Farmers Union state convention wraps up

Farmers Union State Convention in Minneapolis

Attendees of the Minnesota Farmers Union State Convention socialize during the Saturday night banquet at the 75th annual convention in Minneapolis. (photo from https://www.facebook.com/mnfarmersunion)

The Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) held its 75th annual state convention on Saturday November 19 and Sunday November 20, 2016.  The grassroots organization took to the floor several key issues that are important to the family farmers of Minnesota.  The realigned policy will set forth a strong agenda for the organization in the upcoming legislative year.

President Doug Peterson expressed gratitude and honor for being able to serve as the state president of the organization for 14 years. “I have spent the majority of my live fighting for the family farmer and the last 14 years being the voice for the members of the Minnesota Farmers Union, the fight will never end for me, I will always be a farmer and I will continue to be a part of Farmers Union. The support and respect the members of this organization have for the life on the farm and for each other is something I can’t imagine being away from.”

farmers union state convention

Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson and wife Elly enjoying the activities at the 75th annual state convention. Doug recently announced he’ll be stepping down at the end of the year after 14 years in the top chair. (photo from Facebook.com/mnfarmersunion)

“Minnesota Farmers Union is a grassroots organization that truly listens to the members and they create the policy that we work by.” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “Every voice has the chance to be heard every day within our organization, and our annual convention offers the perfect platform for these discussions.”

The MFU delegates debated special orders of business addressing the concerns with the upcoming Farm Bill, Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), and Health Care. Delegates went through the Minnesota Farmers Union policy and set the groundwork for the legislative lobbying on behalf of family farmers that will take place in 2017 by Minnesota Farmers Union.

During the convention, speakers included: Senator Amy Klobuchar; Senator Al Franken; Dave Frederickson, Department of Agriculture Commissioner; Lt Governor Tina Smith; Roger Johnson, National Farmers Union President; Representative Collin Peterson; Tim Rudnicki with MN BioFuels; and Jim Ennis with Catholic Rural Life.

Several awards were given out at the banquet Saturday night including: Markell Vogt, Dedicated Service Award; Dustin Hoffmann, Ag Communicator of the year award; Gene Paul, Lifetime Achievement Award; and Doug Peterson, Dedicated Service to Agriculture Award.

During our annual Farmers Union Foundation Live Auction, we were able to collect over $5600 for the FFA Blue Jackets Program.  Thank you to the 43 members who donated to this program, it is a great way to help support young people who will are exposed to and are encouraged to become involved in agriculture.  Minnesota Farmers Union annually supports this program by purchasing 30 blue jackets. In 2016 MFU increased their donation to 40.  With the collection on Saturday evening another 76 blue jackets will be purchased!

Delegates were chosen to represent Minnesota Farmers Union at the National Farmers Union convention which will be held March 5-8, 2017 in San Diego, CA.

Farmers Union Convention pictures 

Wondering what Farmers Union is all about? Check out the 2015 Year in Review video:

Ag has trade questions for the new administration

Let’s go ahead and talk trade headlines from the latest edition of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service headlines:

Trump Election Leaves Agriculture Awaiting Clarification on Issues

rabobank-logo-squircle-jpgA new report from Rabobank says the election of Republican Donald Trump as President of the United States has the food and agriculture sector awaiting clarification on his policies and positions. The Rabobank Food and Agribusiness Research and Advisory group authored the report on the possible implications of the election. Rabobank analysts say Republican-controlled Executive and Legislative branches could “mean swift action when the new administration takes office.” Rabobank notes the advisory group is watching trade, labor and farm bill talks for potential policy changes that could have longer-term implications on the industry. The report says while President-elect Trump’s policies are yet to be clearly defined, his statements during the campaign suggest drastic changes from current policy could be on the horizon. Finally, the report predicts agriculture markets may be impacted by foreign exchange volatility in the short term as Trump takes office in January.

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New Zealand Wants to Talk Trade with Trump

Trade

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key wants to talk trade with President-elect Donald Trump as he prepares to take office in 2017.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key wants to talk trade issues with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump. In a phone call between the two this week, Key told Trump he wished to talk further about trade and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Key told Radio New Zealand that TPP was “worthy of a much fuller discussion,” adding that Trump needs the chance to get a proper assessment before seeing how “we can move things forward.” The Prime Minister said Trump was not rejecting the notion. New Zealand indicated the nation would give the new U.S. administration time to fully consider its trade agenda. That comes after New Zealand’s Parliament approved legislation last week allowing the nation to join TPP, despite the likelihood the trade deal will not proceed.

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Canada Cattle Producers urge Trade Fight if Trump Revives COOL

country-of-originCattle producers from Canada will urge the nation to retaliate against the United States, should U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump revive the U.S. Country-of-Origin meat labeling program (COOL). An internal memo within Trump’s transition team detailed how the new administration would immediately initiate changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, according to Reuters. That could include measures on COOL, which would reignite a six-year trade battle between the U.S. and Canada. U.S. lawmakers repealed COOL last December after the World Trade Organization approved more than $10 billion in trade retaliations by Canada. Canadian Cattlemen’s Association spokesperson John Masswohl says: “We’re watching, and if we think it discriminates against our cattle, our recommendation is going to be that tariffs go into place immediately.” However, he added that until it’s clear how Trump might approach COOL, no action is necessary.

One of the bigger post-election questions is the North American Free Trade Agreement. President-elect Trump feels it needs to be renegotiated with Canada and Mexico. Cuba is another country that agriculture groups want to open up to free trade opportunities. A group of US farmers and congressmen went to Cuba to lobby for agricultural trade about a year ago: