Farmers Union members to discuss concerns over farm bill at CapitolIt was discussed that as the USDA implements the Farm Bill certain provisions are not being carried out as Congress intended.
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) members – including Marvin Jensen of Kensington – recently went to Washington, D.C., where they met with the Minnesota Congressional delegation, and had a briefing from members of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“The Farmers Union fly-in is a wonderful opportunity for our members to meet face-to-face with the individuals that are making policy decisions that are important to rural America,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union president. “Our members had the chance to thank members for Farm Bill passage, as well as inform our representatives and senators about food versus fuel.”
MFU members discussed concerns about farm bill implementation; the role rural America can play in climate change and renewable energy sources; the importance of supporting trade agreements that include environmental, health, and labor standards, and currency manipulation; and accessible and affordable healthcare for rural America.
It was discussed that as the USDA implements the Farm Bill certain provisions are not being carried out as Congress intended. This is why the National Farmers Union board of directors, which includes all the state presidents, sent separate letters to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer.
The letter calls on the department to implement the 2008 Farm Bill as Congress intended, including:
• A reasonable amount of latitude in understanding and enrolling in the farm bill's new Supplemental Disaster Assistance Program, whose September 16 deadline for the payment of risk management program fees may prohibit many producers who have suffered 2008 crop year losses to receive program benefits.
• The reversal of the USDA's interpretation of the farm bill's 10 base acre provision and immediately inform producers of their ability to aggregate these acres.
Minnesota Farmers Union (www.mfu.org) is a non-profit membership-based organization working to protect and enhance the economic interests and quality of life of family farmers and ranchers, as well as rural communities.