FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
WASHINGTON (Sept. 8, 2014) – The National Farmers Union (NFU) Annual Fall Legislative Fly-In commenced today with briefings by top officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and members of Congress and staff of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Agriculture.
“With two of rural America’s most important initiatives under fire — Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) — NFU members have travelled to the nation’s capital to urge their members of Congress to stand strong on COOL and the RFS,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. ”Fly-in is not only important to NFU, but to the overall health and vibrancy of rural America.”
Roughly 250 Farmers Union members have gathered in Washington for the fly-in. Tuesday and Wednesday they will visit the offices of every member of Congress to highlight the priorities of Farmers Union and family farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and consumers. “We hope that hearing directly from family farmers will encourage members of Congress to stand firm on COOL and the RFS, and continue to fight for family farmers and the rural economies that they support,” he said.
Johnson noted that COOL has been under attack from the multinational meat industry and key trade competitors who are trying to keep the common-sense labeling law from being enacted. The other agriculture commodities have come under attack recently by big oil companies pressuring the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which has been considering rolling back key targets.
Fly-in participants will also speak with their elected officials about the ongoing lack of railroad service for grains in the upper Midwest. “The inability for farmers in the upper Midwest to secure railroad passage for their commodities is simply unacceptable,” said Johnson.
Johnson noted that also of concern to the participants were ongoing trade issues that could have a major downside for America’s small family farms, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership. “If our past trade agreements had been negotiated fairly and with the appropriate goals, we wouldn’t have the gross trade imbalance that we’re seeing today,” said Johnson. “And we can’t allow our nation to enter another major trade agreement unless the issue of currency manipulation to gain an unfair advantage on American farmers is on the table,” he noted.
NFU’s Fall Legislative Fly-In meetings and events will be held Sept. 8 to 10. For more information about Fly-In events, visit www.NFU.org.
National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.