NFU President Roger Johnson Calls Grassroots Efforts of Organization Robust and SuccessfulSun, 09 Mar 2014 10:14:35 CDT
The 2014 National Farmers Union convention is underway- and convention goers in Santa Fe, New Mexico heard a state of the organization message at their opening banquet on Saturday night from NFU President Roger Johnson. About two dozen Oklahoma members of the American Farmers & Ranchers/Okalhoma Farmers Union were at the Saturday night event, presenting the largest state affiliate of the NFU.
According to Johnson, Farmers Union has many successes to celebrate this year, with significant membership growth in key states; the passage of a new five-year farm bill that will positively impact farmers, ranchers and consumers; robust grassroots advocacy efforts across the country; and increasing participation in Farmers Union's education programs. These victories will set the stage for continued work centered on priorities set by the membership this week in Santa Fe.
Johnson told Farmers Union members in attendance that "thanks to your hard work and tireless advocacy, we have a 2014 Farm Bill." NFU achieved several key priorities in the bill, including safety net provisions that protect farmers from losses due to both natural disasters and price collapse; a disaster program for livestock producers; maintenance of the existing Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) law for meat, seafood and poultry; and mandatory funding for renewable energy programs.
Johnson continued to outline three major legislative challenges NFU faces in the coming year: ongoing efforts to undermine COOL, attacks on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and pending free trade agreements.
On Country of Origin Labeling, Johnson called it the "Signature Issue" for NFU. "Although we have achieved a victory in the farm bill, the COOL fight is not over," said Johnson. "COOL is on the right side of history, but our opponents will keep looking for a back-door win in Congress and we must remain vigilant." Click on the LISTEN BAR below and you can hear his full comments about COOL and how he believes that NFU pulled a shocker in the Farm Bill on COOL, will ultimately prevail in the WTO in the case brought by Canada and Mexico and will also prevail in the domestic litigation now under way where several livestock and meat industry groups sued the USDA over the rule.
"The RFS saves consumers a dollar per gallon in fuel costs while reducing our nation's dependence on foreign sources of energy," said Johnson. The global oil and gas industry is larger than the gross domestic product of all but three countries in the world, the United States, Japan and China, Johnson noted. The oil industry's aggressive lobbying campaign against the RFS has resulted in an Environmental Protection Agency proposal that would slash RFS targets by 16 percent.
NFU will continue to meet these challenges with its time-tested advocacy and leadership. "During the 2014 Farm Bill debate, we proved that there is no match for the grassroots power of family farmers and ranchers," said Johnson. "The strength of our organization is in our membership it always has been, and it always will be."
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