United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
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.
Minnesota residents can obtain applications at:
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.
St. Paul (January 17, 2012) - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has signed an Agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state of Minnesota to develop a new state program called the Agriculture Water Quality Certification Program for farmers designed to increase the voluntary adoption of conservation practices.
“Minnesota farmers are great stewards of the land and that is why it is a perfect fit for us to work with the USDA and EPA on this new program regarding conservation practices,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “Farmers will have buy-in and ownership of this program and will be counted on to offer technical advice to the EPA and USDA regarding conservation practices on the landscape of Minnesota.”
This agreement is the first step for formalizing a state-federal partnership and confirms the joint commitment toward developing and implementing the program. Through this partnership, producers who voluntarily undertake a high level of conservation activities to reduce nutrient run-off and erosion will receive assurance from the state that their farms will meet Minnesota’s water quality standards and goals during the life of the agreement.
(August 19, 2011) - Growing up in the 1950s, we learned about the “Basic Four” food groups in elementary school. One of the elements lacking in this food guide was a lack of guidance on appropriate fats, sugars, and calorie intake. But compared to today with easy access to fast foods, large portions, and abundant sweets, childhood obesity was not as serious an issue. Working on the farm and walking to and from school provided plenty of opportunity to burn off any extra calories we consumed.
The Basic Four was a change from an earlier guideline provided by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) that included daily servings needed from each of seven food groups. It too did not provide guidance on serving sizes and was considered to be too complex to be effective.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the USDA tried two other food guides before settling on the familiar Food Pyramid that was adopted in 1992. The Food Pyramid was a total diet approach that set goals for both nutrient adequacy and moderation. By using the pyramid, it gave some focus to the issue of proportion and included visualization of added fats, oils, and sugars through five food groups and in the tip. Next to the tip were the words “Use Sparingly.” It also offered guidance on the range of daily amounts of food across three calorie levels.
From National Farmers Union:
WASHINGTON (Dec. 8, 2010) – Farmers Union members Eunice Biel and Allen Lund participated in the fifth and final joint workshop hosted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Justice (DOJ). The workshop focused on discrepancies between the prices farmers receive and the prices consumers pay. Workshop participants gave explanations for the price differences and suggested possible solutions for narrowing the gap.
National Farmers Union (NFU) is pleased to have two participants in today’s workshop to represent U.S. family farmers and ranchers,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “Eunice and Allen are both very knowledgeable in their respective areas and gave great insight into the disturbing trends in both the dairy and livestock industries.”
ST. PAUL (November 21, 2010) – The Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) held its 69th annual state convention on Saturday, November 20 and Sunday, November 21. Policy and special orders were passed, and delegates for the National Convention in San Antonio, Texas in March were elected.
This policy is what MFU, as an organization, fights for in the upcoming year. Special orders passed by the delegates include: support of the proposed new rules to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA), which would lead to less consolidation and manipulation of the marketplace; since MFU is a strong supporter of biofuels, delegates urged Congress to pass extensions of both VEETC and the Biodiesel Tax Credit; and guidelines for the 2012 farm bill were outlined for the new Congress.
“The reason Minnesota Farmers Union works is because we have a dedicated and thoughtful group of members who realize the importance of passing grassroots policy that is good for the future of family farmers and rural communities,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President.
St. Paul (September 17, 2010) - Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) members joined 200 farmers and ranchers from across the country in Washington, D.C., for National Farmers Union's legislative fly-in September 13-15.
"The importance of having Minnesota Farmers Union members out in Washington D.C. is immeasurable because it allows them to speak directly to our representatives and senators about proposed legislation and how that legislation would impact them and ways to make positive changes to the bill in order to create better solutions for rural Minnesota, improving the legislation before it becomes law," said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. "We discussed the upcoming farm bill, ending the dairy crisis, the opportunities opening up trade in Cuba would provide to our farmers, and the need for the proposed rule changes on the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration to be approved. It was an educational trip for MFU members and Members of Congress alike."
(September 3, 2010) - If there is one topic we wish would disappear from our column topic radar, it would be food safety. Every time a food recall is activated, farmers end up with egg on their face—we couldn’t resist the line—even though most had nothing to do with it.
All it takes is a few bad actors to make everyone look bad. There was a time before the widespread availability of refrigeration that rancid butter was a problem. This problem gave an opening for the development of “oleomargarine.” And so to protect their markets and profitability, cooperative creameries began educate and monitor their members so they could consistently provide the public with a quality product. The monitoring was necessary, because rancid cream from a few careless producers would ruin the quality cream delivered by the rest.
While we would be reluctant to classify the industrial-style producers of most of the eggs sold in the US as farmers, there is little doubt that the general public does not make that distinction. Eggs come from chickens and farmers raise chickens; case closed.
St. Paul (August 26, 2010) - On Friday, August 27, Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) Vice President Gary Wertish of Renville and MFU member Tim Velde of Granite Falls will be attending the Department of Justice and the United States Department of Agriculture's workshop about the livestock industry where concentration in the livestock markets, buyer power, and the enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act will be discussed. The workshop will be held in Fort Collins, Colorado.
"The proposed rule changed for the Grain Inspection Stockyards and Packers Administration makes this workshop very timely, and Minnesota Farmers Union is proud to make sure livestock farmers have a seat at the table and their voices are heard," said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. "The proposed rule change would end secret packer processor buying practices and hold packer processors accountable to competitive bid and market practices and we will be there to make sure that message and its importance are heard."
(August 20, 2010) - Balance of power issues in the poultry and livestock industries have been getting a lot attention lately.
The focal points for those debates have been the joint hearings held by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Justice and the new proposed Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) rule. The issues under debate have tended to center on relationships between livestock and poultry producers and the packers/integrators who process their animals. But some would argue that the more important but unacknowledged “elephant” in the livestock pen is the retail sector.
It is not that the changes that have occurred in food retailing haven’t been noticed by us all. Gone are the mom and pop grocery stores and small chains of the past. They have been bought out or driven out of business by the major grocery chains. We have also seen the introduction of groceries into general merchandise retailers like Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and Target.