By Chris Holman, NFU Member
Next week, I will be flying to Berlin, Germany to represent National Farmers Union (NFU) at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFAA). NFU’s participation in this forum is tied to its role as a founding member of the World Farmers Organization (WFO). If you are a relatively new member of Farmers Union like I am, you might wonder why NFU is involved with WFO. Part of the answer is found within NFU policy that states, “as a founding member of the World Farmers Organization, we believe that WFO plays a vital role in providing the world’s farmers with a forum in which to exchange ideas and information, not only about farming techniques, but policies that affect farmers’ economic well-being and daily lives. We urge WFO to be an active advocate for the world’s farmers.”
It is not new to me that NFU believes in supporting farmers the world over. In fact, it separates NFU from many other organizations, and it lends more credibility to NFU as an organization since it is not merely acting in its own interests, either domestically or internationally. So, taking that into account, it makes a lot of sense as to why NFU takes some of the policy positions that it does when agriculture at home and abroad will be affected negatively.
When NFU joined more than 50 agricultural groups and organizations around the world to form WFO, this point was driven home. The purpose of NFU’s cooperative effort is to bring farmers and cooperatives together to address global agricultural issues, such as trade and climate change. This year, the theme of the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture is “Agriculture and Water—Key to Feeding The World.” The event will address the issues of water use, food security, and how to be a leader in these areas and others as we move into the future. As NFU’s representative, I will attend a meeting for young farmers meeting and numerous other events.
While I am in Berlin, there will be multiple events occurring alongside GFFA. International Green Week will be held that same week, which is “one-of-a-kind international exhibition of the food, agriculture and gardening industries…where over 60 international ministries and food producers meet,” and “the origin of the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture.” There will also be high-level panels of representatives from agencies such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations that will discuss many complex food and agriculture issues. Furthermore, the ministers of agriculture from the 60 represented countries will hold a joint meeting to discuss all of these issues and more. The young farmer representatives will have a chance to participate in that forum to deliver our message to the assembled leaders.
I am very excited and honored to be part of GFFA this year. I will be sure to take a lot of pictures and notes while I’m there, and will be writing another blog post to keep you updated on the event. It is important for us to participate in events like these; these efforts are not only felt within our own country, but also by our fellow farmers across the planet.
Chris Holman is the owner-operator at Nami Moon Farms. He is also a lifetime member of Wisconsin Farmers Union.