A Monthly Update from Farmers Union State Chapters
Issue 1 ~ September 2017
North Dakota: WILD State Conference
By Brittany Lipetzky
North Dakota held their annual Women in Leadership Development (WILD) conference at the state office in Jamestown on September 13-14. This year’s event, themed “Sky’s the Limit,” began with a ladies’ night, a self-defense course, and networking.
The next day was a full day of speakers, panels, shopping, and networking. The speakers were Lauren Leader-Chivee and Rebecca Undem, who spoke to the ladies about taking back their lives and how to reach their potential!
Indiana Farmers Union President Jim Benham, Matt Brandyberry, and Michael Morrow with Senator Joe Donnelly during NFU’s Fall Fly-In.
Indiana: Conventions, Listening Sessions, and More
By Sherri Dugger
Indiana Farmers Union is busy planning its upcoming convention. We’ve picked a date, November 18, and we’re excited about collaborating with Hoosier Young Farmers Coalition for the event. We’ve discussed several ideas for speakers, for a farm tour, and for a convention site-a popular brewery in Indiana that supports and works with local farmers.
We recently also held a listening session in collaboration with Hoosier Young Farmers Coalition, where we invited Kent Yeager, state agriculture liaison for Joe Donnelly, to talk with young farmers about their concerns regarding the Farm Bill.
Lastly, several Indiana Farmers Union members recently participated in the 2017 Legislative Fly-In, and Michael Morrow, Sherri Dugger and Randy Dugger participated in the first Beginning Farmer Institute session.
Missouri: A Mighty Wind
By Richard Oswald
The biggest news in Missourithese days is wind. Ever since a friend of mine from Rock Port, Missouri, named Eric Chamberlain took it upon himself to show wind energy developers that Northern Missouri was as windy as our neighbor to the north, Iowa, the size and number of wind turbines in the northern third of our state has been growing by leaps and bounds.
With more demand for renewable energy, the lease income farmers receive for agreeing to host wind generators has been rising to the point that family farmers are earning about twice or more the value of an acre of land per tower every year in spite of the fact that one tower takes up only a small fraction of that area.
Not everyone is happy. Some people object to flashing aircraft avoidance lights and swishing turbine blades. They feel that clean horizons are worth more than mammoth clean energy windmills. But wind power replaces carbon fuels, offers steady supplemental farm income, and is helping change the way America thinks about renewable energy. In a high sulfur coal state that relies on Wyoming coal for close to 80% of its electrical generation, that’s a big deal.
View from outside of the MFU coffee shop. U.S. Senator Klobuchar wasn’t the only one who was impressed!
Minnesota: Recapping a Successful State Fair
By Brita Moore
Minnesota Farmers Union had another successful year at the Minnesota State Fair. The Farmers Union Coffee Shop was bustling from morning to evening on all 12 days, serving coffee, ice cream and pastries to thousands of fairgoers.
This year’s new foods – the Sweet Corn Blueberry Eclair made with Kernza®, Chili Maple Bacon Donut and Maple Cream Nitro Cold Press Coffee – earned high ratings with Twin Cities food critics, such as Rick Nelson of the Star Tribune and Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl of WCCO Radio. Several people chimed in their delight on social media as well. We sold out of eclairs and cold press coffee each day of the fair!
New England: Organic Farmers to Rally for Organic Label Integrity
From New England Farmers Union
This October, a series of rallies across the nation will call on the National Organic Program to preserve soil as the foundation of all organic farming. Farmers and pioneers of the organic movement will unite with many NGOs and national organizations, including the seven chapters of the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA), Organic Consumers Association, and Cornucopia Institute to organize these national and international rallies.
The final rally will take place at the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting on October 31 in Jacksonville, Florida. The NOSB will be voting on a hotly contested proposal to prohibit hydroponic soilless vegetable production from organic certification. The rallies are the organic community’s effort to support a strong standard banning hydro from organic standards.