More than 500 National Farmers Union members gathered in Savannah, Georgia, for their 118th Anniversary Convention this week.
Here's some convention highlights:
- Convention delegates adopted the NFU Policy Book and six special orders of business that will guide the organization’s government affairs priorities over the course of the next year. Topics of the six orders of business include the 2020 election, climate change, cooperatives, dairy policy reform and truth in labeling and meat product promotion.
- Dr. Neil E. Harl of Iowa and Dennis Sjodin of Minnesota were presented the NFU Meritorious Service Award, the organization's highest honor. Harl is a nationally recognized expert on tax, credit and finance issues. He has authored or co-authored more than 450 articles in legal and economic journals and bulletins and more than a thousand articles in various farm and financial publications. In all, Harl has published 30 books, and another is expected to be published in 2020. With more than 3,400 speaking appearances in 43 states and 17 foreign countries, he has spoken widely on income tax, estate planning, debtor-creditor relations and organization of the farm business. Sjodin began working for Minnesota Farmers Union in 1966. During his 40-plus years with the organization, he served in many different roles, including field representative, director of program development, head of the Green View Program, director of the Joint MFU-NFO Livestock Marketing Program, and assistant to the MFU President under Cy Carpenter. Sjodin served as MFU’s vice president for 13 years, from 1996-2009. He also briefly held the position of acting MFU president in 1984.
- Remarks from Matt Paul, a nationally recognized expert in public affairs, and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.
- NFU President Roger Johnson delivered his final State of the Farmers Union address, offering an overview of his 11-year-long tenure and an optimistic outlook for the organization’s future. T
- The convention featured a panel on black land loss and voting rights and breakout sessions on precision agriculture, the history of grassroots organizing, regenerative farming, farm to table, and hemp production.
“Between low commodity prices, climate change, and trade uncertainty, there are so many challenges in farm country right now,” said National Farmers Union President Rob Larew. “But there are so many bright spots too. As consumers get more interested in where their food comes from and how it’s made, new local and diverse agricultural markets are opening up. Conservation agriculture holds significant potential for financial and environmental benefits. Every day, new technologies are making it easier for farmers to improve efficiency and sustainability. And across the country, there’s a resurgence in support for family farm agriculture. So while this convention is a crucial opportunity to address the difficulties facing family farmers and ranchers, it’s also an opportunity to celebrate all the reasons we love agriculture and dedicate our lives to it.”