ST. PAUL (April 23, 2012) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) members just returned from Washington, D.C. where they met with their senators and representatives to discuss farm policy.
“These fly-ins are so important because it gives the Minnesota Members of Congress an opportunity to hear what is really going on in the countryside,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “Our members get some one-on-one time with their representatives and senators to tell them why it is important to have a farm bill done this year, how a strong energy policy helps sustain rural Minnesota, the importance of crop insurance and how decisions they make in Washington, D.C. impact folks in rural Minnesota.”
Agriculture is a primary driver of our rural and national economy, providing employment for one in 12 Americans, and is a job-creating industry based upon sustained production by approximately 2.2 million family farmers and ranchers.
Topics discussed during the fly-in were:
(April 21, 2011) - The current high prices and projections of low carry-over stocks have rekindled the food vs. fuel debate. Certainly the ethanol industry, directly, and corn farmers, indirectly, will face increasing calls for lowering the renewable fuels mandate and a reduction in or elimination of the blenders tax credit. If there are planting problems this spring or weather/pollination problems this summer, the pressure for change will intensify.
As we listen to this debate, the implied assumption is that the sole purpose of farming is to provide food and certainly that has been true for over half a century. But if we look back at the nineteenth century, a different more complicated picture confronts us. At that time most farms had a woodlot that provided firewood for the farm household and maybe some to sell to townspeople.
In addition, the farm had a significant amount of its land dedicated to pastureland to provide food—energy—for the animals that were used to pull the implements used in farming and to pull the buggies, wagons, and sleighs that were used to go to town, school, and church. The draft animals were also fed oats and hay that was grown on the farm. Even the addition of steam tractors did little to change this structure as they were usually fueled with firewood.
ST. PAUL (April 15, 2011) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) applauds the signing today of S.F. 1016, the $76.8 million omnibus agriculture finance and policy bill by Governor Mark Dayton. The Legislature passed the conference committee bill Thursday on a strong bipartisan vote that reflects support of the legislation. MFU also thanks the work of the Chairs of the Agriculture Committees Senator Doug Magnus (R-Slayton) and Representative Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake).
ST. PAUL (January 4, 2011) - With grassroots input from its farmer-membership, Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) has set priorities for the 2011 legislative session.
“This legislative session will be about the state’s budget shortfalls and how we improve the economy and create jobs,” said Doug Peterson, MFU President. “MFU will be at the table when proposed cuts are being discussed to address the over $6 billion budget deficit, and will work with the Dayton Administration and legislators on addressing property tax concerns, promoting local foods, and energy legislation, and ensuring that the needs of rural Minnesotans and the farming sector are addressed.”
Agriculture makes up a very small part of the state’s budget, yet somewhere between 20-30% of the jobs and wealth in Minnesota are agriculture-related. MFU will work to ensure sound funding for food safety, energy, education, livestock, sustainable and organic programs.
These are just some of the issues MFU will be working on in the 2011 legislative session. Also, these are the issues MFU members will be talking to legislators about when they head to the state Capitol on Thursday, February 8, 2011, for their annual lobby day. For more information, go to www.mfu.org.
ST. PAUL (February 4, 2010) - With grassroots input from its farmer-membership, Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) has set priorities for the 2010 legislative session. These include: protecting agricultural portions of the state budget, addressing property tax concerns, and promoting energy legislation. The 2010 legislative session begins Thursday February 4.
"This legislative session will be about the state's budget shortfalls and how we improve the economy and create jobs", said Doug Peterson, MFU President. "MFU will be working with our farmers to ensure that rural Minnesota is represented in those discussions."
Agriculture makes up a very small part of the states $36 billion budget, yet agriculture makes up somewhere between 20-30% of the jobs and wealth in Minnesota. MFU will work to make sure that cuts the state needs to make to address the over $1 billion budget deficit does not do undo harm to rural Minnesota and the farming sector. MFU will also work to ensure sound funding for food safety, energy, livestock, sustainable and organic programs, and continue our work toward eliminating bovine tuberculosis from Minnesota.