ST. PAUL (November 22, 2011) – The Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) held its 70th annual state convention on Saturday, November 19 and Sunday, November 20. Doug Peterson was re-elected as President and Gary Wertish was re-elected Vice President by acclamation; policy and special orders were passed, and delegates were elected for the National Convention in Omaha, Nebraska in March.
This policy is what MFU, as an organization, advocates for in the upcoming year. Among the special orders of business passed include one on the farm bill, which calls for meaningful payment limitations, a strong safety net for all crops when prices are low, as well as for dairy farmers when the farm gate price falls below production. A second special order calls for the reinstatement of the Homestead Credit (Homestead Market Value Credit). The third special order calls for MFU to send comments opposing the proposed rule to the Department of Labor that could prohibit certain children from farm activities and could negatively impact 4-H, FFA, and youth who wish to work on farms and in agriculture.
(February 17, 2009) - Major changes in crop programs are usually accompanied by uncertainty on the part of farmers. The late passage of the 1996 Farm Bill and its radically new provisions had farmers scratching their heads as they struggled to understand AMTA payments (Agricultural Market Transition Act) and the Marketing Loan Program with its Loan Deficiency Payments and Marketing Loan Gain provisions.
By way of contrast, farm bills, like the 2002 legislation, that make only incremental changes are taken in stride. Farmers, along with their bankers and CPAs, know what to expect and the uncertainty is low.
The 2008 Farm Bill included a new program ACRE (Average Crop Revenue Election) that would reduce Direct Payments (by 20%), replace the Counter-Cyclical Payment program, and lower the rate for marketing loan payments (by 30%). Farmers must decide whether to switch to the ACRE program or continue to use the current set of payment programs.
Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack lays out priorities, extends comment period for payment limitations rule
From the United States Department of Agriculture
WASHINGTON, Monday, January 26, 2009-Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced he will extend the comment period for the 2008 Farm Bill Farm Program Payment Limitation and Payment Eligibility rulemaking process.
Vilsack discussed his priorities as Secretary of Agriculture during a teleconference call today with agriculture and other reporters across the country and said that as part of the regulatory review process outlined by the White House and Office of Management and Budget (OMB), he is directing the Department to extend the comment period for the payment limits rule for an additional 60 days.
"Let's be clear - in no way is this move a signal that we will modify the rules for the 2009 crop year," Vilsack said. "Sign up has begun and it's important that clear and consistent rules remain in place so that producers can prepare for the crop year and manage their risk appropriately."
To date, USDA has only received seven comments on the payment limits rule and Vilsack says that by extending the comment period additional farmers and other interested parties will have the opportunity to comment.