Why Farmers Are Worried About Bill Gates (And Other Non-Farming Land-Owners)

March 29, 2021Blog

By Hannah Packman, NFU Communications Director You’ve likely heard the buzz that Bill Gates, in addition to being one of the wealthiest men in the world, is now also the largest private owner of farmland in the United States. Over the past several years, the billionaire has amassed a portfolio of 242,000 acres of cropland across … Read More

Good Practices Bring Great Results for Small Farms

March 17, 2021Blog, Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, NFU FSMA Training Coordinator “Camaraderie with the whole team.”  “Much more fun!”  “Peace of mind.”  For most farmers, those phrases may conjure up memories of early fall picnics with staff, family, and friends after the season has slowed down. But for growers Kim Butz, Nathan Vannette, and Roberto Meza, those were the phrases that came to … Read More

What the American Rescue Plan Means for Food and Farmers

March 15, 2021Blog

By Hannah Packman, National Farmers Union Communications Director Last week, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package. At the organization’s convention in early March, National Farmers Union (NFU) members urged lawmakers to “enact much-needed short-term Covid-19 relief” and outlined their priorities for such an endeavor. Among other things, they recommended measures … Read More

Oklahoma Women’s Cooperative Gives Back

March 8, 2021Blog, Member Spotlight

By Melody Aufill, AFR/OFU Member, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture Ag in the Classroom Coordinator As I sat down to write this article, Oklahoma was in the middle of a massive weather event! An ice storm raced across the prairie bringing wide-spread devastation to trees, power lines, and structures. In Oklahoma, we talk about the weather often … Read More

Meeting Urban Growers’ Unique Produce Safety Needs

March 3, 2021Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, NFU FSMA Training Coordinator One of the many lessons I’ve learned, or I should say re-learned, over the past year is how important titles can be. I’ve gone from searching “15-minute yoga” on YouTube to the more specific “15-minute Zoom fatigue yoga.” It may be mostly the same content, but if “Zoom” … Read More

Cold Temps, Hot Food Safety Projects

February 24, 2021Blog, Food Safety

By Tricia Wancko, Food Safety Grant Coordinator Punxsutawney Phil has decreed six more weeks of what has shaped up to be a frigid winter, but there are plenty of food safety projects to catch up on while the fields are frozen and you’re keeping toasty inside your burrow. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety Outreach Program … Read More

New FSMA Recordkeeping Requirements are Coming

February 12, 2021Food Safety

By Aaron Shier, NFU Senior Government Relations Representative and Billy Mitchell, Food Safety Training Coordinator The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is opening their virtual doors to everyone, including the farming community, to comment on the proposed food traceability rule. National Farmers Union (NFU), which regularly comments on federal rulemakings important to its members, will certainly … Read More

How Biden’s Executive Orders Will Affect Food and Agriculture

January 28, 2021Blog

By Hannah Packman, NFU Communications Director Following his inauguration last Wednesday, President Joe Biden has wasted no time implementing his agenda. In the last week, he has issued more than three dozen executive orders, proclamations, and memoranda on a wide range of issues. Many of these actions have implications for agriculture. Here’s a brief summary … Read More

New Year, New Water Test

January 6, 2021Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, NFU Food Safety Training Coordinator Organize the tools. Clean the barn. Patch the pants. As farmers make their New Year’s resolutions, produce growers have an extra one to add: test the water. Contaminated water is often the culprit of produce-related food borne illnesses – but with proper precautions, it can be avoided. … Read More

How the Justice for Black Farmers Act Levels the Playing Field

December 22, 2020Blog

By Mackenzie Jeter, NFU Intern A hundred years ago, agriculture was a relatively diverse profession in the United States: a million Black farmers operated about 14 percent of the country’s farms. The makeup of the modern agricultural workforce could not look more different. Today, there are just 48,000 Black farmers – a 95 percent decline … Read More

Using Old Methods to Teach New Food Safety Techniques

December 16, 2020Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, NFU Food Safety Training Coordinator Built on Booker T. Washington’s practice of taking educational opportunities to rural areas, designed by George Washington Carver, and financed by Morris Jesup, Jesup Wagons were “moveable schools” that delivered the university classroom experience to farmers across Alabama. Back in 1906, they were horse-drawn wagons but gradually evolved with the … Read More

New Tools Bring the Farm to Screens

December 2, 2020Food Safety

By Melanie Arthur, NFU Intern Pre-pandemic, you needed a few essential things to host an on-farm tour or educational event. First, a place for people to park. Second, some hot coffee brewing. And, finally, a good story to tell and a megaphone to carry your voice across the farm and to your attendees. Now, with trucks staying parked at home and farmers getting their coffee refills at home, farm … Read More

Lakota Rancher Strengthens Community with Agriculture Education

November 27, 2020Blog

By Jeanne Janson, NFU Journalism Intern The last 400 years of Native American history is marred with stories of land being stolen, children being forced into boarding schools and a crusade for assimilation through the erasure of culture. One result of this traumatic history is an entrenched cycle of poverty that persists on many reservations … Read More

Urban Farm Education Continues to Grow

November 10, 2020Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, NFU FSMA Training Coordinator Over the years, the picture of a farmer and farm service provider working together has often looked the same – two people, sometimes with paperwork sprawled across a tailgate, looking out over rows and rows of a crop surrounded by farmland stretched to the horizon. It’s a classic … Read More

No Tricks, All Treats With Value-Added Products

October 28, 2020Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, FSMA Training Coordinator  Like a moth to a glowing jack-o’-lantern, you may be drawn towards towering shelves of mass-produced candy this Halloween season and tricked into thinking that local treats are a thing of the past. Do not be scared: farm-made, value-added products are alive and well in 2020. The old classics, … Read More

Facing the Constant Threat of Climate Change, Farmers Cope with Grief and Stress

October 27, 2020Blog, Climate Blog

By Jeanne Janson, NFU Journalism Intern From mid-August through the end of September, Megan Brown spent countless hours fireproofing the livestock enclosures at her family’s ranch in Northern California and preparing to evacuate should the LNU Lightning Complex Fire—the third most destructive in the state’s history—get too close. Unfortunately, this has become a sort of … Read More

TUCCA Steers Food Safety Education in New Direction

October 14, 2020Food Safety

By Melanie Arthur, NFU Intern “Parking lot, go ahead and blow your horns. Let everybody know that you are here!” food safety trainer and technical service provider Darrell McGuire shouted at the crowd. Alabama farmers and ranchers – who had drove their vehicles up to the Bethel Spring Missionary Baptist Church to hear speakers present … Read More

The Indigenous Origins of Regenerative Agriculture

October 12, 2020Blog, Climate Blog

By Tracy Heim, NFU Intern On the second Monday of every October, Indigenous Peoples’ Day is celebrated across the United States to honor the original inhabitants of the Americas. On this Indigenous Peoples’ Day, National Farmers Union (NFU) celebrates the invaluable contributions of Native Americans and the Indigenous origins of many practices currently used in … Read More

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