Food Safety Spotlight: Kansas Farmers Union Connects with Urban Growers On-Farm and Online

September 30, 2020Blog, Food Safety

By Charlie Michel, National Farmers Union Education and Outreach Coordinator When a statewide COVID-19 lockdown upended their food safety event planning, Mary Howell and Mercedes Taylor-Puckett of Kansas Farmers Union (KFU) were quick to respond with creative solutions for delivering on-farm education to Kansas growers. A primary challenge was reaching producers in cities like Wichita, … Read More

A Year After Move, NIFA and ERS Still Woefully Understaffed

September 29, 2020Blog

By Hannah Packman, National Farmers Union Communications Director A year ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) abruptly relocated two of its major research agencies – the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the Economic Research Service) – from Washington, D.C. to Kansas City. The move forced dozens of experienced employees to quit, taking their expertise … Read More

Farm Preparedness Checklist for Covid-19

September 29, 2020Blog, Food Safety

By Melanie Arthur, NFU Intern The Covid-19 pandemic has created new challenges for our food system, especially for those operating or working on farms or in food facilities. To simplify and streamline pandemic-related decisions, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released a new resource, the Employee Health … Read More

One in Eight Meat Plant Workers Has Tested Positive for Covid-19

September 10, 2020Blog

By Hannah Packman, NFU Communications Director Many years before the coronavirus pandemic, there were concerns that meat plant workers were at high risk of contracting contagious diseases – concerns that have only ramped up in recent months. For one, meat plants are cold, which increases the risk of transmission. Masks are the obvious protection, but the physical demands and … Read More

Join Us Next Week for NFU’s Fall Legislative Fly-In

September 10, 2020Blog

Next week, hundreds of hundreds of farmers, ranchers, and rural residents will gather online to speak directly with their elected representatives and administration officials as part of National Farmers Union’s (NFU) virtual legislative fly-in. While signup for the full event has closed, we are opening several of the fly-in sessions to the public. All three are … Read More

Farmers are Losing Money on Many Major Commodities

September 3, 2020Blog

By Hannah Packman, NFU Communications Director The farm economy was weak long before the pandemic. For years, chronic overproduction  has severely depressed commodity prices. Global trade disputes that eroded export markets certainly didn’t help, nor did corporate control of the agriculture industry. But new pandemic-related disruptions have pushed down prices even lower than they were before – so much so … Read More

A Summer of Climate Change Activity in DC

September 2, 2020Blog, Climate Blog

By Jenny Hopkinson, NFU Senior Government Relations Representative It seems everyone in Washington is talking about agriculture’s role in combatting climate change. Across the government, officials are embracing the need for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving soil health – both of which are key for addressing the climate crisis. This summer, there was a … Read More

Supply Management: Cherries, Cows, and Cognitive Dissonance – Oh, My!

August 31, 2020Blog

By Brittany Olson, Wisconsin Farmers Union Member This piece originally ran in the September/October issue of Wisconsin Farmers Union News and is available for distribution. Learn more about the Rural Voices project at www.wisconsinfarmersunion.com/rural-voices or on the WFU blog. Even though my days as a farm journalist are getting farther and farther behind me in … Read More

Climate Change Poses a Real and Imminent Threat to Agriculture

August 27, 2020Blog

By Hannah Packman, NFU Communications Director Climate change is not a future or hypothetical problem – year after year, farmers and ranchers across the country are enduring more frequent and extreme weather events and natural disasters. This year has been no different. In California, dozens of fires have burned through hundreds of thousands of acres, destroying farm … Read More

Small Rural Towns Embrace Urban Farming

August 26, 2020Blog, Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, NFU FSMA Training Coordinator The term “urban farming” evokes images of gleaming greenhouses scattered across New York rooftops, shipping containers full of greens in Charleston, South Carolina, or raised beds in the shadow of the Oakland A’s stadium. But in small rural towns, some farmers are adopting practices that are hallmarks of … Read More

Attacks on USPS Threaten Rural Communities and the Democratic Process

August 20, 2020Blog

By Hannah Packman, NFU Communications Director The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has been experiencing financial issues for many years, but dwindling mail volume during the pandemic has made matters worse, severely cutting into the agency’s revenue. Unlike most other government agencies, which are funded by taxpayer money, USPS funds itself with revenue from postage and postal service. Though the … Read More

Derecho Flattens Crops Across Midwest

August 13, 2020Blog

By Hannah Packman, NFU Communications Director Hurricane-force winds tore through the Midwest this week, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. The storm, known as a derecho, passed from South Dakota to Ohio, knocking out power for more than a million people, blowing down trees, damaging buildings and grain bins, and flattening crops. In … Read More

Pandemic Assistance Favors Certain Farmers Over Others

August 13, 2020Blog

By Hannah Packman, NFU Communications Director According to new analysis published this week by NBC News, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has disproportionately helped certain kinds of farmers more than others with its Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The publication asserts that the agency “favored large, industrialized farms over smaller, diversified ones, provided loopholes … Read More

JBS Plans to Buy, Convert Lamb Processing Facility

August 11, 2020Blog

By Hannah Packman, NFU Communications Director Brazilian company JBS, the world’s largest beef and pork processor, plans to buy the second largest lamb processing facility in the United States and use it to process beef instead, drawing concern from farmers, legislators, and anti-trust advocates. The plant, which is based in Colorado, processes about 350,000 lambs … Read More

Making Food Safety Practical and Profitable

August 5, 2020Blog, Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, FSMA Training Coordinator  A mountain of paperwork just to wash your hands. Out of control costs with no end in sight. Common sense concepts lost in a maze of regulations. For a lot of growers, these are the real and perceived barriers that come with keeping our food safe. In the past … Read More

Farmers Market Pivot and Provide Safe, Local Food Systems

August 3, 2020Blog

By Billy Mitchell, NFU FSMA Training Coordinator Just five short months ago, National Farmers Union (NFU) members attending the organization’s annual convention breezed through Forsyth Park Farmers Market in Savannah, Georgia. Today, the scene would be unthinkable: customers hugging farmers, friends standing shoulder to shoulder, shoppers testing produce ripeness with their bare hands, families generously … Read More

How Has the Pandemic Affected Food Prices?

July 22, 2020Blog

By Hannah Packman, NFU Communications Director In the last 12 months, food prices at grocery stores have risen 5.6 percent –  the largest annual increase in nearly a decade. The severity of price increases vary drastically depending on the product; beef prices, for instance are 25 percent higher than they were a year ago, while those for … Read More

Regenerative Agriculture Unites Ranchers and Beekeepers

June 30, 2020Climate Blog

By Jeanne Janson, NFU Intern The answer to rapidly declining pollinator populations and the climate crisis may lie in an unexpected place: climate-friendly cow pastures. As climate change, disease, predators, and other factors decimate hives around the country, beekeepers are looking to pastureland managed with regenerative agricultural practices for a more sustainable future for their … Read More

This Dairy Month, Let’s Give Dairy Farmers Something to Celebrate

June 26, 2020Blog

By Bobbi Wilson, Wisconsin Farmers Union Government Relations Associate Every June for the last 83 years, Americans have celebrated dairy farmers. A tradition that began as a way to encourage consumption of milk during peak production season has since become an annual celebration of the hard work dairy farm families perform every day. In Wisconsin, … Read More

LGBTQ+ Farmers Work to Build Queer-Inclusive Rural Communities

June 24, 2020Blog

By Jeanne Janson, NFU Intern To understand how to build thriving rural communities, all we need to do is consider the ground beneath our feet. Healthy soil is complex mixture of organic and inorganic elements: clay and sand, worms and fungi, plant matter, and minerals. This hodgepodge forms the foundation that sustains all life on … Read More

Juneteenth and the Broken Promise of “40 Acres and a Mule”

June 19, 2020Blog

By Hannah Packman, NFU Communications Director For many Black Americans, Juneteenth is a day of celebration. Observed on June 19th, the holiday commemorates the day that the last slaves were freed in the United States in 1865 – two-and-a-half years after President Abraham Lincoln ordered their independence with the Emancipation Proclamation and two months after the … Read More

Identifying Conservation Opportunities: Resource Stewardship Evaluation Tool with Will Cannon

June 9, 2020Climate Column

The Resource Stewardship Evaluation Tool (RSET) is a free program offered through National Farmers Union (NFU) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). It is available to help Iowa farmers, ranchers and land owners improve their working lands conservation efforts, and consequently improve topsoil and nutrient retention, as well as safeguard Iowa’s waterways. Will Cannon … Read More

To Protect Rural Communities from Floods, Climate-Resilient Dams are Needed

June 8, 2020Climate Blog

By Jeanne Janson, NFU Intern  America’s infrastructure has a climate change problem.    The Edenville Dam in central Michigan collapsed in May after heavy rain—nearly five inches in 48 hours—falling on already saturated land pushed the Tittabawasse River to record heights. The torrent poured into the surrounding area, destroying roads, homes, businesses, dams and farmland in … Read More