ST. PAUL (July 29, 2009) - The 28th annual Farmfest will be held August 4-6 at the Gilfillan Estate in Redwood County, Minnesota and both Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) and National Farmers Union (NFU) will be represented.
New NFU President Roger Johnson will be in attendance Tuesday, August 4 and in the morning of Wednesday, August 5 and will be on a panel titled, "Climate change. Challenges and opportunities for agriculture," at 1:15 on Tuesday, August 4. MFU President Doug Peterson will be on a panel on Wednesday, August 5 at 10:30 titled, "The Minnesota ag industry. Where are we at and where are we going?"
"The proximity of our Farmers Union booth just west of the forum tent gives members and farmers a great place to come by and discuss what they heard from the speakers, and to talk about rural issues," said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. "NFU President Roger Johnson will be at the booth to discuss the importance of agriculture in the climate change debate and to talk to farmers about what's on their mind. Be sure to stop by our booth, grab a cup of coffee or a glass of water and say hello."
Congressman Tim Walz is scheduled to be at the MFU booth at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, August 4.
WASHINGTON (July 21, 2009) - Carver County Minnesota Farmers Union President Scott Hoese testified before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry today on the devastating economic conditions within the dairy industry. As a dairy farmer, Hoese said the current situation is unlike any experienced in the past and the width and depth cannot continue to be ignored.
"This crisis has not discriminated based upon herd size or geographic location," Hoese said. "The rollercoaster market dairy producers have been riding becomes more severe with each passing year, with the highs not lasting long enough to mitigate the lows".
Hoese told the subcommittee dairy farmers need a lifeline now. "There is no single factor why the dairy industry is in the economic condition it is in and there is no single option to solve this crisis. It will take a suite of options from Congress and the administration to ensure short-term survival and long-term prosperity for America's dairy farmers," he said.
Calling all Women Living and Working in Rural Minnesota! Farmfest will feature the, “First Annual Farmfest Women’s Breakfast,”
From Farmfest '09:
On Thursday, August 6th at the Jackpot Junction Redwood Falls, MN (July 15, 2009) - Are you a woman living and/or working in rural Minnesota, the surrounding communities or know of one who meets these criteria? Then has Farmfest got the event for you! New for 2009, Farmfest is proud to introduce the, "First Annual Farmfest Women's Breakfast," held at the Jackpot Junction on Thursday, August 6th at 9:00am.
This event will feature a gourmet sit-down breakfast inclusive of a variety plate consisting of a multitude of pork and egg related products including; Mini ham/cheese omelet, Eggs Benedict, small wrap with sausage, parmesan hash browns, a mini muffin, strawberries and a variety of beverages.
The event also includes a raffle with chances to win great prizes donated by local companies, and prominent featured speakers including; Carol Molnau, Minnesota Lieutenant Governor, Colleen Lankamer, USDA Rural Development State Director, and Linda Hennen, State Farm Service Agency Director, and many more who will be on-hand to discuss events which led them to where they are in life as well as a question & answer session with attendees.
Minnesota Farmers Union commends the Obama Administration on naming Linda K. Hennen as Minnesota's Farm Service Agency (FSA) Director; and Colleen Landkamer as the Minnesota State Director for Rural Development at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
"Both nominations are excellent, and they will serve Minnesota well," said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. "Minnesota Farmers Union has had the pleasure of working with these people before and looks forward to continue to work with them in their new roles. Congratulations to Linda and Colleen.
Hennen has more than 30 years of experience working with the Farm Service Agency, including 15 years of management experience. She served as District Director in Minnesota from 2000-2007, where she had oversight for farm program operations and management decisions for 10 southeastern counties. Prior to that position, Hennen worked in the Minnesota FSA office in a variety of roles where she gained expertise on the state's agricultural issues. She has many years of direct experience with regional producers and grew up farming in Minnesota. Hennen continues to be a part-owner of a family farm in Stevens County.
Landkamer has been county commissioner for Blue Earth County since 1988 and has worked with various organizations on rural development issues.
ST. PAUL, Minn. - Searching for locally grown foods in Minnesota has become even easier with improvements to the online Minnesota Grown Directory from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA). The comprehensive local foods directory contains listings in 77 counties that feature 750 farms, farmers markets' and other locations to find the freshest food available.
The online improvements to the Minnesota Grown Directory include a new mapping system using Google Map technology, making it easy to get directions from any location to a farm or market. The location and directions can also be e-mailed to a friend.
The search function of the directory has also been upgraded to list cities or farms by alphabetical order or sort by distance.
Producers can add additional announcements, photos and details to their listings that aren't available in the printed directory.
The online directory includes everything that's listed in the printed directory plus more than a dozen farms that have joined the program since its publication.
Try out the new online Minnesota Grown Directory at www.minnesotagrown.com.
St. Paul (June 17, 2009) - These are tough times in a tough economy, not only for banks and car dealerships, but there are hardships in agriculture as well and one of the hardest hit is the dairy sector. With high input costs and low dairy prices, it is about time some attention is drawn to the dairy crisis. That is why Minnesota Farmers Union is holding two "No Bull" dairy action sessions, to hear from dairy farmers and take suggestions as to what can be done to improve farmgate price and profit. The schedule for the meetings:
- Monday, June 29 from 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. at the Eagles Café, 31 Main Avenue North in New York Mills; and
- Tuesday, June 30 from 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. at John and Kris Miller's dairy farm, 22219 East County Road 8 in Plainview (2.5 miles east of Plainview on County Road 8).
"The dairy industry is in dire straits and action by Congress is immediately needed," said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. "After we hear from farmers, we will ask Congress to act on behalf of dairy farmers. It is unfortunate that society is often times not even concerned about the people that put food on the table, and we are hoping that these meetings will be a step in the right direction in changing that!"
Local and federal officials have been invited to attend the "No Bull" dairy action sessions.
WASHINGTON (June 15, 2009) - National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson last week told the House Agriculture Committee NFU could not support climate change legislation, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, as passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Johnson made the following statement.
"If the legislation approved by the Energy and Commerce Committee is not improved with regard to agricultural offsets, National Farmers Union will urge members of Congress to vote against the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.
"NFU has been proactive and constructive throughout the legislative process and would very much like to support climate change legislation. However, the Energy and Commerce Committee failed to adequately address any of our priorities.
"NFU policy supports a national, mandatory carbon emission cap and trade system to reduce non-farm greenhouse gas emissions if the U.S. Department of Agriculture is granted control and administration of the agriculture offset program, early actors are recognized, no artificial cap is placed on domestic offsets, carbon sequestration rates are based upon science and producers are permitted to stack environmental benefit credits.
St. Paul (May 20, 2009) - Minnesota Farmer Union (MFU) saw positive action on many fronts this year at the state capitol during the 2009 legislative session which adjourned on Monday May 18.
"We were pleased that there were positive results for our priorities, including changes to the Green Acres Program; extension of the Farmer-Lender Program; and $35 million for the Rural Finance Authority," said Doug Peterson, MN Farmers Union President. "However, the fact that the Legislature did not pass an overall budget is of concern. It is now up to Governor Tim Pawlenty to makes cuts. Farmers are very concerned about high and rising property taxes, and the Governor needs to consider the impact on landowners when making these budget decisions."
The budget for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Board of Animal Health, and the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) took reasonable cuts during the legislative session. Governor Pawlenty will make further cuts to the state budget through the unallotment process, where funding for these departments could be further reduced. In addition, MFU is very concerned about the impact the unallotment process could have on property taxes; cuts to Local Government Aid (LGA); and assistance for hospitals and nursing homes.
From Growth Energy
Since the publication of a controversial study last year (Searchinger et al 2008), a new term has entered the policy debate around biofuels - indirect land use change (ILUC). The debate is focused on whether or not the carbon intensity of fuels like ethanol can or should include a penalty for theoretical indirect, economic effects. Land use is just one of many indirect effects that could also increase the greenhouse gas emissions of different fuels, including gasoline.
In December 2008, the European Union decided not to include an ILUC penalty against biofuels. More recently, in April 2009, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) voted for regulations that would add an "indirect land use change" penalty to biofuels as part of its Low Carbon Fuel Standard. ARB also agreed to investigate the indirect effects of other fuel types. In addition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to release a proposed rule that could include an indirect land use change penalty for biofuels in determining that fuel's capacity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to gasoline.
What Is ILUC Theory?
St. Paul (May 1, 2009) - The state's diesel fuel supply will now contain five percent biodiesel (B5), where it previously used two percent, and to goal is to hit twenty percent by 2015.
Biodiesel is a homegrown, cleaner burning fuel made from domestic, renewable oils. While biodiesel has been produced mainly from soybeans to date, some Minnesota producers are now processing or are moving toward processing biodiesel from alternative feedstocks such as animal fats, spent cooking oils or even algae.
"The state of Minnesota moving to a 5% biodiesel blend moves us to a cleaner burning renewable fuel that supports the Minnesota economy, reduces vehicle emissions, and moves us toward less dependence on foreign oil. With the amount of biodiesel increasing to five percent, that decreases our carbon footprint by 644 million pounds annually - what could be better than that! A green fuel for a green economy"