Letter from Langdon: The NFU

[imgbelt img=nfulogo.gif]We argue, we fuss, we eventually find the way we think is best for the country’s farmers. Yep, just another National Farmers Union convention.

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A message from the Rural Assembly

3. Americans should know where their food comes from. 

Today, seafood is labeled thanks to a section of the Farm Bill called COOL, an acronym for Country of Origin Labeling. But inaction by Congress and our country’s participation in the World Trade Organization have prevented U.S. farm products from being labeled in stores. It is our sovereign right to identify our own safe, high-quality products to our consumers. We should ignore WTO rules about COOL.

4. We don’t like fast track trade authority because it always seems to place agricultural trade on the sideline. That’s why NFU calls on Congress to replace Fast Track with better negotiations that treat our ag products fairly in world markets.

5. NFU sponsored a study done by Dr. Daryll Ray of Tennessee that proves a grain reserve could have eliminated much of the last few years’ farm bill expense stemming from low prices and over production. 

With severe cuts to the federal budget unavoidable, the NFU thinks we need to establish a strategic grain reserve not only to support prices when they are low, but to guarantee access to adequate grain supplies when production falls. That should help lower the cost of maintaining a good farm safety net for farmers when weather or markets cause financial distress.

Nebraska Farmers Union

It helps to know where you came from. Here’s the Nebraska NFU convention of 1941, meeting at the Hotel Roma in Omaha.

Three blue stars represent points of the triangle. Below and to the right are rolling fields of grain or, (you be the judge) maybe ocean waves above New England fishing grounds. NFU members aren’t just tillers of the earth. We are fishermen, cranberry growers, farm to market growers, dairymen, ranchers, hog breeders, and more. 

Still, when we honor our best “Feeding America” types like Howard Buffett; or Dr. Mary Hendrickson (who both promotes farm-to-market selling and fights market concentration); or longtime NFU stalwart Odean Olson, the Meritorious Service award they receive is a basic design, a replica of a horse drawn plow atop a walnut pedestal to remind us that in order to know where we’re going we must know where it is we came from. 

Generations later, for descendants of sod busting immigrants, or multi-generational New England fishermen, the work of filling empty bellies continues. 

Ours is an old job with modern ties to the future.

We’re National Farmers Union…United to Grow Family Agriculture.

Richard Oswald is the president of the NFU chapter in Missouri.

A message from the Rural Assembly

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