Thirty-two Minnesota Farmers Union members from seven of the state’s Congressional districts this week joined more than 220 other Farmers Union members from across the nation for a legislative fly-in to Washington, D.C.
Collectively, Farmers Union members attended hundreds of Congressional meetings, met with more than a dozen federal agencies and participated in discussions with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation Robert Bonnie, Federal Trade Commission chair Lina Khan, Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter, and Commodity Futures Trading Commission chair Rostin Behnam, among other leaders.
In addition to attending federal agency and White House briefings, members of the Minnesota delegation met with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Tina Smith, Rep. Angie Craig, Rep. Dean Phillips and staff members for Rep. Betty McCollum, Rep. Tom Emmer, Rep. Pete Stauber and Rep. Michelle Fischbach.
“It was good to be back in Washington, D.C., to meet in person with policymakers,” said Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President Gary Wertish. “MFU works hard to influence the policies that affect our members and their communities. One way we do that is by bringing members to Washington, D.C., for them to share their stories directly with members of Congress. It’s especially important for us to talk to congresspeople this fall as work begins on the next farm bill. MFU supports a farm bill that provides all family farmers with a strong safety net and also includes programs that support rural communities.”
Several topics were discussed during the visits, including supporting the Agricultural Right to Repair Act, strengthening the Packers and Stockyards Act, expanding permanent disaster programs, fostering strong and resilient local and regional food systems, enacting the dairy revitalization plan and supporting the Next Generation Fuels Act and the Growing Climate Solutions Act.
“The fly-in is my favorite Farmers Union event that we do on the national level. NFU’s Legislative Fly-in shows the power of our collective voice to our representatives. It is truly democracy in action,” said MFU Vice President Anne Schwagerl. “I extend my thanks to our members who took time away from their farms and families to share their personal experiences on the farm with administrative staffers and our congressional representatives.”
“It’s a testament to the passion and interest of our members that they’re willing to take time away from the farm and come to Washington and build bipartisan support for Fairness for Farmers and their farm bill priorities,” said National Farmers Union (NFU) President Rob Larew.
For more information on NFU’s policy priorities, visit nfu.org/fly-in.