food Shelf” program;

-          passage of Farmers Market legislation that sets rules for sampling and food safety;

-          updating of state biodiesel laws that will pave the way for Minnesota to move to B10 on July 1;

-          $20 million for rural broadband;

-          funding for agricultural research on invasive pests, industrial hemp, perennial crops and Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PED); and

-          passage of several different initiatives to protect pollinators.

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<![CDATA[Minnesota Farmers Union Foundation honored at State FFA Convention ]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Minnesota-Farmers-Union-Foundation-honored-at-State-FFA-Convention-/
   By Intern

 
The Minnesota Farmers Union Foundation was recognized this evening as a fifty-year contributor to the Minnesota FFA Foundation during the 85th Minnesota FFA Convention.  

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<![CDATA[Peterson returns from North American Continental Dialogue on Family Farming]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Peterson-returns-from-North-American-Continental-Dialogue-on-Family-Farming/
   By Communications Director

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.

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<![CDATA[Farmers Union announces spring meeting schedule]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Farmers-Union-announces-spring-meeting-schedule/
   By Communications Director

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.

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<![CDATA[President Peterson returns from meeting with farmers from all over the world]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/President-Peterson-returns-from-meeting-with-farmers-from-all-over-the-world/
   By Communications Director

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.

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<![CDATA[MFU pleased with COOL decision]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-pleased-with-COOL-decision/
   By Communications Director

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). 

 

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<![CDATA[MFU members talked ag policy at the State Capitol]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-members-talked-ag-policy-at-the-State-Capitol/
   By Communications Director

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. 

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<![CDATA[It's agriculture week; let's celebrate!]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Its-agriculture-week-lets-celebrate/
   By Communications Director

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 www.agday.org.

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<![CDATA[MFU returns from NFU convention in Santa Fe, NM]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-returns-from-NFU-convention-in-Santa-Fe-NM/
   By Communications Director

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, nfu.org/policy-nfu/special-orders-of-business.

 

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.

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<![CDATA[Minnesotans conclude participation in Beginning Farmers Institute program]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Minnesotans-conclude-participation-in-Beginning-Farmers-Institute-program/
   By Communications Director

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, www.nfu.org/education/beginning-farmer-institute.  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.

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<![CDATA[Don Davis, former CEO of Farmers Union Industries, receives Meritorious Service Award]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Don-Davis-former-CEO-of-Farmers-Union-Industries-receives-Meritorious-Service-Award/
   By Communications Director

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.

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<![CDATA[MN youths speak at NFU Convention]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MN-youths-speak-at-NFU-Convention/
   By Communications Director

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.
 

For more information, please log on to http://nfu.org/about/education/all-states-leadership-camp

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<![CDATA[MFU heading to Santa Fe, New Mexico for National Convention]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-heading-to-Santa-Fe-New-Mexico-for-National-Convention/
   By Communications Director

Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) members will be attending the National Farmers Union (NFU) Convention in Santa Fe, New Mexico, March 8-11. 

 

“The National Farmers Union Convention is important because members from throughout the country gather to discuss ideas important to family farmers and then they pass common-sense policies that will guide us and give direction to Congress in the upcoming year. It is true grassroots policy-making at its finest,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President.

 

Minnesotans attending:

Don Davis, former CEO of Farmers Union Industries, LLC in Redwood Falls, and 2014 recipient of the National Farmers Union Meritorious Service Award. Don’s wife Daphne will also be in attendance.

Tim Velde of Granite Falls, as National Farmers Union Policy Committee Chair.
 

Meghan Osterbauer of DeGraff and Caleb Schmitz of New London will be attending as part of the National Youth Advisory Council (NYAC).  They are two of only six people elected by their peers to be on NYAC. They will make a presentation to the entire convention body, and help plan next year’s NFU All-States Leadership Camp.

 

Bryan and Jennifer Klabunde of Waubun will be attending as members of the Farmers Union Leadership Couples' Program, developed to empower future leaders in Farmers Union and rural communities.

 

Jennifer Gibson of North Mankato; Eric Hoese of Mayer; Brent Krohn and Bryce Krohn of Nicollet; and Carsten Thomas of Moorhead will be attending as part of the Beginning Farmers Institute.

 

Delegates to the NFU Convention are JoAnne Riegert of Waubun; Sam Holmgren of Atwater; Ross Eichens of Minneota; Peter Ripka of Ogilvie; John Larsen of Mantorville; and Merlyn Hubin of Westbrook.

 

Other MFU members attending are: Farmers Union Insurance Agency President Rodney Allebach and his wife Linda of Albertville; Sandy Hubin of Westbrook; Larry and Gina Jacobson of Hitterdal; Marvin and Marlys Jensen of Kensington; Richard Moen of Clearbrook; Alan and Karen Perish of Browerville; John Nelson of Waubun; Norma Holmgren of Atwater; Stacy Ripka of Ogilvie; Bessie Klose of Atwater; Lisa Severson of Eau Claire, WI; Lori Klose of Benson; and Brian Rohrenbach and Linda Larson of Rosemount.

 

MFU staff in attendance will be: President Doug Peterson and his wife Elly of Madison; Vice President Gary Wertish and his wife Jeanne of Renville; Education Director Glen Schmidt of St. Paul; Membership Director Bruce Miller and his wife Chris Fullerton of St. Paul; Communications Director Katie Fitzsimmons and her husband David of Minnetonka; and Office Coordinator Amanda Valencia of Forest Lake.

 

If you would like to speak with any of these people during the convention, please call Katie Fitzsimmons, MFU Communications Director, 612.616.5252.

 

You can view the full convention agenda at www.nfu.org/convention.

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<![CDATA[The marketplace must be competitive for family farmers and for consumers!]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/The-marketplace-must-be-competitive-for-family-farmers-and-for-consumers/
   By Communications Director

 

St. Paul, Minnesota (March 3, 2014) – In celebration of the United Nations’ 2014 International Year of Family Farming, this month Minnesota Farmers Union is highlighting the importance of a competitive marketplace.

 

“For family farmers to be successful, there must be ample competition in the marketplace, and Farmers Union continues to find power in numbers by bringing farmers together to form cooperatives, and to establish new marketing arrangements that help to grow family agriculture,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “These efforts are extremely important and pertinent today, when only a handful of firms dominate many sectors of the agriculture economy.”

 

When four firms control more than 40 percent of a market, that market is considered non-competitive. According to the University of Missouri-Colombia, the four largest companies control:

  • 82 percent of the beef packing industry;
  • 85 percent of the soybean processing;
  • 63 percent of the pork packing; and
  • 53 percent of broiler chicken processing.

 

“Agricultural concentration in the marketplace presents risks to family farmers, consumers and our overall food security, and Farmers Union will continue to fight for the family farmer and so that consumers receive a fair price at the store,” Peterson added.

 

For more information on International Year of the Family Farmer, go to, www.yearoffamilyfarming.com, or www.fao.org/family-farming-2014, or www.familyfarmingcampaign.net.

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<![CDATA[MFU has ambitious agenda for Legislative Session]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-has-ambitious-agenda-for-Legislative-Session/
   By Communications Director

St. Paul, Minnesota (February 25, 2014) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) welcomes the 2014 legislative session, and has an ambitious agenda awaiting legislators for what will be a very short session.

 

“The top issue for MFU this session at the Capitol is addressing several tax issues that have an impact on rural areas,” said Doug Peterson, MFU President.  “MFU will be working to provide property tax relief to farmers who continue to experience rapidly rising property taxes.”

 

Other issues MFU will be working on include:

  • legislation to repeal the sales tax on farm equipment repair;
  • clarifying farmers’ markets rules;
  •  passing agritourism legislation;
  • supporting transportation funding that benefits rural roads and infrastructure; and
  • supporting Minnesota’s biofuel industry.

 

These are just some of the issues MFU will be working on in the 2014 legislative session, as well as what issues MFU members will be talking to legislators about when they head to the State Capitol on Tuesday March 18, for the MFU annual lobby day. 

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<![CDATA[MFU Full Board meets]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-Full-Board-meets/
   By Communications Director

 

St. Paul, Minnesota (February 24, 2014) – Minnesota Farmers Union’s (MFU) Full Board of Directors recently met to discuss issues important to family farmers. The Full Board consists of county presidents throughout the state.

 

“It is vital for family farmers that we keep issues that impact family farmers in front of state and federal lawmakers so that family farmers are at the table to ensure that fair and common sense policies are developed,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President.  “This meeting allows for continued, open communication with our county presidents so we all know what is at stake in the coming year. Especially as the state legislature begins, this meeting allows for a discussion about the important issues for agriculture that are expected to be coming up in the coming months.”

 

The Full Board of Directors passed three Special Orders Of Business. One opposing fast-track trade proposals because of its negative impact on our agriculture economy; one thanking Congress for passing a farm bill; and one calling on local, state, and federal officials to find solutions to the propane shortage, as well as ways to prohibit the shortage from happening again.

 

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<![CDATA[MFU salutes FFA during National FFA Week!]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-salutes-FFA-during-National-FFA-Week/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (February 13, 2014) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) salutes the excellent work of the FFA during their National FFA week February 15-22, 2014.

 

“The FFA does such great work in fostering the skills necessary for our youth to excel and succeed,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “The agriculture sector is strong in good part because FFA provides the tools needed for personal growth and success in our future farm generations. We thank and salute FFA for their wonderful work in keeping not only the agriculture sector strong, but our rural and urban communities as well.”

 

“The challenge of farming today and for raising food for a growing nation and a hungry world will be met by our youth. It will take knowledge and hard work and we at Farmers Union believe the students of FFA will meet the demands as agriculture evolves in the 21st century,” Peterson added.

 Minnesota Farmers Union supports FFA by:

  • annually donating 20 FFA jackets through the Blue Jackets Bright Futures Program;
  • working closely with the Metro Area FFA Alumni and Friends Association;
  • judging numerous FFA competitions across the state;
  • hosting the State Officers for a State Officer Professional Development day; and 
  • sponsoring an annual FFA essay contest encouraging students to learn about a new topic and its place in rural Minnesota and Minnesota’s economy. The winner receives $1000 for their FFA Chapter and a trip to Washington, D.C.;
  • creating and facilitating the Minnesota FFA ag boot camp, a program specifically for older students interested in public policy.

 

 

 

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<![CDATA[Family farmers raise questions about propane shortage, demand answers/solutions]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Family-farmers-raise-questions-about-propane-shortage-demand-answerssolutions/
   By Communications Director

MFU President wrote the following letter about the propane shortage in MN:

Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) is calling for increased action at the state and federal levels to deal with Minnesota’s ongoing propane shortage crisis.  Minnesota farmers and rural residents need real answers.

 

MFU thanks our Congressional delegation and Governor Dayton for their ongoing efforts in helping ease this crisis. However, there are still questions as to why and how this happened, starting with: is the federal government moving to correct the cause of the propane shortage?

 

  • Exports.  Is part of the problem because propane that could have been used in Minnesota was sold and exported overseas?  Did the federal government not see the shortage coming? Consideration should have been given to crop and harvest conditions when considering the export of propane.

 

  • Closed Pipelines.  We appreciate and thank the Obama Administration for releasing $15.8 million to Minnesota to address propane shortage, but we also want the Administration to step up their efforts to determine why this happened, and to keep it from happening again.  That includes looking into why the Cochin pipeline from Canada, carrying 40 percent of Minnesota’s propane, was out of service during November and December, peak heating times.  MFU wants to know whether the plans to halt propane shipments on the Cochin pipeline in April should be permitted to go forward as a matter of national security?  Also, we need to address the challenge of transporting propane, and why there are rail and road bottlenecks.  Furthermore, should we heat farms and homes, or should oil companies just be allowed to make more profits for oil production?

 

  • Gouging.  We want an explanation whether price gouging was and is a part of propane pricing this winter?  Why have costs skyrocketed from $1.50 to $5.00 per gallon?  How many of our urban and suburban cousins could afford paying three times what it usually costs to heat their homes or businesses? Farmers are also tired of having the blame shoved on them for this problem. Yes, it was a wet harvest, but we have had those before without seeing exorbitant and unaffordable increases in propane prices.  Minnesota farmers are demanding to know where in the process the profit is being made, and who is making it?  Who gets that extra $3.50 and why?  It begs the question of profiteering.

 

  • Certainty.  We understand supply and demand, but this shortage goes beyond that.  We are demanding that there be certainty for farmers and rural residents, beyond the “pre-buy” system.  Many farmers and rural residents save all summer to buy their propane in the winter months.  That certainty and ability to pay their heating bills is now gone, and people are being forced to pay outrageous prices for what is an essential element of existence in wintertime Minnesota.

 

Cold weather is a serious issue and policymakers need to treat it seriously. People should not have to choose between food and fuel!

 

Doug Peterson

President

Minnesota Farmers Union

Madison, MN

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<![CDATA[Family farmers, the original conservationists!]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Family-farmers-the-original-conservationists/
   By Communications Director

St. Paul, Minnesota (February 12, 2014) – Family farmers are the original conservationists, and that is why Minnesota Farmers Union is proud to support conservation programs in the United States while celebrating the United Nations’ 2014 International Year of Family Farming!

 

“With the global population expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050, family farmers and ranchers have a great challenge to be able to feed and clothe people,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “Production and conservation practices must be geared towards improving the productivity of the land. With more mouths to feed and strained natural resources, it is now more important than ever to invest in conservation practices that help farmers adapt to a changing climate.”  

 

Minnesota Farmers Union believes in sound conservation policies because they assist in erosion control, watershed protection and climate change. Plus over the past 25 years, conservation programs have helped farmers:

·         save 295 million tons of soil per year; and

·         save between 1.5 and 3.3 million acres of wetlands from being drained.

 

For more information on International Year of the Family Farmer, go to, www.yearoffamilyfarming.com, or www.fao.org/family-farming-2014, or www.familyfarmingcampaign.net.

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<![CDATA[Senate passes farm bill!]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Senate-passes-farm-bill/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (February 4, 2014) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) is pleased the farm bill is one step closer to becoming law with passage by the Senate on a vote 68-32. MFU thanks Senator Amy Klobuchar and Senator Al Franken for supporting the bill. The House passed the bill on January 29 on a 251-166 vote.
 

“Family farmers thank the Senate for acting swiftly and getting the farm bill passed. We urge President Obama to waste no time in getting this farm bill signed, so family farmers can have the security they need to plan for the future,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “I want to thank Senator Klobuchar for her hard work on the farm bill conference committee, and also to Senator Al Franken for supporting the bill, and helping pass this common sense piece of legislation that protects farmers as they provide food, fuel and fiber for this country.”
 

The bill includes:

  • approximately $4 billion in livestock disaster funds, retroactively available to those who suffered tremendous losses last October;
  • repeals direct payments;
  • protects current crop insurance program;
  • does not repeal permanent law;
  • provides $900 million of mandatory funding for energy programs;
  • includes $30 million a year in mandatory funding for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program, with $10 million a year in discretionary funding;
  • includes $20 million a year in mandatory funding for the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative;
  • includes $20 million a year in mandatory funding for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program;
  • addresses fraud within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP);
  • reduces SNAP funding by $8 billion over the next 10 years;
  • increases access for livestock producers to Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) benefits, along with many other supportive policies for the livestock industry;
  • does not make any legislative changes to the Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) law;
  • does not make any major adjustments to protections for producers under the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA); and
  • the proposed farm bill reduces spending by about $23 billion over the next 10 years. 


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<![CDATA[Is NAFTA good or bad for the United States?]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Is-NAFTA-good-or-bad-for-the-United-States/
   By Communications Director

Farmers Union President heads to Mexico City for conference on NAFTA

St. Paul (January 28, 2014) – Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson is travelling to Mexico City, Mexico, for the Trinational Farmers Forum about the North American Free Trade Agreement. People from the United States, Mexico and Canada will be participating. 
 

This forum is designed to discuss implications of the North American Free Trade Agreement at its 20-year mark; share information, and prepare strategy against the Trans Pacific Partnership. President Peterson will be on a panel titled, “Reform for the field – alternatives to support family farming, fair trade, and a better quality of life,” on Wednesday, January 29.

President Peterson will be in Mexico City starting Tuesday, January 28, through Friday, January 31.  He will be available for press calls throughout those four days, and available at 612.867.3427.

 

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<![CDATA[Tim Velde chairs National Farmers Union policy committee]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Tim-Velde-chairs-National-Farmers-Union-policy-committee/
   By Communications Director

MFU's own Tim Velde just returned from chairing the National Farmers Union policy committee in preparation for the National Convention in Santa Fe, NM, March 8-11.

Tim Velde

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<![CDATA[Imker appointed to NextGen Board]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Imker-appointed-to-NextGen-Board/
   By Communications Director

MFU member Brent Imker of Lamberton has been appointed by the Governor to the Next Generation Energy Board. Congratulations Brent!

Brent Imker

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<![CDATA[2014 Focus on the Future and Womens Conference]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/2014-Focus-on-the-Future-and-Womens-Conference/
   By Amanda V

Focus on the Future and Womens Conference

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<![CDATA[MFU celebrates International Year of the Family Farmer!]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-celebrates-International-Year-of-the-Family-Farmer/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (January 16, 2014) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) is pleased the United Nations declared 2014 as the International Year of the Family Farmer.

 

“As a family farmer, I am excited that we will be celebrating the benefits and importance of family farmers throughout the year, as we celebrate the International Year of the Family Farmer,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union.

 

Contributions from family farmers:

        • 16 million jobs are created by agriculture in the United States;
        • a farm food dollar is turned over seven times in our economy;
        • one American farmer feeds 155 people;
        • 20 percent of Minnesota’s economy is farm related; and
        • one of five jobs in Minnesota is connected to agriculture.

 

“Farming drives our state and nation. I am proud of our history as farmers, and proud to represent family farmers who have the ability to provide food, fuel, and fiber for the world. The history and tradition of farming demonstrates the important role of family farmers in a renewable economy; in fighting hunger; in helping the economy thrive; in providing food security; and in sourcing energy. Celebrating family farmers and what they do just makes sense,” said Peterson.

 

For more information on International Year of the Family Farmer, www.yearoffamilyfarming.com, or www.fao.org/family-farming-2014

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<![CDATA[F.B. Daniel passes]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/FB-Daniel-passes/
   By Communications Director

F.B Daniel, long-time Farmers Union employee and advocate has recently died.  He was a field representative and manager of member relations for Farmers Union Central Exchange, executive director for Iowa Farmers Union and staff of Minnesota Farmers Union for 14 years. 
 

The book, More Than a Farm Organization, Farmers Union in Minnesota, was a labor of love for F.B., and by all accounts, would not have been written if it wasn’t for F.B.’s perseverance and dedication.  In the book, former MFU & National Farmers Union President Cy Carpenter stated, “ In the history of Farmers Union and service to farm families and Cooperatives, no one has served with more commitment and personal contribution than F.B. Daniel… he is a model…”
 

MFU President Doug Peterson stated, "Thank you F.B. for your tireless work for family farmers and cooperatives everywhere. We thank you for your efforts and passion and are sad to see you go. You will be missed."

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<![CDATA[Minnesota Farmers Union and the Ramada Plaza in Minneapolis announce a new benefit for Minnesota Farmers Union members coming in 2014]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Minnesota-Farmers-Union-and-the-Ramada-Plaza-in-Minneapolis-announce-a-new-benefit-for-Minnesota-Farmers-Union-members-coming-in-2014/
   By Communications Director

Rate Offers; $70 plus 13.40% tax December - May, $80 plus 13.40% tax June - November. Please call 612-331-1900 for discount and ask for MN Farmers Union rate.

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<![CDATA[MFU encourages farmers to have their voice heard]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-encourages-farmers-to-have-their-voice-heard/
   By Communications Director

Beef Checkoff LabelST. PAUL (December 12, 2013) – The Minnesota Beef Research and Promotion Council (MBRPC) is proposing a voluntary beef check-off price increase of $1.00 per head. The current $1.00 per head check-off is split evenly between state and national beef promotion councils. The proposed increase would stay with the Minnesota Beef Council and would be used for promotion efforts in Minnesota only.
 

“Minnesota Farmers Union encourages all farmers and ranchers to vote, and to make sure their voice is heard,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President.
 

Minnesota farmers and rancher selling their livestock in Minnesota would be eligible to receive a refund of the automatic $1.00 per head increase if the referendum passes and they request it after the sale of their cattle. Producers will have a chance to review the proposal and share their feedback before the February, 2014 mail ballot election.

To ensure producers are on the list to receive a ballot by mail, they can request one in three ways.
• www.mda.state.mn.us/ballots;
• call the Minnesota Department of Agriculture at 651-201-6013; or
• call the Minnesota Beef Research and Promotion Council at 952-854-6980.

Individuals must make the request by Friday, January 17, 2014.

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<![CDATA[Federal Agriculture Report from NFU]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Federal-Agriculture-Report-from-NFU/
   By Intern


National Farmers Union Vice President of Government Affairs Chandler Goule gave a presentation at our State Convention about agriculture activities on the federal level.  Click here to see is his presentation.

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<![CDATA[Cattnach receives Superior Service to Farmers Union Award]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Cattnach-receives-Superior-Service-to-Farmers-Union-Award/
   By Communications Director

Steve Cattnach recieves award for Superior Service to Farmers Union from MFU President Doug PetersonMN Governor Mark Dayton talks to grandchildren of Superior Service Award Recipient Steve Cattnach
ST. PAUL (November 25, 2013)  Minnesota Farmers Union honored Steve Cattnach of Luverne with the Superior Service to Farmers Union Award at their 72nd annual state convention.

“Steve understands the importance of family farmers and for over thirty years has worked tirelessly to make sure that family farmers, their families, and their livelihood, are covered when mother nature strikes, and protected when things aren’t going so well,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “I want to thank Steve for his dedicated service to Farmers Union, rural communities, and the people who live there. We are lucky to have him as part of our team."

Cattnach contracted with Farmers Union Agency on December 1, 1981 in Luverne, MN.  He has been very successful in his agency, winning many sales awards over his 33 years, and consistently in the top 3 of all agencies for premiums with the Farmers Union Agency.

Steve is active in the Luverne Lions Club; he serves on the board of trustees for the State on Minnesota Lions Clubs foundation for Diabetes.  He is active in his church and served as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Rock County Farmers Union.

Steve and his wife Penny have three children, Bruce, Barb, and Jennifer, and five grandchildren.

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<![CDATA[Gregerson receives Lifetime Achievement Award]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Gregerson-receives-Lifetime-Achievement-Award/
   By Communications Director

Gary Gregerson accepting his Lifetime Achievement Award from Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug PetersonST. PAUL (November 25, 2013)  Minnesota Farmers Union honored Gary Gregerson of Badger with their Lifetime Achievement Award at their 72nd annual state convention.

“Gary has been a dedicated and loyal Farmers Union member for years. You can always count on him to be there to fight for Farmers Union and what is important to our members by providing policy direction and old-fashioned, common-sense,  get-it-done work ethic,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “It is great to have him as a member and leader of Minnesota Farmers Union.”

 Gary has served as the Roseau County Farmers Union President since 1973 when he signed up for a 25-year membership.  He used to be a small grain farmer on the land where he was born and raised, but has since retired, still residing in the farm house where he grew up.

 Gary believes that the Farmers Union represents so much more than just Minnesota farmers.  He believes that the organization represents the best interests of the state.  Throughout his membership, he has seen a lot and learned a lot, finding MFU very rewarding.  He is proud to see a lot of young, passionate, new members.

He was on the Board of his local Farmers Union oil company for over thirty years, and is also a Legion member. Gary and his wife Michelle live in Badger.  They have three grown children, one grandchild with two more on the way!

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<![CDATA[Youth receive Torchbearer Award]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Youth-receive-Torchbearer-Award/
   By Communications Director

2014 Torchbearer Recipients; Laura Amacher, Haley Moseng, Caleb Schmitz, Jacob VanDerPol, Kaitlyn Kowalski, Meghan Osterbauer, Aandra Fitzer and Jake MagnellST. PAUL (November 25, 2013)  Minnesota Farmers Union gave out its Torchbearer award at their 72nd annual state convention.  In order to be eligible to win the Torchbearer Award, the youth needed to be involved with the Farmers Union education program for at least four years.  Each individual also attended the Farmers Union All-States Leadership Camp, which is where individuals who have distinguished themselves as leaders meet with other Farmers Union youth from throughout the country in Bailey, Colorado at the National Farmers Union Education Center.

The award winners were: Jacob VanDerPol, son of Josh & Cindy VanDerPol from Kerkhoven; Aandra Fitzer, daughter of Betty & Rob Fitzer from North Oaks; KateLynn Kowalski, daughter of Mike & Mary Kowalski from East Grand Forks; Caleb Schmitz, son of Terry Schmitz & Bob Thompson from New London; Meghan Osterbauer, daughter of Tony & Janeen Osterbauer from De Graff; Jake Magnell, son of Toni Magnell from Oklee; Laura Amacher, daughter of John & Gina Amacher from St. Paul; Holly Ricard, daughter of Steve & Maureen Ricard from Benson; and Haley Moseng, daughter of Brent Moseng from Dawson.

“Receiving the Torchbearer Award is a great accomplishment and one that these youth should be greatly proud of,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President.  “I sincerely congratulate them on their achievement and thank them for being a dedicated member of the Minnesota Farmers Union family.”

Since the 1930's, becoming a Torchbearer marks the conclusion of a Farmers Union young person's work in the youth program, and the commencement of his/her participation in adult Farmers Union activities.

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<![CDATA[Rohrenbach & Larson receive Outstanding Leadership Award]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Rohrenbach--Larson-receive-Outstanding-Leadership-Award/
   By Communications Director

Linda Larson & Brian Rohrenbach recieve Outstanding Leadership Award from MFU President Doug PetersonST. PAUL (November 25, 2013) – Minnesota Farmers Union honored Brian Rohrenbach and Linda Larson of Rosemount with the Outstanding Leadership Award at their 72nd annual state convention.

 “Brian and Linda are always willing to go the extra mile. You don’t even need to ask them, because they are already there helping out,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “One of Farmers Union’s strengths is its membership, and with dedicated leaders like Brian and Linda in our organization, we will continue to be strong. I want to thank them for their leadership and their dedication to Minnesota Farmers Union and family farmers.”

Brian was elected Dakota County Farmers Union President in 2005, and has attended the state and national conventions every year.  He has also served as a Minnesota Farmers Union delegate to the National Convention, served on the state policy committee, attended Lobby Days, and two DC fly-ins.  Brian was recognized at the National Convention last March for membership recruitment in 2012.

Linda currently serves on the Minnesota Farmers Union Policy Committee, the Membership Education Committee and actively works within her county to help members realize the vital role that each person has in voting and participating in Farmers Union and local government. She loves Farmers Union activities and has attended both the national and state conventions for the past several years, lobby day at the state capitol, the national and state Farmers Union Women’s Conferences, and the national fly-ins to Washington, D.C.

Brian and Linda live in rural Rosemount and have four adult children.  

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<![CDATA[MFU State Convention schedule]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-State-Convention-schedule/
   By Communications Director

Minnesota Farmers Union's State Convention is set for Saturday, November 23 and Sunday, November 24. The tentative agenda is below.


Friday, November 22
7 p.m. - 9 p.m.  - Welcome reception for MFU members hosted by Farmers Union Insurance Agency (Itasca Room)

Saturday, November 23

6:30 a.m. - Free farm-fresh breakfast for MFU members (Itasca Room; ends at 8:30 a.m.)

8:00 a.m. - Registration opens (Foyer)

8:45 a.m. - Door prizes
 - Convention convenes (Salon ABC);
 - Prayer lead by Gene Paul with NFO;
 - Pledge of Allegiance lead by Merlyn Hubin, Executive Board Chairman;
 - MFU camp songs;
 - Present & adopt proposed convention rules by Markell Vogt of the Rules Committee; andadopt minutes of 2012 convention
(9 a.m. – 3:45 p.m.: AT&T phones for farmers, St. Paul Room)

9:15 a.m. - Doug Peterson, MFU President;

 - Rodney Allebach, Farmers Union Agency President; and
 - Thom Petersen, MFU Gov’t Relations Director – policy & social media

10:00 a.m. - Charlie Zelle, MN Transportation Commissioner - confirmed

10:30 a.m. - Policy discussion
11:25 a.m. - Senator Amy Klobuchar 

11:35 a.m. - Lunch break with MN-grown food (Memphis)

12:15 p.m. - Mario Vargas, MNsure Senior Outreach Analyst & Rodney Allebach, President, Farmers Union Insurance Agency

1:00 p.m. - Reconvene (Salon ABC)
Gary Wertish, MFU Vice President

1:15 p.m. - Dave Frederickson, MN Commissioner of Agriculture - confirmed

1:25 p.m. - Myron Frans, MN Revenue Commissioner - confirmed

1:45 p.m. - Policy discussion
3:30 p.m. - Credentials report

(3:30 registration closes; opens Sunday 8:30 - 9:30 am)

3:35 p.m. - President and Vice President nominations      

3:45 p.m. - Torchbearer’s ceremony

4:00 p.m. - NFU Convention delegate election caucusing (time certain)

5:00 p.m. - MNFARMPAC reception (Itasca Room)

6:30 p.m. - Banquet (Grand Ballroom; doors open at 6:30 p.m.)
 - Mallory Pagel, FFA President
 - Achievement Awards Ceremony
 - Doug Peterson, MFU President    
 - Governor Mark Dayton                 

8:00 p.m. - MFU fundraiser auction


Sunday, November 24

6:30 a.m. - Free omelette breakfast for MFU members (Itasca Room; ends at 8:30 a.m.)

7:30 a.m. - Member Education – MN Food Charter (Salon ABC)

7:45 a.m.-  Dairy meeting (New Orleans Room)

8:30 a.m. - Registration
 - Door prizes
 - MFU camp songs
 - Call to order

8:45 a.m. - Don Knutson, Green View Executive Director

9:00 a.m. - Membership & Education Committee Report by Donnel Williamson;
 - National Youth Advisory Council Members Meghan Osterbauer & Caleb Schmitz speak;
 - FUE Leadership Couple report by Peter & Stacy Ripka; and
 - Membership and Outreach Report by Bruce Miller

9:25 a.m. - Bylaws Committee Report by Markell Vogt, Bylaws Committee Chair

9:30 a.m. - Chandler Goule, Vice President of Government Affairs, National Farmers Union - confirmed

 (9:30 a.m. registration closes – time certain)

9:45 a.m. - Special Orders

9:55 a.m. - President and Vice President elections

10:00 a.m. - Policy discussion

11:00 a.m. - Credentials Committee report (final count of registered delegates)

11:05 a.m. - Introduction of NFU convention delegate nominees

11:45 a.m. - Election of delegates to NFU convention (time certain)

12:00 p.m. - Lunch

12:30 p.m. - Reconvene
 - Ron Hennen, 2012 audit and financial report

12:45 p.m. - Policy discussion
 - Announcements
 - Door prizes
 - Adjournment 


Most agenda times are subject to change

UPDATED November 20, 2013

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<![CDATA[MFU President Peterson on ag panel]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-President-Peterson-on-ag-panel/
   By Communications Director

In case you missed it, here is the video from President Peterson's Pro Agriculture event by Politico in Washington, D.C. There is some great ag discussion here; Peterson's panel starts about the one hour mark,www.politico.com/events/politico-pro-agriculture-launch

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<![CDATA[Farmers Union working toward combating hunger]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Farmers-Union-working-toward-combating-hunger/
   By Communications Director

River Run OffSt. Paul (November 8, 2013) – One in six Americans face hunger, and that is why Farmers Union is teaming up with Feeding America, the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity, to help raise funds for the hungry. Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson is serving as the chairman of the national campaign.
 

“Farmers work long, hard hours to feed the world, but with 14 million children being served by Feeding America in the United States, we need your help!” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union president, and chairman of the Feeding America campaign. “National Farmers Union and Feeding America believe we can do more and are teaming up to feed the hungry. With just a $10 donation, 80 meals can be served to the hungry. You too can make a difference by donating today!”
 

The growing demand for raw food can be met by farmers. However, getting the food to the hungry is where Feeding America and National Farmers Union are working together, and toward a modest goal of raising $50,000 by December 25, 2013. $50,000 would garner 400,000 meals, or 450,000 pounds of food for hungry individuals.
 

For more information, www.nfu.org/feedingamerica.

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<![CDATA[MFU Convention coming up!]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-Convention-coming-up/
   By Communications Director

St. Paul (November 5, 2013) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) will be holding their 72nd annual state convention Saturday, November 23 and Sunday, November 24 at the Ramada Plaza in Minneapolis. The business of the convention is to elect a president and vice president (President Peterson and Vice President Wertish are currently the only people running for office); debate and pass MFU policy; and elect delegates to represent Minnesota Farmers Union at the National Farmers Union convention in Santa Fe, New Mexico March 8-11, 2014.  Delegate discussions will surround the farm bill, support of local foods, discussion on tax issues, including farm equipment repair, and increasing support of biofuels.
 

“Minnesota Farmers Union is a grassroots organization, and our convention is member-driven policy formation at its finest,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “Each of our member delegates have an opportunity to influence our policy which will be used at the state and federal level as we push for common sense solutions and sound ag policies that are good for family farmers and rural Minnesotans.” 
 

During the day on Saturday, a team from AT&T will be offering free cell phone training to help farmers optimize use of their phones for their farming practices. During Saturday lunch, Mario Vargas, Senior Outreach Analyst with MNsure will be speaking about Minnesota’s health insurance exchange, and on Sunday morning, Minnesota Food Charter will lead a discussion about ensuring all Minnesotans have healthy, affordable and safe food in the future. Other speakers throughout the convention include: Dave Frederickson, Department of Agriculture Commissioner; Charlie Zelle, Department of Transportation Commissioner; Myron Frans, Revenue Commissioner; and Chandler Goule, National Farmers Union Vice President of Government Relations. 
 

You can find the full agenda at www.mfu.org. The Minnesota Farmers Union Convention will be held at the Ramada Plaza, 1330 Industrial Boulevard, Minneapolis.  Contact Katie Fitzsimmons, MFU Communications Director, with any questions, 612.616.5252.

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<![CDATA[Farm Bill News!]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Farm-Bill-News/
   By Communications Director

The first meeting for the farm bill conference commtitee is set for Wednesday, October 30 at 12 p.m. CT.  MFU is pleased action is finally being taken on this important piece of legislation that helps family farmers, rural communities, and urban folks.

For a list of Farmers Union priorities, go here

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<![CDATA[Farmers Union teams up with Feeding America to help end hunger]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Farmers-Union-teams-up-with-Feeding-America-to-help-end-hunger/
   By Communications Director

From National Farmers Union: 

WASHINGTON (Oct. 18, 2013) – National Farmers Union (NFU) announced today its third annual campaign to help raise funds for Feeding America, the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity.

“For the third consecutive year, Farmers Union members and supporters have pledged to raise $50,000 to benefit Feeding America,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “The work that Feeding America does directly impacts our rural communities. NFU’s family farmer and rancher members are proud to grow and raise the food that feeds our country, and our commitment to ending hunger in our own communities is a natural extension of that work.”

According to Feeding America, rates of food insecurity among rural households are generally lower than urban households, but slightly higher than the national average. The irony is that many of these food-insecure households are in the very rural and farm communities whose productivity feeds the world and provides low-cost wholesome food for American consumers. In fact, 15.5 percent of rural households are food insecure, an estimated 3.1 million households.

“Farmers work long, hard hours to feed the world, but with one in six Americans facing hunger and 14 million children being served by Feeding America in the United States, we need your help!” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union president and chairman of the Feeding America campaign. “National Farmers Union and Feeding America believe we can do more, and are teaming up to feed the hungry. You too can make a difference by donating today.”

For more information about giving locally, please visit www.NFU.org/feedingamerica.

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<![CDATA[Sign up now for NFU's Women's Conference]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Sign-up-now-for-NFUs-Womens-Conference/
   By Communications Director

National Farmers Union has announced the tentative agenda for their Women's Conference in Florida, January 11-14, 2014. You can find more information, and register here.

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<![CDATA[What programs do farmers lose with the inaction of Congress on the farm bill?]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/What-programs-do-farmers-lose-with-the-inaction-of-Congress-on-the-farm-bill/
   By Communications Director

A lot of programs expire with the inaction of Congress on the farm bill. Below is a list of those programs. 

Expired Baseline Programs 

Note: All of the funding provided for these programs is discretionary.

·         Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development

·         Healthy Forests Reserve Program

·         Biobased Market Program

·         Biorefinery Assistance

·         Repowering Assistance

·         Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels

·         Biodiesel Fuel Education Program

·         Rural Energy for America (REAP)

·         Market Loss Assistance for Asparagus Producers

·         National Sheep Industry Improvement Center

·         Survey of Foods Purchased by School Food Authorities

·         Assistance for Community Food Projects

·         Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program

·         Funding of Pending Rural Development Loan and Grant Applications

·         Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiatives

·         Disaster programs

·         Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE)

·         Outreach and Technical Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers

·         Value-Added Agricultural Market Development Program Grants

·         Outreach and Technical Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers

·         Wetlands Reserve Program

·         Grassland Reserve Program

·         Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program

·         Small Watershed Rehabilitation Program

·         Desert Terminal Lakes Program

·         McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program

·         Local and Regional Food Aid Procurement Projects

·         Pilot projects to evaluate health and nutrition promotion in the supplemental nutrition assistance program

·         Study on Comparable Access to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance for Puerto Rico

·         Whole Grain Products for school lunches and breakfasts

·         Biomass Research and Development

·         Biomass Crop Assistance Program

·         Farmers’ Market Promotion Program

·         National Clean Plant Network

·         National Organic Certification Cost-Sharing

·         Organic Production and Market Data Initiatives

·         Determination on Merits of Pigford Claims

·         Specialty Crop Research Initiative

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<![CDATA[Minnesota Farmers Union salutes 4-Hers during National 4-H week]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Minnesota-Farmers-Union-salutes-4-Hers-during-National-4-H-week/
   By Communications Director

St. Paul (October 2, 2013) - Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) believes our future is in the hands of our youth and that is why we proudly support 4-H in Minnesota, and want to recognize them during National 4-H week, October 6-12. 

“Minnesota Farmers Union thanks the 4-H program for fostering confidence and character in our youth, and building stronger communities,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “Learning the importance of giving back, and of community, is vital to our economy and the 4-H program does this while also teaching kids the skills needed to succeed, and I commend the 4-H programs for that.”

MFU supports our youth and 4-H in the following ways:

  • financial support by buying animals at the 4-H auction;
  • providing championship signs for winners at the State Fair;
  • working at the Legislature to ensure adequate funding for 4-H;
  • sponsors Pioneer Public Television’s showing of the 4-H auction on television; and
  • joins 4-H in building youth leadership through our leadership camps. 

Minnesota Farmers Union will continue to fight for 4-H and help build our rural communities through our youth.

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<![CDATA[How does the government shutdown impact farmers?]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/How-does-the-government-shutdown-impact-farmers/
   By Communications Director

National Farmers Union explains how the government shutdown impacts farmers. Check it out here.

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<![CDATA[MFU disappointed by SNAP cuts!]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-disappointed-by-SNAP-cuts/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (September 20, 2013) Minnesota Farmers Union is disappointed the House of Representatives decided to cut $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and deny four million Americans benefits with the passage of H.R. 3102, the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act of 2013.

“When 1 in 6 people in rural America as well as 1 in 6 people in urban areas use SNAP, and with nearly 99 percent of all SNAP households with disposable income which leaves them in poverty, I am disappointed that members of the House of Representatives chose to make these cuts to hungry and needy individuals,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “I hope the House will now appoint conferees so the farm bill can be conferenced and that members of the House of Representatives quit biting the hand that feeds them!”

Minnesota Farmers Union believes the nutrition title and farm programs should be together in one piece of legislation. MFU thanks Representatives Peterson, Ellison, McCollum, Walz and Nolan for voting against the nutrition and farm program split.

 

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<![CDATA[MFU returns from Washington, D.C. where they pushed for a farm bill]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-returns-from-Washington-DC-where-they-pushed-for-a-farm-bill/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (September 12, 2013) Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) members joined more than 275 fellow farmers, ranchers and fishermen from across the country in Washington, D.C., September 8 through 11, 2013, for the National Farmers Union annual fall legislative fly-in. 

“Having MFU members tell our senators and representatives just what this lack of a farm bill is doing to their family and their livelihood is so important,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “We were able to help Members of Congress understand the severity of what Congress’s inaction is doing to family farmers and rural communities, and express the urgency of getting a farm bill done.” 

Farmers Union fly-in participants highlighted the importance of the farm bill, renewable energy policies, and many other policies that impact their operations and lives. They had a briefing with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, White House officials, and House and Senate Agriculture Committee staffers, as well as meeting with senators and representatives.

MFU members attending include: Deborah Felling of Sauk Centre; David Gilbertson of Kensington; Deborah Gilbertson of Kensington; Eric Hoese of Mayer; Merlyn Hubin of Westbrook; Ryan Hubin of Westbrook; Marvin Jensen of Kensington; Edward and Lynn Jostock of Rochester; Brent Krohn of Nicollet, with the Beginning Farmers Institute; Bryce Krohn of Nicollet, with the Beginning Farmers Institute; Linda Larson of Rosemount; Timothy Larson of Medford, agriculture educator; Mariah Larson of Medford, FFA student; Samantha Larson of Medford, FFA student; Duane Lichy, Agriculture Educator of Albany; Richard Moen of Clearbrook;  Jennifer Nelson of Sauk Centre; Meghan Osterbauer of DeGraff, with the National Youth Advisory Council; Gene Paul of Delavan, with NFO; Alan Perish of Browerville; Peter and Stacy Ripka of Ogilvie, with the Farmers Union Enterprises’ Young Couples Program; Brian Rohrenbach of Rosemount; Caleb Schmitz of New London, with the National Youth Advisory Council; Thomas Schuster of Morris; Dean Schuster of Chokio; Alexis Strong of Sauk Centre, MFU FFA essay winner; Carsten Thomas of Moorhead, with the Beginning Farmers Institute; and Harmon Wilts of Kerkhoven.

 

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<![CDATA[EPA To Make Decision on Mississippi River Standards]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/EPA-To-Make-Decision-on-Mississippi-River-Standards/
   By Intern

River Run OffSAINT PAUL (September 18, 2013) - A U.S. District Judge of Mississippi gave the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) six months to decide whether to set Clean Water Act standards on a national level for nitrogen and phosphorous in all U.S. waterways or explain why they’re not needed.

Every summer, nitrogen, phosphorous & other nutrients feed algae blooms at the river’s mouth. Algae and the protozoa that feed off these nutrients die and fall to the bottom, where their decomposition uses up oxygen. These decomposing microorganisms are carried downstream to the Gulf of Mexico, leaving an area on the sea bottom averaging nearly 5,800 square miles — larger than the state of Connecticut. This hypoxia—commonly referred to as a dead zone—does not contain enough oxygen for aquatic life.

The department argued for EPA that setting such rules would be unnecessarily complex, and can be solved at the state level.

The Mississippi River Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force hosted a meeting September 24, 2013 in Minneapolis to inform the public of progress moving forward on Gulf Hypoxia.

For more information read this article.

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<![CDATA[NASDA: Urge USDA to Implement Pollinator Plans]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/NASDA-Urge-USDA-to-Implement-Pollinator-Plans/
   By Intern

Honey Bee & Sweet Corn

SAINT PAUL (September 18, 2013) - The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA), which is comprised of department of agriculture leaders from across the national, urges the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to work towards bee protection on a state level by introducing “pollinator plans”.


Bees are needed to pollinate over 90 different crops in the United States. They also increase the quality & yield of crops they pollinate.

This comes in response to increased losses of honeybees due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

For further information, read this study on CCD or read this article.

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<![CDATA[MFU's Full Board of Directors looks out for family farmers]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFUs-Full-Board-of-Directors-looks-out-for-family-farmers/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (August 31, 2013) – Minnesota Farmers Union’s (MFU) Full Board of Directors, made up of county presidents from all over Minnesota, made many decisions on issues important to family farmers at their Full Board of Directors’ meeting. They voted in support of: repealing the expansion of the Minnesota sales tax to include farm equipment repairs; passage of a farm bill that includes the nutrition title; and National Farmers Union (NFU) and others’ intervening in a recently filed Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) lawsuit seeking an injunction to vacate and halt the implementation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) final COOL rule.

“Minnesota Farmers Union is a grass-roots based organization and these policies are voted on and developed by our farmer-members, and we will be working to ensure farmers’ voices are heard,” said MFU President Doug Peterson.

The expansion of the sales tax to farm equipment repair was passed in the last moments of the 2013 legislative session and has been called an accident or error, but is costing Minnesota farmers millions of dollars and needs to be fixed. The United States House of Representatives voted earlier this summer to split the farm and nutrition portions of the farm bill, and they need to put together for the betterment of family farms and rural communities.  Finally, there is a recent court case that seeks to block implementation of Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL). The case, currently pending in federal court, was brought by foreign and domestic packer organizations seeking to circumvent the consumer right-to-know rules developed by the United States Department of Agriculture pursuant to legislation passed by Congress. COOL needs to be protected.

 

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<![CDATA[Scholarships Awarded]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Scholarships-Awarded/
   By Intern

ST.PAUL  (August 22, 2013) – Minnesota  Farmers Union Foundation & Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) sponsored two scholarships, presented to Mitch Donkers & Tyler Pierson worth $2,000 each to award academic and livestock production excellence.

MFU sponsored these two scholarships which were a part of the larger Minnesota Livestock Breeders’ Association Scholarship. These were awarded at the 4-H Purple Ribbon Auction at the Minnesota State Fair. There were 13 scholarships awarded at the $2,000 level, 18 scholarships awarded at the $1,000 level, a total of $44,000 awarded to outstanding youth from the greater livestock community.

Mitch Donkers Scholarship Winner crop.jpgMitch Donkers of Rice County is very active in 4-H, mainly involved showing dairy. He plans to attend South Dakota State University and pursue a degree in Ag Business with the help of this scholarship.

Tyler Pierson Scholarship WinnerTyler Pierson of Carver County is very active in 4-H beef project. With the help of this scholarship, he plans to attend South Dakota State University and pursue a degree in Animal Science.

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<![CDATA[Congratulations to 4-H Youth!]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Congratulations-to-4-H-Youth/
   By Intern

Farmers Union Industries bid highest for her Reserve Champion Division II Crossbred Steer in this year's 4-H livestock auction. The winning bid for this fundraising auction was a record breaking $11,200. Congratulations & thanks again for Paige Netzke's hard work and commitment.

Brok Miller of Brown County sold his purple ribbon lamb to Minnesota Farmers Union & Farmers Union Insurance. The lamb raised $5,000 at the 4-H Livestock Auction. Congratulations to Brok Miller and thank you once again for your hard work & commitment.

Congratulations to Evan King of LeSueur County for his hard work and dedication to 4-H. His purple ribbon grand champion market pig raised $8,000 from Farmers Union, Farmers Union Insurance and friends at this years 4-H Livestock Auction.

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<![CDATA[11th annual Minnesota Cooks program at Fair on Sunday, August 25]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/11th-annual-Minnesota-Cooks-program-at-Fair-on-Sunday-August-25/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL, MN (August 19, 2013) – Now in its eleventh year, the Minnesota CooksTM program (www.minnesotacooks.org) at the State Fair brings together those who value and support our sustainable food system: farmers, consumers, and chefs. Onstage, chefs will create amazing dishes using fresh ingredients supplied by local stewards of the land. As they prepare their creations, emcees Mary Lahammer of Twin Cities Public Television and JD Fratzke of The Strip Club Meat & Fish will engage the chefs and a taster panel of farmers and local celebrities in lively and meaningful discussions about their sustainable philosophies. At the end of each demonstration, the panel, as well as fairgoers, will sample the mouthwatering, farm-fresh fare. 


The program begins at 9:00 a.m. with a fruit carving demonstration by Le Cordon Bleu students and live music from Laura Underwood and Jeff Bjorgo, jazz/blues musicians. There will be six hourly presentations by Minnesota’s premier chefs and cooks, beginning at 10:00 a.m. All shows take place on the Minnesota Cooks Stage in Carousel Park, just south of the Grandstand. 

  

Read More...
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<![CDATA[Minnesota Farmers Union has a lot of great food, drink and discussion at their State Fair booth]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Minnesota-Farmers-Union-has-a-lot-of-great-food-drink-and-discussion-at-their-State-Fair-booth/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (August 5, 2013) – Does the smell of strong coffee and fresh baked cookies bring back fond memories of your parents’ kitchen where you sat around the table and talked?  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 and much-loved mocha and chai bars, and frappes.  New this year, MFU will also have vanilla, and mango ice cream bars; and freshly baked cookies with milk! Come see us at 1635 Dan Patch Avenue, just inside the Snelling Avenue gate & grab a treat and a drink to get you going, or feel free to rest your weary feet in our back patio!  See you at the Fair!

 

MFU activities at the Fair:

  • Friday, August 23 at 2:30 p.m. sponsorship of the celebrity milking contest (located outside the dairy barn);
  • Saturday, August 24 at 6 p.m. - 4-H auction with MFU President Doug Peterson as one of auctioneers;
  • Sunday, August 25 at 7:45 a.m.- the MFU-sponsored milk run;
  • Sunday, August 25, 12 p.m. – MFU sponsored dairy showcase at the AgStar judging arena;
  • Sunday, August 25 - 11th annual Minnesota Cooks Program from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., in Carousel Park, just west of the Grandstand Ramp.  You can check out the schedule at www.minnesotacooks.org, and you can pick up a free Minnesota Cooks calendar at the MFU booth after the event;
  • Thursday, August 29, 12-1 p.m. – MFU President Doug Peterson will be the Linder Farm Network farm broadcaster of the day from the MFU booth with special guest Governor Mark Dayton appearing at 12:30 p.m.
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<![CDATA[Pizza & Bikes at Minnesota Farmers Union Farmfest booth!]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Pizza--Bikes-at-Minnesota-Farmers-Union-Farmfest-booth/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (July 26, 2012) – Farmfest is set to be at Gilfillan Estate outside Redwood Falls, Minnesota on Tuesday, August 6 - Thursday, August 8, and new this year – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) will be selling pizza and have six bikes to give away!

“Farmfest is a tried and true, wonderful summer activity for anyone involved in farming who likes to discuss farm policy and share ideas,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “New this year for Farmers Union is that we will be selling Big River Pizza by the slice, as well as giving away 6 bikes for the kids, so be sure to stop by the MFU booth, just west of the forum building, to grab a slice, and register to win a bike!”

 Minnesota Farmers Union activities:

  • selling Big River Pizza (bigriverpizza.com) all day, every day of Farmfest;
  • there will be six bikes to give away – three boy and three girl bikes in varying sizes.  Register at MFU booth number 509. Drawing for the bikes on Thursday afternoon;
  • Minnesota Farmers Union Agency Children’s Pedal Pull, daily at 1 p.m., near entrance gate 2;
  • National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson on the Farm Bill panel Tuesday, 10:30 a.m.; and
  • Free watermelon feed, Thursday, August 8, 1 p.m., in the forum building.
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<![CDATA[Unprecedented Vote Erodes Historic Bipartisan Farm Bill Support]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Unprecedented-Vote-Erodes-Historic-Bipartisan-Farm-Bill-Support/
   By Communications Director

From National Farmers Union:

WASHINGTON (July 11, 2013) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued a statement today following the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of H.R. 2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013:

“Today’s strictly partisan vote to pass the farm bill apart from the nutrition title undermines the long-time coalition of support for a unified, comprehensive farm bill which has historically been written on a bipartisan basis.

“NFU will continue to do all it can to get a reasonable bill through the conference process. Any final legislation must continue existing permanent law provisions and include meaningful safety net protections for both family farmers facing difficult times and the food insecure.”

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<![CDATA[Farmers Union pushes for action to get farm bill finished!]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Farmers-Union-pushes-for-action-to-get-farm-bill-finished/
   By Communications Director

A coalition letter, led by National Farmers Union and signed by a 532 organizations, has been sent to Speaker of the House John Boehner and cc’d to every member of the House outlining our support for progress on the farm bill. Click to download letter.

 

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<![CDATA[MFU disappointed House failed to pass farm bill]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-disappointed-House-failed-to-pass-farm-bill/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (June 20, 2013) – Minnesota Farmers Union disappointed the United States House of Representative did not pass the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARMM) Act on a vote of 195-234. 

“Minnesota Farmers Union is disappointed that the House failed family farmers and consumers by not passing a farm bill,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “I would like to thank Representatives Peterson, Kline, Walz, and Paulsen for their support of rural Minnesota and the consumers our hard-working family farmers feed.  MFU will continue to work hard for the interests of family farmers and push for the necessary changes in the legislation to get this farm bill passed in the House.”

The United States Senate passed their version of the farm bill on June 10, 2013, both Senator Klobuchar and Senator Franken supported the legislation.  Extensions to some farm bill provisions were made at the end of 2012, which expire September 30, 2013.

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<![CDATA[Thell on television talking about hay shortage]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Thell-on-television-talking-about-hay-shortage/
   By Communications Director

Mark Thell, Carlton County Farmers Union President, did a nice job talking about the hay shortage. Check it out here

http://www.fox21online.com/news/video/gov-dayton-looks-help-cattle-farmers

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<![CDATA[National Farmers Union posts summary of the Farm Bill]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/National-Farmers-Union-posts-summary-of-the-Farm-Bill/
   By Communications Director

http://www.nfu.org/images/06%2012%2013%20Senate-PassedFarmBillSummary.pdf

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<![CDATA[MFU applauds Senate passage of farm bill]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-applauds-Senate-passage-of-farm-bill/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (June 11, 2013) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) is pleased the United States Senate passed the farm bill, and is optimistic the House of Representatives Republican leadership, with the help of the Democratic minority, will use common sense to compromise and negotiate a farm bill that benefits American family farmers and consumers.  

“The Senate passing the farm bill is a step in the right direction, and one that family farmers have been waiting for and deserve, so in the next five years they can be certain there will be stability for programming for farmers while they provide food, fuel, and fiber to our nation,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “Minnesota Farmers Union is pleased this legislation provides a strong safety net for farmers, a solid crop insurance program, as well as protections for livestock farmers.  We will continue to work with members of Congress to get this farm bill done before extensions expire September 30.”

Senator Amy Klobuchar and Senator Al Franken both voted for the bill. The House of Representatives is currently scheduled to take up their version of the farm bill the week of June 17.  If the House passes a farm bill, it will then lead to a conference committee between the two bodies to iron out the differences, before final passage, and then to President Obama’s desk for signature. Some items of contention will likely include: crop insurance, immigration, payment limitations, conservation, dairy subsidies, and cuts to the food stamp program. Extensions to some farm bill provisions were made at the end of 2012, which expire September 30, 2013.

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<![CDATA[MFU signs letter to Vilsack asking for assistance with haying and grazing deadlines]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-signs-letter-to-Vilsack-asking-for-assistance-with-haying-and-grazing-deadlines/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (June 6, 2013) Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) signed a letter, along with other farm groups, to United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack requesting a waiver for the November 1 date linked to harvesting or grazing cover crops on prevented plant acres.  This is needed for the farmers who cannot plant corn due to the wet spring, as well as cattle and dairy farmers who are experiencing severe forage shortage. 

“This letter is urging the Administration to relieve people from the severe weather conditions that have ripped through southeast Minnesota and challenged farmers,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “Mother Nature always bats last and has served up conditions that may jeopardize many dairy farmers and cow-calf operations in Minnesota, and certain crop deadlines with regard to haying and grazing need to be extended.”

 The letter asks Secretary Vilsack for, “Your immediate action to lift the November 1 date linked to Risk Management Agency (RMA) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) policies would serve as an incentive for all farmers to plant cover crops on prevented acres which will have multiple benefits, ranging from soil and water conservation to providing much needed forage for livestock farmers.”

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<![CDATA[MFU sees positive action in legislative session]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-sees-positive-action-in-legislative-session/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (May 30, 2013) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) applauds action of Legislature.

“MFU thanks the legislature and Governor Dayton for passing a strong agriculture budget,” said Doug Peterson President of the Minnesota Farmers Union. “MFU is also pleased that the Farmer-Lender Mediation Act was extended for an additional three years, allowing time for farmers and lenders to find solutions when financial stresses hit rural Minnesota.” 

Key legislative actions:

  • $20 million in the AGRI-fund, which can be used for livestock, NextGen energy grants, and farm to school programs;
  • $2 million for educational and cultural programs at fairs;
  • The current wolf hunting and trapping season was not eliminated, however, MFU was disappointed wolf depredation funding was decreased;
  • Buy the Farm legislation passed which provides landowners facing the threat of high voltage power lines more rights regarding attorney’s fees, appraisals, relocation and a reasonable time frame;
  • Farmer-Lender Mediation Act was extended for an additional three years;
  • authorizing language and funding of the new voluntary Agriculture Water Quality Certification Program; and
  • language that clarifies estate tax by saying agriculture land held by farm trusts and other business entities will qualify for the extra $4 million exception from the state estate tax.
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<![CDATA[MFU pleased with USDA decision on COOL]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-pleased-with-USDA-decision-on-COOL/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (May 28, 2013) The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a final rule governing Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) to meet compliance requirements set forth by a recent World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling.  

“We are very pleased that the USDA has decided to stand strong and keep COOL. The decision to bring the law into compliance with the WTO’s ruling is a win-win situation for all interested parties,” said Roger Johnson, National Farmers Union President.

“COOL gives consumers the information they want, and deserve, so they can make an educated decision about the food they are buying,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “Moms and dads need to feel good about what they are feeding their families and when products are labeled with the country of origin, that job is made easier.”

Both Minnesota and National Farmers Unions’ policy call for country of origin labeling.  USDA’s final rule will require labels for certain foods, particularly muscle cuts of meat, to include the countries in which the animal was born, raised and slaughtered. Legal analysis has found that this will satisfy WTO’s requirements and meets the compliance deadline of May 23, 2013.

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<![CDATA[MFU Awards $1000 to Sauk Centre FFA]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-Awards-1000-to-Sauk-Centre-FFA/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (May 23, 2013) Minnesota Farmers Union would like to congratulateAlexis Lee Strong, daughter of Pete and Jennifer Nelson of Sauk Centre, for winning the Minnesota Farmers Union’s (MFU) FFA essay contest.  Alexis was awarded $1,000 for the Sauk Centre Area 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. A thank you and congratulations also goes out the Sauk Centre FFA Advisor, Mr. Duane Lichy, for his guidance.

MFU asked FFA students statewide to write a 500-750 word essay in response to this question, “How can farmers and rural communities work toward implementing a national food security policy to combat hunger on a regional and national level? “

Ms. Strong states in her essay, “the concept of food security is fundamentally important, and for that reason, agriculture is important. The task of growing crops, raising livestock, and feeding citizens has been a first priority for farmers for many years. I believe that pushing for a Farm Bill, Country of Origin, Immigration Bill, and community gardens are all terrific ways on implementing national food security.”

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<![CDATA[MFU day camp schedule set!]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-day-camp-schedule-set/
   By Communications Director

St. Paul (May 22, 2013) - Have your child join Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) for a day camp in your area this summer. MFU professional camp counselors will be traveling around the state teaching the difference between cooperatives and cooperation, while most importantly having fun! Each day camp is unique, with a different combination of crafts, games, lessons, songs, and skits all in the great outdoors. These activities are designed to enhance each day-camper’s leadership skills—the building blocks of strong rural communities—in an entertaining and engaging setting outside of the classroom.

"Kids love to do hands-on activities, and the Minnesota Farmers Union day camps are a great opportunity for kids to get their hands dirty, learn something about farms and rural communities and have some fun this summer,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President.  “The kids will be enjoying themselves so much, they won’t even know they are learning!”

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<![CDATA[Large Minnesota Presence in National Program]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Large-Minnesota-Presence-in-National-Program/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (May 9, 2013) – National Farmers Union (NFU) has announced twelve participants for their 2013 Beginning Farmers Institute (BFI), four of which are Minnesotans: Eric Hoese of Mayer; Carsten Thomas of Moorhead; and Brent Krohn and Bryce Krohn of Nicollet.

“The BFI program targets young family famers and will hone their leadership and farming skills by showing them the tools they will need to make it a go; and give them the resources necessary for their farming journey,” said Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson. “I congratulate the four Minnesota members for their inclusion in the BFI program and look forward to working with them as the next generation of family farmers.”

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<![CDATA[MFU Women's Leadership Conference a success]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-Womens-Leadership-Conference-a-success/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (May 1, 2013) Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) recently held its inaugural Women’s Leadership Conference titled Energizing Women and Growing Our Leadership.

Women are, and have always been, an integral part of the farm and this conference brought women from all across Minnesota together to tap into the leadership skills they already possess  from working on the farm, and learning how to use those skills in their community, as well as meet and greet other women to share ideas and stories.

“The women at this conference were incredible.  The debates were lively, energetic and informative,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “The speakers lent their expertise and all the women left energized and ready for action!”

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<![CDATA[MFU President Doug Peterson returns from Japan]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-President-Doug-Peterson-returns-from-Japan/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (April 29, 2013) Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President Doug Peterson recently returned from the World Farmers Organisation’s  (WFO) General Assembly in Nigata, Japan.

“The purpose of the WFO is to bring together farmers from all over the world to discuss policies, practices and practicalities of farming,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “We may come from different parts of the world but the goals, struggles and victories remain the same.  Farmers strive to produce the best quality product they can.”

The WFO adopted its first policy on international trade and among its key policy objectives was the need for country-of-origin labeling requirements that allow countries to distinguish their products without distorting trade.

According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, 57 countries, including Canada and Mexico, require some form of country-of-origin labeling for food. These countries account for 94 percent of U.S. trading activity for food and animals.

“It is not a matter of if we are going to trade with other countries,” said Peterson. “It is a matter of how we trade, and having Farmers Union at the table when international trade is being discussed was beneficial to farmers across rural America.”

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<![CDATA[Renewable Energy Funds Available]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Renewable-Energy-Funds-Available/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (April 12) The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced $53.6 million dollars available to agricultural producers and small businesses through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

“Farmers are the original ‘green energy’, bringing innovation to the forefront of operations.” says Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President Doug Peterson, “The REAP program aids farmers and ranchers to implement even more of these innovative technologies.”

Funds are available by grants, guaranteed loans, and combined grants and guaranteed loans for the development and construction of renewable energy systems and for energy efficiency improvement projects. Grants are also available for conducting renewable energy system feasibility studies.

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<![CDATA[MFU President Doug Peterson in Japan with the WFO]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-President-Doug-Peterson-in-Japan-with-the-WFO/
   By Communications Director

St. Paul (April 9, 2013) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President Doug Peterson is part of a leadership delegation of National Farmers Union Presidents at the World Farmers Organization (WFO) General Assembly in Niigata, Japan April 15-18.

 “This is an opportunity to work side by side with other farmers around the world,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “Sharing our different viewpoints will help each individual attending gain new insights to the global agricultural community, strengthening innovation in this community.”

 MFU President Doug Peterson will also be joined by: National Farmers Union President, Roger Johnson; North Dakota Farmers Union President, Elwood Barth; South Dakota Farmers Union President, Doug Sombke; Wisconsin Farmers Union President, Darin Von Ruden; and Montana Farmers Union President, Alan Merrill.

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<![CDATA[Minnesota Farmers Union Investing in Women’s Leadership]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Minnesota-Farmers-Union-Investing-in-Womens-Leadership/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (March 26, 2013) Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) is hosting the Inaugural Women’s Leadership Conference Saturday, April 27 and Sunday, April 28 at the Ramada Plaza in Minneapolis. The number of women farmers in the United States has increased nationally nearly 30 percent since 2002, making women one of the fastest-growing segments of new farmers. More than 40 percent of these new women farmers are under the age of 55, which directly contrasts the aging trend of American farmers.

“I’m extremely excited for MFU to invest in women’s leadership,” said MFU President Doug Peterson “I encourage all women from outside and within the agricultural community spend the weekend growing, sharing and connecting with other motivated women.”

Claudia Svarstad, Vice President of National Farmers Union will be speaking at the Saturday evening banquet, joined by a host of speakers including; Pakou Hang, Hmong American Farmers Assiociation; Leigh Adcock, Director, Women, Food and Agriculture Network; Catherine Gray, Consultant, Clarity Central; Deb Fitzpatrick, Humphrey Institute Director, for Center for Women and Public Policy; Meg Moynihan, Dairy Farmer; Linda Larson, Dakota County Farmers Union, Markell Vogt, MFU Executive Board Member, Jessica Ratka, Participant, Farmers Union Enterprise Leadership Program; and many more.

The Inaugural Women’s Leadership Conference will be held at the Ramada Plaza, 1330 Industrial Boulevard, Minneapolis.

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<![CDATA[“Thank You!” to Farmers and Ranchers]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Thank-You-to-Farmers-and-Ranchers/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (March 21, 2013) Minnesota Farmers Union would like to thank farmers and ranchers for their hard work and dedication in honor of Minnesota Agriculture Week, March 17-23.

“Farming and ranching is a vital part of Minnesota’s economy,” says Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson, “Farmers and ranchers are the original green energy. I am proud to stand for farmers in return for all they do for us.” 

The U.S. farmer of today produces enough food and fiber for approximately 155 people. This number was 19 people in 1940, 46 people in 1960, and 115 people in 1980.

The Minnesota Agriculture Industry generated approximately $15.1 billion in farm income and over $5 billion in farm exports in 2010.

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<![CDATA[MFU Makes National Changes]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-Makes-National-Changes/
   By Communications Director

ST.PAUL (March 8, 2013) Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President Doug Peterson was re-elected as National Farmers Union (NFU) Secretary for the coming year at the 111thAnniversary National Farmers Union Convention held March 2-6 in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Over 40 MFU members traveled to Massachusetts to set NFU’s policy road map for the coming year. Most important discussions were of another five year farm bill, transparency of post-farm costs in the dairy industry, clarification of food safety practices for farmers, and requirement of the United States Postal Service to continue Saturday mail service.

Requiring conservation compliance in order to be eligible for crop insurance was also an issue of great debate. Limitation of payments were discussed as a viable option, but not adopted. The focus of this discussion was on the impacts brought to family farms, beginning farmers, and southern crop farmers.

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<![CDATA[MEDIA ADVISORY: MFU members heading to National Farmers Union Convention in Springfield, Massachusetts ]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MEDIA-ADVISORY-MFU-members-heading-to-National-Farmers-Union-Convention-in-Springfield-Massachusetts-/
   By Communications Director

What: National Farmers Union Convention

When: March 2-6, 2013

Where: Springfield, Massachusetts

Who: Mitchell Farmer-Lies of Belle Plaine; Peter and Stacy Ripka of Ogilvie; Bessie Klose of Atwater;  Gary Wertish of Renville; Jim Frederickson of Rogers; Jim Falk of Murdock; Judy Moen of Climax; Mike and JessicaRatka of Foley; Bill Sorg of Hastings; Larry Jacobson of Hitterdal; Doug and Elly Peterson of Madison;  Rodney Allebach of Menahga; Ross Eischens of Minneota; Merlyn and Sandy Hubin of Hitterdal; Marv and Marlyns Jensen of Kensington; Brian Rohrenbach of Rosemount; Linda Larson of Rosemount; Richard Moen of Clearbrook; Gene Paul of Delavan; Alan and Karen Perish of Browerville; and Lisa Syverson of Ulen.

Minnesota Farmers Union members heading to National Farmers Union Convention in Springfield, Massachusetts

Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) members will be attending the National Farmers Union (NFU) Convention in Springfield, Massachusetts March 2-6. NFU Policy will be discussed and voted upon. There are also two proposed Special Orders of Business, to adopt a new five year Farm Bill, and also to reform dairy pricing.

“The focus of this year’s convention is to send a message to congress of working together for the good of America” says MFU President Doug Peterson. “Working together means passing a five year Farm Bill with positive pricing for dairy.”

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<![CDATA[Vilsack, Dayton and Minnesota Farmers Union]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Vilsack-Dayton-and-Minnesota-Farmers-Union/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (February 16, 2013) United States Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, alongside Governor Mark Dayton met with members today at the Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) office. State Representatives Andrew Falk, and Rick Hansen, who are also MFU members, were in attendance as well.

At the meeting Secretary Vilsack recognized Minnesota and specifically Minnesota Farmers Union for their progressive work in agriculture, and informed MFU members on a federal perspective of current issues.

An issue of high priority for Secretary Vilsack is introducing young people into farming. “There will be far more farmers over the age of 75 than there will be under the age of 25” predicted Vilsack. “I value this group here” he said to Minnesota Farmers Union members, “I see a lot of people that look a lot younger than I do, which is great.”

Federal budget sequestration, the Farm Bill, water quality programs, and dairy were also important points of discussion. These are also high on Minnesota Farmers Union’s legislative agenda.

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<![CDATA[Attorney General Lori Swanson Recognizes MFU President Doug Peterson]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Attorney-General-Lori-Swanson-Recognizes-MFU-President-Doug-Peterson/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (January 29, 2013) In a meeting Tuesday at the Minnesota State Capitol, Attorney General Lori Swanson, recognized Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President Doug Peterson for his service. This public service award thanks Peterson for his service to the citizens of Minnesota, and for his strong advocacy to farmers, the agricultural economy and rural communities.

This award was presented at a meeting during the Minnesota Farmers Union 2013 Lobby Day, where MFU members gathered together to meet face to face with lawmakers to discuss important issues.

Minnesota Farmers Union's lobby day at the Minnesota state capitol takes place Tuesday, January 29 from 10AM-3PM.

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<![CDATA[USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack Meeting at Minnesota Farmers Union Office]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/USDA-Secretary-Tom-Vilsack-Meeting-at-Minnesota-Farmers-Union-Office/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (February 14, 2013) Tom Vilsack, head of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), will be meeting with Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) this coming Saturday February 16, 2013. 

“To my knowledge, this is the first time the Secretary of Agriculture has visited the Minnesota Farmers Union office,” commented MFU President Doug Peterson. “We are very pleased that he requested this meeting, and look forward to discussing how Minnesota Farmers Union’s legislative efforts are making changes on a federal level.” 

Minnesota Farmers Union’s top legislative priorities are to implement a workable tax solution for the current budget deficit, approach water quality programs in a proactive manner, and make affordable healthcare solutions available for small businesses and families.

This meeting will be closed to media, however MFU President Doug Peterson is available for comment directly after the meeting, which is scheduled to end at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday February 16, 2013.

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<![CDATA[Big Oil and Grocery Giants’ Claim Against Ethanol Denied]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Big-Oil-and-Grocery-Giants-Claim-Against-Ethanol-Denied/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (January 24, 2013) Tuesday, January 15, Grocery Manufacturers Association, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers and others petitioned for rehearing of an August 2012 pro-ethanol ruling from the Environmental Protection Agency to raise the 10 percent maximum ethanol/gasoline blend to a 15 percent maximum. These blends are commonly referred to as E10 and E15.

This ruling is proactively working with the Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires qualifying fuel refiners and importers to annually increase the volume of renewable fuel provided to consumers.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers—which are comprised of members such as grocery and oil industry giants General Mills, Nestlé, and Exxon Mobil—claimed the increase would cause potential automobile damage and increased food costs. These claims were overturned by a three judge panel, who found no cause to reduce ethanol blends with the Renewable Fuels Standard.

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<![CDATA[MFU sets priorities for legislative session]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-sets-priorities-for-legislative-session/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (January 8, 2013) - With grassroots input from its farmer-membership, Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) has set priorities for the 2013 legislative session. 

“The number one issue for Minnesota Farmers Union this session at the Capitol is addressing tax issues in rural areas,” said Doug Peterson, MFU President.  “MFU will work with the Dayton Administration and legislators to find common sense solutions to address issues around property, estate, sales, income and deprecation taxes.”

In addition to addressing property tax concerns, MFU will be working on legislation promoting and supporting local foods, health care, farmer-lender mediation and energy.

Two other big concerns MFU hopes to address this session are the continuation of a gray wolf hunting/trapping season, and legislation supporting the creation of an Agriculture Water Quality Certification Program.

These are just some of the issues MFU will be working on in the 2013 legislative session.  Also, these are the issues MFU members will be talking to legislators about when they head to the state Capitol on Tuesday January 29, for their annual lobby day.

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<![CDATA[Minnesota Farmers Union calls for support of Representative Collin Peterson]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Minnesota-Farmers-Union-calls-for-support-of-Representative-Collin-Peterson/
   By Communications Director

ST.PAUL (January 7, 2013) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President Doug Peterson would like to express his support to Minnesota Representative Collin Peterson in his call for assurance of debate from Speaker of the House, John Boehner, and House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor, in regards to crafting another possible farm bill. 

Speaker Boehner has been previously quoted saying, “We need to stop writing bills in the Speaker’s office and let members of Congress be legislators again… We have nothing to fear from letting the House work it’s will – nothing to fear from the battle of ideas. That starts with the Committees. The result will be more scrutiny and better legislation.” 

Representative Peterson, MFU and others alike confer that not allowing time for the Agriculture Committee’s bipartisan bill to be debated on the floor was a disregard to letting the house “work it’s will”.

MFU President Peterson would like to call to action all commodity groups to join in support of Representative Peterson, to support his endeavors of receiving assurance of a farm bill debate.

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<![CDATA[MFU President Peterson calls for farm bill extension]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-President-Peterson-calls-for-farm-bill-extension/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (December 31, 2012) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President Doug Peterson urged Congressional leaders in the United States Senate and House of Representatives to pass an extension of the current farm bill for nine months and continue to work on and pass a responsible five-year farm bill in the new Congress.

"With Congress at an impasse, a nine-month extension may be the only path to a five-year farm bill in the new Congress,” said Doug Peterson, MFU President. “An extension must be responsible and protect baseline funding and continue vital farm and consumer programs such as the Milk Income Loss Contract Program (MILC), crop insurance, child and elderly nutrition, and conservation.”

Minnesota Farmers Union, standing for agriculture and fighting for farmers.

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<![CDATA[MFU members Biel & VanDerPol appointed to state boards by Governor Dayton]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-members-Biel--VanDerPol-appointed-to-state-boards-by-Governor-Dayton/
   By Communications Director

Governor Dayton announced several appointments that include MFU members Jim VanDerPol (Chippewa Co.) being appointed to the Food Safety Task Force and Eunice Biel (Fillmore Co.) being appointed to the MN Dairy Research, Training, and Consumer Education Authority. Congrats to them!

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<![CDATA[EPA rules on the side of farmers & common sense with ruling on farm dust]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/EPA-rules-on-the-side-of-farmers--common-sense-with-ruling-on-farm-dust/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (December 19, 2012) –The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized an update to its national air quality standards for harmful fine particle pollution, and they ruled to not change the regulations on dust from farms and other sources.

“Minnesota Farmers Union and National Farmers Union fought hard to make sure these dust regulations would not be changed and so we are pleased that the EPA came down on the side of common sense and decided to not regulate farm dust,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. 

Other common sense regulatory issues that Farmers Union fought for and won on the behalf of family farmers include: allowing for farm kids to continue to work on the farm; and country-of-origin-labeling (COOL) on food.


A federal court ruling required the EPA to update its national air quality standards for fine particle pollution and this announcement fulfills that requirement.

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<![CDATA[Applications Now Being Accepted for 2013 Farmers Union Beginning Farmers Institute]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Applications-Now-Being-Accepted-for-2013-Farmers-Union-Beginning-Farmers-Institute/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (December 6, 2012) – National Farmers Union (NFU) and Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) are encouraging individuals who are contemplating beginning a career in farming or ranching to apply for the Beginning Farmer Institute. The annual program, now accepting its third class of students, is open to individuals who are new to farming, are in the process of transferring an operation from a relative or non-relative to themselves, or are contemplating a career in farming or ranching.

“Programs like the Beginning Farmers Institute are integral to the future of farming in Minnesota and across the nation,” said MFU President Doug Peterson. “The Beginning Farmers Institute helps new and transitioning farmers navigate the path to successful farm ownership, and we encourage anyone interested to apply for this great opportunity.”

The BFI program helps students gain insight and practical skills needed by beginning farmers and ranchers, including business plan writing, financial planning, and researching available programs to help starting up and sustaining a successful operation.

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<![CDATA[MFU sets policy and passes special order on farm bill at annual state convention]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-sets-policy-and-passes-special-order-on-farm-bill-at-annual-state-convention/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (November 19, 2012) The Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) held its 71st annual state convention on Saturday, November 17 and Sunday, November 18.  Policy and special orders were passed, and delegates were elected for the National Farmers Union Convention in Springfield, Massachusetts, March 2-5.

“The delegates at our convention had an opportunity to express concerns and make changes to our policy – everyone has a voice in Minnesota Farmers Union,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President.  “That is why our convention is so important because our members discuss the crucial issues of rural Minnesota and make changes to our policy that will improve the future of family farmers and rural communities.”

The MFU delegates passed a special order of business urging Congress to pass, and the president to sign, a five-year farm bill by the end of the year.  The special order also expressed that MFU is opposed to any extension of the current, expired farm bill. The delegates addressed the expiring estate and depreciation taxes, and passed resolutions in support of local food, renewable energy, and property tax relief.

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<![CDATA[Youth win Torchbearers Award]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Youth-win-Torchbearers-Award/
   By Communications Director

Mitchell Farmer-Lies, Jennifer Roberts, Cheyenne Corbett & Nathan Magnell.

ST. PAUL (November 17, 2012) Minnesota Farmers Union gave out its Torchbearer award at their 71st annual state convention. In order to be eligible to win the Torchbearer Award, the youth needed to be involved with the Farmers Union education program for at least four years. Each individual also attended the Farmers Union All-States Leadership Camp, which is where individuals who have distinguished themselves as leaders meet with other Farmers Union youth from throughout the country in Bailey, Colorado at the National Farmers Union Education Center.

The award winners were: Nathan Magnell, son of Dennis & Danielle Magnell from Gully; Mitchell Farmer-Lies, son of Tim Lies and Kathy Farmer from Belle Plaine; Jennifer Roberts, daughter of Robin & Carla Roberts of Montevideo; Alex Chuma, son of Esther Chuma of Shakopee; Cheyenne Corbett, daughter of Laura Corbett of Nicollet; Cedric Ford, son of Gemma Pillai of Shakopee; Brooke Magnell, daughter of Toni Magnell of Oklee, and Justin McPeak, son of Janet McPeak from Hamburg.

“Receiving the Torchbearer Award is a great accomplishment and one these youth should be proud of,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “I congratulate them on their achievement and thank them for being a dedicated member of the Minnesota Farmers Union family.”

Since the 1930's, becoming a Torchbearer has marked the conclusion of a Farmers Union young person's work in the youth program, and the commencement of his/her participation into adult Farmers Union activities.

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<![CDATA[Maydean Petersen receives Youth Education Award]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Maydean-Petersen-receives-Youth-Education-Award/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (November 17, 2012) Maydean Petersen of Willmar received the Youth Education Award from Minnesota Farmers Union at their 71st annual state convention. 

“Maydean has been serving the youth that attend our education camps at Sibley State Park for twenty-five years, which is an incredibly impressive undertaking,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President.  “Minnesota Farmers Union appreciates the dedication and great care she has given the Farmers Union youth by preparing healthy and nutritious meals and are thrilled to honor her with our Youth Education Award.”

Maydean Petersen began cooking for Minnesota Farmers Union camp at Sibley State Park in 1997. She is the oldest of fifteen children and so she started cooking and canning at age seven, in order to help her mother with the family.

She worked for Willmar Poultry for seven years, managed 4-H Food Stand at the Kandiyohi County Fair for 24 years, and at Ridgewater College since 1992, and now works for Taher Foods where she cooks, is a cashier and does cake decorating. Maydean is very active in her church, St. John’s Lutheran in Raymond. She is the President of Lakeland Conference.

Pie baking is one of Maydean’s favorite things to do, including teaching young 4-H children, as well as adults, to bake pies. She also enjoys cooking, canning, gardening and crafts, crocheting, and quilting. 

Maydean is married to Calvin Petersen, and they live in Willmar. They have three grown children: Dwight (Debbra), Mark (Amanda) & VaLoris (Tony Anderson), and seven grandchildren.

MFU Pres Peterson & Maydean Petersen

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<![CDATA[Chad Smith wins Outstanding Agriculture Reporting Award]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Chad-Smith-wins-Outstanding-Agriculture-Reporting-Award/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (November 17, 2012) Chad Smith, formerly of KLGR, received the Outstanding Agricultural Reporting Award from Minnesota Farmers Union at their 71st state convention. 

“Chad is always ready to dig in and get to the bottom of a story, which is always a positive in agriculture reporting,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “He does a great job at serving the agriculture community and why Minnesota Farmers Union wanted to honor him for his work and service to rural Minnesota.”

Chad got into radio in the summer of 1990. He has moved up and down the dial, with stops in Marshall, Minnesota; Watertown, South Dakota, and most recently Redwood Falls, Minnesota.  He started with KLGR in Redwood Falls in 2005 and was named Farm Director full time in 2007, which took him all over - from the Twin Cities, to Farmfest, to California. He doubled the farm broadcast ratings since he took over in 2007. He also does sports broadcasting and is approaching 1,000 games in his radio career, covering football, basketball, hockey, softball, and baseball.

Chad is from Redwood Falls and he and his wife Monique have six children, Derrick, Braedan, Talisa, Kieran, Gaelan, and Lochlan.

MFU Pres Doug Peterson & Chad Smith

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<![CDATA[Norma Hanson Receives Lifetime Achievement Award]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Norma-Hanson-Receives-Lifetime-Achievement-Award/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (November 17, 2012) Minnesota Farmers Union honored Norma Hanson of Goodridge with their Lifetime Achievement Award at their 71st annual state convention.

“Norma Hanson always fights for what she thinks is fair and is an excellent proponent of agriculture policy that helps the family farmer and rural Minnesota,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President.  “She has spent her life fighting for others and Minnesota Farmers Union is proud to honor her with our Lifetime Achievement Award and thank her for her years of service fighting for family farmers.”

Norma and her husband Lynn started farming 160 acres in 1955, raised hogs and began their reg­istered Ayrshire dairy herd, while growing small grain crops; it eventually expanded to 880 acres, which they still farm. She takes pride in having maintained the herd for over 50 years, which her son and grandsons continue.

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<![CDATA[Dave Velde receives Distinguished Service Award]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Dave-Velde-receives-Distinguished-Service-Award/
   By Communications Director

Dave

ST. PAUL (November 17, 2012) Minnesota Farmers Union honored David G. Velde of Alexandria with a Distinguished Service Award at their 71st annual state convention.

“Dave Velde has been counsel for Minnesota Farmers Union and served with distinction, and he is invaluable to helping our convention run smoothly and providing legal counsel when necessary,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “Minnesota Farmers Union is pleased to honor Mr. Velde with our Distinguished Service Award, it is well-deserved.”

Velde currently serves as general counsel for Minnesota Farmers Union as well as National Farmers Union, and is co-owner of Velde Moore, LTD in Alexandria. He also serves as a United States Bankruptcy Trustee.

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<![CDATA[Farmers gather to talk agriculture policy at MFU convention]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Farmers-gather-to-talk-agriculture-policy-at-MFU-convention/
   By Communications Director

St. Paul (November 6, 2012) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) is having their 71st annual state convention Saturday, November 17 and Sunday, November 18 at the Ramada Plaza in Minneapolis. The business of the convention is the completion of the MFU grassroots policy, and delegates will be elected to represent Minnesota Farmers Union at the National Farmers Union convention in Springfield, Massachusetts in March, 2013.  Delegate discussion will surround the farm bill, re-instating the Homestead Market Value Credit, federal estate tax levels, and renewable energy.

“Minnesota Farmers Union policy is formed is by our members, they will discuss the crucial issues of rural Minnesota and changes that will improve the future of family farmers and rural communities. Our state convention is truly grassroots and member-driven, where everyone’s voice is heard” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President.

Governor Mark Dayton will again be greeting convention attendees on Saturday, followed by a host of people speaking during the convention and banquet including: Tom Landwehr, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner; Jerry Hasnedl, CHS Chairman of the Board; Don Baloun, Natural Resources Conservation Service State Conservationist; Dr. Bill Hartmann, State Veterinarian, Board of Animal Health; Dave Frederickson, Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner; Roger Johnson, National Farmers Union President, and Chandler Goule, National Farmers Union Vice President of Government Relations.

You can find the full agenda at www.mfu.org. The Minnesota Farmers Union Convention will be held at the Ramada Plaza, 1330 Industrial Boulevard, Minneapolis.  Contact Katie Fitzsimmons, MFU Communications Director, with any questions, 612.616.5252.

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<![CDATA[FFA State Officers visit MFU office]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/FFA-State-Officers-visit-MFU-office/
   By Communications Director

FFA State Officers with MFU staff

MFU was honored to have the FFA State Officers at the MFU offices today as part of their State Officer Professional Development program. The FFA officers heard from MFU President Doug Peterson; Education Director, Glen Schmidt; Legislative Director, Thom Petersen; and Membership Director, Bruce Miller. It was a great way to continue the cooperation, legislation, and education principles that Farmers Union stands on. MFU staff enjoyed having the FFA officers in the office!

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<![CDATA[It is 4-H week, time to celebrate youth in agriculture!]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/It-is-4-H-week-time-to-celebrate-youth-in-agriculture/
   By Communications Director

St. Paul (October 9, 2012) - Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) is proud of our 4H organization here in Minnesota and would like to thank them for all their great work during National 4-H week, October 7-13.

“Minnesota Farmers Union has a strong commitment to 4-H and the good that they do. Farmers Union is based on three principles – legislation, cooperation and education, that is why Minnesota Farmers Union and 4-H work so well together because we stand on the same principles – education to further agriculture and our rural communities,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President.

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<![CDATA[MFU members express urgency for a Farm Bill Now!]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-members-express-urgency-for-a-Farm-Bill-Now/
   By Communications Director

St. Paul (September 13, 2012) - Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) members return from Washington, D.C. where they expressed the urgency of the Senate and House passing a farm bill by September 30, 2012. 

MFU members with Senator Franken

“With less than eight congressional working days left, Congress still has time to get this bill done.  Farmers deserve to know where they stand so they can plan for the future,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “The agriculture sector employs 23 million Americans, that is one in every twelve jobs, plus this bill covers nutrition, conservation, energy and trade and needs to get done now!”

 MFU members with Senator Amy Klobuchar

During the fly-in, MFU members met with senators and representatives, had a briefing from senior White House staff, heard from United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and other ag officials and also attended a Farm Bill Now Rally with hundreds of other farmers and supporters of the farm bill.  

Attending the fly-in from Minnesota were: winner of the MFU statewide FFA renewable energy essay contest Brittany Utsch of Paynesville, and her father Kenneth Utsch; MFU Ag Education scholarship winners Bradley Burklund of St. Cloud, Alan Peterson of Clear Lake, and James Beck of Princeton; Dale and Grace Fladeboe of Kandiyohi; Merlyn Hubin of Westbrook; Larry Jacobson of Hitterdal; Marvin Jensen of Kensington; Richard Moen of Clearbrook; Brian Rohrenbach of Rosemount; Bill Sorg of Hastings; Gene Paul of Delavan; Mike and Jessica Ratka of Foley; and National Youth Advisory Council member Mitchell Farmer-Lies of Belle Plaine.  MFU staff will also be in attendance, and they are: MFU President Doug Peterson: MFU Vice President Gary Wertish: MFU Government Relations Director Thom Petersen; and MFU Communications Director Katie Fitzsimmons.

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<![CDATA[Advisory: MFU members heading to Washington, D.C. ]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Advisory-MFU-members-heading-to-Washington-DC-/
   By Communications Director

WHAT:  Farmers Union legislative Washington, D.C. fly-in. With eight Congressional working days left for Congress to finish up important business like the farm bill and other critical rural issues, the Farmers Union legislative fly-in becomes even more crucial. Attendees will meet with senators and representatives, hear from representatives from the United States Department of Agriculture, and attend a “Farm Bill Now” rally to encourage Congress to pass a farm bill in 2012, as well as attend a White House briefing.

WHEN:  Monday, September 10- Wednesday, September 12 

WHO: Attending the fly-in: winner of the MFU statewide FFA renewable energy essay contest Brittany Utsch of Paynesville, and her father Kenneth Utsch; Minnesota Farmers Union Foundation Ag Education scholarship winners Bradley Berklund of St. Cloud, Alan Peterson of Clear Lake and James Beck of Princeton; Dale and Grace Fladeboe of Kandiyohi; Merlyn Hubin of Westbrook; Larry Jacobson of Hitterdal; Marvin Jensen of Kensington; Richard Moen of Clearbrook; Brian Rohrenbach of Rosemount; Bill Sorg of Hastings; Gene Paul of Delavan; Mike and Jessica Ratka of Foley; and Mitchell Farmer-Lies of Belle Plaine.  MFU staff will also be in attendance, and they are: MFU President Doug Peterson: MFU Vice President Gary Wertish: MFU Government Relations Director Thom Petersen; and MFU Communications Director Katie Fitzsimmons.

Call Communications Director Katie Fitzsimmons, 612.616.5252 if you have any questions, or would like to speak to one of our members during the fly-in.

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<![CDATA[Come by 1635 Dan Patch Avenue for coffee, mocha bars and frappes!]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Come-by-1635-Dan-Patch-Avenue-for-coffee-mocha-bars-and-frappes/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (August 22, 2012) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) always has great treats to offer no matter what the weather.  Come get some of our delicious coffee on those cold and rainy days, or a frozen chai or mocha bar on those hot days.  Also, we have a new treat to offer – the “Union,” a raspberry and mocha mixed frappe.  YUM!  Come see us at 1635 Dan Patch Avenue, where you can enjoy a tastey treat and rest your weary feet.

MFU activities at the Fair:

  • Thursday, August 23, 9:30-10:30 a.m. - Kris Valentine with Buz’N Country, 102.9 at MFU booth;
  • Friday, August 24 at 2:30 p.m. sponsorship of the celebrity milking contest (located outside the dairy barn);
  • Saturday, August 25 at 6 p.m. - 4-H auction with MFU President Doug Peterson as one of auctioneers;
  • Sunday, August 26 at 7:45 a.m.- the MFU-sponsored milk run;
  • Sunday, August 26, 12 p.m. – MFU sponsored dairy showcase at the AgStar judging arena;
  • Sunday, August 26 - 10th annual Minnesota Cooks Program from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., in Carousel Park, just west of the Grandstand Ramp.  You can check out the schedule at www.minnesotacooks.org, and you can pick up a free Minnesota Cooks calendar at the MFU booth after the event; and
  • Thursday, August 30, 5 – 9 p.m., MFU President Doug Peterson serving milk at the All You Can Drink Milk booth.
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<![CDATA[Paynesville FFA student wins MFU Renewable Energy Contest ]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Paynesville-FFA-student-wins-MFU-Renewable-Energy-Contest-/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (August 22, 2012) Minnesota Farmers Union would like to congratulate Brittany Utsch, daughter of Ken and Shirley Utsch of Paynesville, for winning the Minnesota Farmers Union’s (MFU) FFA Renewable Energy Essay contest.  Brittany was awarded $1,000 for the Paynesville Area FFA Chapter, and a trip to Washington, D.C. when MFU goes on their annual fly-in in September.  Her father, Ken will be accompanying her to Washington, D.C. A thank you and congratulations also goes out the Paynesville FFA Advisor, Mrs. Natalie Utsch, for her guidance. 

“I would like to thank everyone who has worked through the process of selecting me to be the candidate! This is going to be a wonderful experience and I am looking forward to sharing my experience with my FFA chapter and my fellow community members. Going to Washington D.C. will hopefully narrow my search down for a career in agriculture,” said Brittany Utsch. “I am looking forward to meeting the senators and congressmen and congresswomen that have impacted our agriculture laws today. A special thank you to everyone for making this possible!”

MFU asked FFA students statewide to write a 500-750 word essay in response to this question, “What is the state and future of renewable energy, and how will it affect and build Minnesota’s rural economy?” Ms. Utsch states in her essay, “Local farmers will no longer be just our only source for food, but also our source for renewable energies. With wind power becoming more economically feasible, solar and hydro energy is becoming more efficient, and corn becoming an infinite ingredient in our renewable energy; the local economies will prosper from all the new developments in renewable energies.”  She also finds comfort in knowing that renewable energy is not depleting the earth’s resources.

“Brittany did an excellent job of explaining how renewable energy will impact rural Minnesota, and the importance of that to the rural, and United States economy,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “Brittany should be very proud of her work and I want to congratulate her on a job well done.  A bright future in agriculture lies ahead for her.”

Brittany Utsch. Photo courtesy of Impressions Wedding Photography

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<![CDATA[President Peterson on KSTP talking about the drought and Farmfest]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/President-Peterson-on-KSTP-talking-about-the-drought-and-Farmfest/
   By Communications Director

Check out the video of President Peterson on KSTP:

http://kstp.com/article/stories/S2708811.shtml?cat=12157

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<![CDATA[MFU congratulates Lee Thompson, Outstanding Ag Teacher of the Year]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/MFU-congratulates-Lee-Thompson-Outstanding-Ag-Teacher-of-the-Year/
   By Communications Director

MFU Vice President Gary Wertish; Lee Thompson, Outstanding Ag Teacher of the Year; and Merlyn Hubin, MN Farmers Union Executive Board Chairman

ST. PAUL (July 31, 2012) The Minnesota Association of Agricultural Educators (MAAE) honored Lee Thompson of Goodhue Public School with their Outstanding Agricultural Teacher Award, sponsored by Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU). 

Mr. Thompson’s teaching philosophy revolves around the concept that students learn best when they can apply their learning to situations in which with they are familiar and comfortable.  He believes in hands on learning techniques, and that students respond best when they know that their teacher cares. He has been the Agriculture Instructor for the past 33 years, and has developed a strong curriculum which includes: Agri-Business & Marketing, Ag Mechanics, Ag Economics, 7th grade Ag Explorations, Ag Career Exploration, Ag Leadership and a Work Based Learning / Supervised Agricultural Experience.  The program includes a "Life Learning" class where Mr. Thompson partners with the Consumer Science and Industrial Technology departments.  Eight of Mr. Thompson’s former students have become agriculture teachers.  

“It is an honor for Minnesota Farmers Union to be able to sponsor this award and show gratitude to a teacher like Mr. Thompson who helps the agriculture community remain  strong by keeping students interested and engaged in agriculture,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “I commend Mr. Thompson on his impressive curriculum, congratulate him on this well-deserved and distinguished award, and thank him for his dedication to agriculture.”

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<![CDATA[10th anniversary of Minnesota Cooks coming to the State Fair on August 26th]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/10th-anniversary-of-Minnesota-Cooks-coming-to-the-State-Fair-on-August-26th/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL, MN (July 31, 2012) – Now in its tenth year, the Minnesota CooksTM program (www.minnesotacooks.org) at the State Fair brings together those who value and support our sustainable food system: farmers, consumers, and chefs. Onstage, chefs will create amazing dishes using fresh ingredients supplied by local stewards of the land. As they prepare their creations, emcees Mary Lahammer of Twin Cities Public Television and JD Fratzke of The Strip Club Meat & Fish will engage the chefs and a taster panel of farmers and local celebrities in lively and meaningful discussions about their sustainable philosophies. At the end of each demonstration, the panel, as well as fairgoers, will sample the mouthwatering, farm-fresh fare.

The program begins at 9:00 a.m. with culinary demonstrations by Le Cordon Bleu students and live music from Noah Hoehn, live looping musician. There will be six hourly presentations by Minnesota’s premier chefs and cooks, beginning at 10:00 a.m. All shows take place on the Minnesota Cooks Stage in Carousel Park, just south of the Grandstand.   

“I'm very proud of what this program has accomplished. We've been in lockstep with consumers' increasing concern about where their food comes from and who produces it,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President and creator of Minnesota Cooks. “We're pleased to educate about not only where to purchase these products, including restaurants and retailers, but also the community connection that purchasing local, farm-fresh foods brings about."

2012 farm/restaurant pairings:

10am: Lori Brinkman, Elmbrink Farm with Mike Phillips, Three Sons Meat Co.; and Annette Gilbertson, Gilbertson Farms with Justin Kaderlik, Bethel University

11am: Adam Ellefson & Lupita Marchán, Living Land Farm with Montana Rasmussen, River Rock Coffee; and Todd Churchill, Thousand Hills Cattle Company with JD Fratzke, The Strip Club Meat & Fish

12pm: Gary & Sharon Thelen, Swany White Flour Mills with Alex Roberts, Brasa Premium Rotisserie; and John Hooper, Hoopers’ Yak Ranch with Arun Pokharel & Padam Sharma, Everest on Grand

1pm: Mike Fogel & Valerie Shannon, Buffalo Gal with Lenny Russo, Heartland Restaurant & Farm Direct Market; and Greg & Mary Reynolds, Riverbend Farm with Russel Klein, Meritage

2pm: Stephen Dahl, Fisherman with Scott Graden, New Scenic Café; and Karin & Aric Koenen, Hinterland Vineyards with Nathalie Johnson & Tony Parsons, Minnesota Historic Wine Tours

3pm: Molly McNeil, Minnesota Peach with Erica Strait, Foxy Falafel; and Dayna Burtness, Laughing Loon Farm with Paul Berglund, The Bachelor Farmer

Some of the celebrity tasters include: U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar; U.S. Senator Al Franken; Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture Dave Frederickson; Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem; State Representative Rod Hamilton, Chair of House Agriculture Committee; Don Shelby, formerly of WCCO; Lori Sturdevant, Minneapolis Star Tribune; Barb Mechura, Food Service Director for Hopkins School District; Jeannie Kenevan, Caves of Faribault; and Rodney Allebach, Minnesota Farmers Union Agency.

The beautiful 12-month Minnesota CooksTM calendar will continue its tradition of debuting at the event. This stunning publication will proudly feature gorgeous photography, enticing stories about the rich relationships these farmers and chefs share, and stellar recipes. For the duration of the fair, it will be available at Minnesota Farmers Union’s building at 1635 Dan Patch Avenue.

For a sneak peak at some of what the Minnesota CooksTM program has to offer, check out this video from one of our partners, Twin Cities Public Television, on the Farmers and Chefs of Minnesota, http://youtu.be/X7xU8N7eyK4.

Minnesota Cooks is presented by Minnesota Farmers Union. For more information about Minnesota Cooks, please visit the website at www.minnesotacooks.org, e-mail info@minnesotacooks.org, or “like” Minnesota Cooks on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/pages/MinnesotaCooks/108643322551336.

Minnesota Farmers Union, Standing for Agriculture, Fighting for Farmers (www.mfu.org)

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<![CDATA[Farmfest - come show your support for the RFS at MFU's new booth and new location ]]> http://mfu.legacy-web-2.getliveedit.com/Blog/-Press-releases-Latest-News-Home/Farmfest---come-show-your-support-for-the-RFS-at-MFUs-new-booth-and-new-location-/
   By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (July 26, 2012) – Farmfest is set to be at Gilfillan Estate outside Redwood Falls, Minnesota on Tuesday, August 7- Thursday, August 9 and Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) has a new booth and location and exciting things going on. 

“Farmfest is always an exciting part of the summer because there are so many rural folks in one spot discussing farm policy and sharing farm ideas,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “We have a new booth and new location, which is just west of the forum tent, and we invite you to stop by the MFU booth and check the markets, the weather, and try your luck at winning a Cenex gas card, plus sign our petition in support of homegrown fuels and the Renewable Fuels Standard.”

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