BELLEVUE, Wash. — On March 6, the National Farmers Union (NFU) 117th Anniversary Convention concluded following the adoption of the organization’s policy book and special orders of business. More than 460 family farmers and ranchers convened in Bellevue, Wash., to set organizational policy positions that seek to better the lives of American farm and ranch families and the vibrancy of rural communities.
Delegates to the convention adopted the NFU Policy Book and eight special orders of business that will guide the organization’s government affairs priorities over the course of the next year, especially as they relate to the tough economic circumstances and sustainability issues facing family farmers.
“Our organization derives its strength from its grassroots structure,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “Farmers Union members put their heart and soul into making our country and the world a better place for farm families. So our convention is our most important event—it’s the time every year where delegates set organizational directives and priorities of focus for federal-level policies. We look forward to a successful 2019 in advocating in Washington, D.C., on behalf of the hard-working family farmers and ranchers who feed, fuel and clothe our nation.”
Convention attendees were treated to keynote remarks from Andrew Winston, a globally recognized expert on helping businesses thrive and create a more sustainable world, and remarks from Bill Northey, USDA’s under secretary for farm production and conservation. Johnson delivered his annual State of the Farmers Union address, offering NFU members a vision of hope for the future of family farm agriculture. Johnson also moderated a panel discussion on trade issues with Michael Stumo of Coalition for a Prosperous America, and Kathy Baylis of the University of Illinois Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics.
“This year, we made a concerted effort to provide programming that gives our members an outlook on the future of food and agriculture,” said Johnson. “Ultimately, our nation wants to have a safe, reliable, and transparent food system, thriving rural communities, and a healthy environment. And all of these are dependent upon family farm agriculture. So while economic issues abound and much of our current farm policy fails to put American family farmers and ranchers on an even playing field with corporations and foreign competitors, there are opportunities ahead for farm families.”
In order to provide the national organization a set of priorities for the coming year, 177 Farmers Union delegates approved eight special orders of business:
- Family farming and biofuels.
- Family farming and climate change.
- Family farming and dairy.
- Family farming and farm labor.
- Family farming and the farm safety net.
- Family farming and market concentration.
- Family farming and trade.
- Family farming and truth in labeling.