National Farmers Union

‘Fairness for Farmers’ campaign targets market power of big companies

Buoyed by a Biden administration pledge to vigorously police agricultural mergers, the National Farmers Union launched the nationwide "Fairness for Farmers" campaign on Wednesday to restore competition in the marketplace. "This endeavor has clear goals: to curtail consolidation in agriculture and bust the monopolies, which negatively impact farmers, ranchers, and consumers," said NFU president Rod Larew.

More competition in meatpacking or ‘bust them up,’ senators are told

With four companies dominating the meat industry, Congress and federal regulators must intervene to assure that livestock farmers get a fair price from processors or “if need be, bust them up,” the president of the National Farmers Union said at a Senate hearing on Wednesday. It was the …

Equity commission will root out systemic racism in USDA programs, says Vilsack

At the same time USDA announced its first-ever senior adviser for racial equity, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Monday that an equity commission would “identify and root out any systemic racism that may exist” in USDA programs. Vilsack also said he wanted to use $13 …

Climate mitigation ‘designed by farmers for farmers’

Farmers and ranchers will have a voice in writing the Biden administration’s plan for alleviating climate change, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday — “a system that is designed by farmers for farmers.” A spokesman said the USDA will reach out to the agricultural sector “in the …

Few farm groups speak out on George Floyd’s death or protests that followed

The National Farmers Union was the first major farm group to call for racial justice following the killing of George Floyd by a white Minneapolis police officer on Memorial Day. A handful of groups said this week that they stand in solidarity with protests nationwide against racism and inequality that were sparked by Floyd's death. (No paywall)

National Farmers Union elects new president; Perdue reassures on trade

The National Farmers Union elected Rob Larew, the organization’s senior vice president of public policy and communications, as president at its annual convention Monday in Savannah, Georgia. Larew will take the helm from outgoing president Roger Johnson, a former agriculture commissioner of North Dakota, who served in the role since 2009.

Johnson to step down after a decade as NFU leader

A longtime U.S. farm leader, Roger Johnson said on Tuesday that he will not seek re-election as president of the National Farmers Union when the group holds its annual convention on March 1-3 in Savannah, Georgia. Johnson has led the NFU, the second-largest U.S. farm group, since 2009. Johnson, …

‘Big pile of money’ for farmers could backfire in Congress

The Trump administration enabled multimillion-dollar payments to some large operators in this year’s round of trade war payments by obliterating the usual limits on farm subsidies, said the president of the National Farmers Union on Thursday.

Family farming on a precipice, Wisconsin farmers warn

Corporate consolidation and low commodity prices are posing an existential threat to small, family farms, farmers warned at an event hosted by the Wisconsin Farmers Union in Madison last week. Several producers, from small organic growers to commodity milk farmers, shared stories about how tough farming has become.

NFU opposes USDA plan to relocate research agencies

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue may jeopardize the objectivity of two USDA agencies by taking control of the Economic Research Service and moving it and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) out of Washington, said the National Farmers Union on Tuesday. The second-largest U.S. farm group announced its opposition to the reorganization in a letter to Perdue, saying the USDA has failed to justify the reorganization announced a month ago.

The ‘big two’ U.S. ag groups differ on House farm bill, SNAP overhaul

The National Farmers Union said it opposes the Republican-written farm bill awaiting a vote in the House. The American Farm Bureau Federation, for its part, said the partisan split over the bill was not an insurmountable barrier to passing a new farm and public nutrition law this year.

Perdue sees ‘legitimate concern’ in farm country over trade issues

The farm sector is “rightfully concerned” that President Trump’s plan for steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminum could trigger retaliatory tariffs on U.S. ag exports, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Exports account for 20 percent of U.S. farm income.

With new bill, Iowa Rep. aims to undercut state agriculture regulations

A vast body of state laws regulates farming, from monitoring agricultural pollution and farm runoff, to pesticide applications, labor rules, and animal welfare. But many of those regulations could be subject to challenge if recently proposed legislation in Congress becomes law. The skirmish over the new legislation is the latest in a long series of fights about who is best suited to regulate food production, processing, and labeling—the federal government, or the states. This time, the fight could make it all the way to the farm bill.

NFU seeks larger funding for farm bill, stronger safety net

With farm income in a slump, the National Farmers Union asked Congress for more money for the 2018 farm bill in order to strengthen the farm safety net to offset the slump in commodity prices that began four years ago. Agricultural leaders in Congress aim for early passage of the farm bill, expected to cost around $90 billion a year, but they are off to a slower start than originally suggested.

U.S. farm income noses upward after three years of declines

Commodity prices are still in a trough but U.S. farm income is on the rise for the first time since 2013 because producers are sending more crops and livestock to market than initially expected, said the USDA. It forecast net cash farm income, a measure of liquidity, of $100.4 billion this year, far stronger than the February forecast of $93.5 billion, but only three-fourths of the record set in 2013.

Ag sector slump makes strong farm bill vital, say two biggest farm groups

As lawmakers gather ideas for the 2018 farm bill, the two largest U.S. farm groups say one thing is clear: it's not the time to reduce funding for the bill and its vast array of USDA activities, from crop supports to food stamps. Commodity prices have been in a trough since 2013, so "many of America's farmers and ranchers are struggling," says the American Farm Bureau Federation, while the National Farmers Union said the drop in farm income threatens the survival of beginning farmers.

Perdue ‘can’t do it alone,’ say farm groups, asking Trump for USDA appointments

U.S. farmers and ranchers, among President Trump's strongest supporters, are “at a disadvantage” because Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is running the USDA by himself, said 17 powerhouse farm groups in a letter to the president. It was one of the first expressions of discontent with the administration from the politically conservative farm sector.

Justice Dept. approves Dow–DuPont merger, with conditions

Dow Chemical and E.I. DuPont can carry out their planned $130 billion merger if they agree to sell off some of their pesticide and petrochemical business, said the Justice Department. Justice’s antitrust division said the divestitures would preserve competition in the ag chemical sector.

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