Following three days of Capitol Hill meetings, Farmers Union members participating in the organization's fall fly-in are returning home today.
While in Washington, D.C. fly-in participants met with members of Congress, focusing on five priority issues: increasing the use and production of fuels from the farm and setting the record straight on the food vs. fuel myth; ensuring the Department of Agriculture implements the 2008 Farm Bill as intended by Congress; the important role American agriculture can play in addressing climate change; support for future trade agreements that level the playing field by addressing all factors of trade; and rural Americans' access to healthcare.
Fly-in participants also presented the organization's highest honor, the Golden Triangle Award, to a bipartisan group of 57 Senators and Representatives who have demonstrated leadership on issues relevant to America's family farmers, ranchers and rural communities.
Members accepted the awards in person during Capitol Hill receptions with Farmers Union members. Because Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., could not be there in person to accept a Golden Triangle award for his support for renewable energy and the 2008 Farm Bill, he spoke to the Farmers Union gathering over the phone, pledging support for new investments in renewable fuels and other policies that would benefit rural America.
"America's farmers are ready, willing and able to play a vital role in reducing our dependence on foreign oil. With the right policies in place we can continue to feed the world while fueling the future," NFU President Tom Buis said.
Energy was a hot button issue on Capitol Hill and NFU joined members of the Senate Tuesday morning for a press conference urging Congress to pass comprehensive energy legislation that includes renewable energy sources like ethanol, wind and solar that would be produced in America's heartland.
The fly-in also included a Monday morning visit to the U.S. Department of Agriculture where Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner and other USDA officials briefed participants and took questions on pending agriculture issues.