If you live in the country or in the city…….Montana Farmers Union is right for you. The Montana Farmers Union is a statewide grassroots organization working for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through conferences, scholarships and other educational opportunities as well as legislative representation and support for producer-owned co-ops.

Winner of our Harvest 2016 photo contest. Congratulations to Lauren LeSueur! Lauren’s photo will be on the September edition of Montana Grassroots!

Photo contest winner

WFO Trip Highlights Similarities and Differences in Agriculture Around the World

by Alan Merrill, MFU President

Alan Merrill, Montana Farmers Union President; Darin Von Ruden, Wisconsin Farmers Union President; Roger Johnson, National Farmers Union President; Mark Watne, North Dakota Farmers Union President;Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President
Alan Merrill, Montana Farmers Union President; Darin Von Ruden, Wisconsin Farmers Union President; Roger Johnson, National Farmers Union President; Mark Watne, North Dakota Farmers Union President;Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President

In May I had the pleasure of attending the 6th General Assembly of the World Farmers’ Organisation(WFO) in Livingstone, Zambia along with Farmers Union presidents from Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and the national office. The four-day event concentrated on many of the challenges farmers face on a daily basis including market access, technology, climate change, women in agriculture, food insecurity and access to land for producers.

The theme of the assembly was “Partnership of Growth,” by which delegates evaluated WFO’s current challenges and potential future actions by the organization on timely issues facing agriculture all across the world.

The event was attended by many high-level officials including the Minister of Agriculture of Zambia and senior UN officials. In addition farmers and policy makers from all over the world came together for the four-day event. Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization ( FAO) Jose Graziano Da Silva outlined a strategic plan and the partnership between WFO and FAO.

In addition to a variety of workshops on many of the WFO mandates including land tenure, access to land, and ways to adapt to the changing climate, I was afforded the opportunity to visit villages which provided a great perspective on how different agriculture is in developing countries like Zambia compared to the United States. In developing countries priorities of farmers is much different. Instead of producing for the masses there is greater concentration on producing for the family. It is a major cultural difference in agriculture when talking about developed verses developing countries.

All in all, the experience was a wide-opening one. I thought the participation from local farmers created balanced discussions and a great exchange of differences while all the while maintaining on a real focus on the issues that affect farmers all over the world. I found that although there are many differences between the farmland of our great state, we also share a lot of challenges. It is my hope that events like this one will help pave the way for greater dialogue and collaboration between WFO partners.

MFU Announces Members Chosen for 2016-2017 Beginning Farmers Institute

Amanda image 1                 Justin and brandi

Amanda Schaub                                              Justin Loch and wife Brandi

Montana Farmers Union is pleased to announce that two members have been chosen to participate in the 2016-2017 Beginning Farmers Institute, a program by National Farmers Union. In all, seventeen beginning farmers and ranchers from across the country are participating. The two chosen from Montana are Justin Loch of Great Falls and Amanda Schaub of Havre.

“We are honored to have two outstanding beginning farmers chosen to participate in the BFI program,” said President Alan Merrill. “They are the future of Montana agriculture and will represent our state well.”

According to National Farmers Union agriculture diversity continues to be a focus of the BFI program. Participants come from a diverse background. The program offers hands-on training through sessions hosted in Washington D.C. and California and concentrates on building confidence in beginning farmers through leadership training.

Amanda Schaub says she is thrilled to be chosen to participate.“This is an amazing opportunity to grow through agriculture, and I look forward to sharing what I have learned with others,” said Amanda. Amanda says one of her main goals in participating in the BFI program is to sharpen her financial skills.  “Farming and ranching requires some pretty intimidating input costs especially for beginners. I want to obtain a solid grasp on the reality of farm finances and succession planning.”

Justin Loch, the second BFI participant, is originally from Dutton where his parents Dennis and Tina operate the family farm with help from Justin and wife Brandi and Justin’s sister. Justin is the Membership Director for Montana Farmers Union. “I’m honored to be chosen to represent Montana in the BFI program,” said Justin. “It’s a great program and will certainly help me the other participants with skills and education to ensure a stronger and more successful future in Agriculture.”  “I hope to bring back new skills and information that I can share with members of MFU but also apply them to the success and future of my family’s farm and ranch to help ensure a strong future.”

For more details on the BFI program visit http://nfu.org/education/beginning-farmer-institute.

MFU launches multi-media TV/Radio campaign to highlight importance of Montana agriculture

buy local support montana farmers ranchers

Montana Farmers Union is launching a multi-media ad campaign this week focusing on the role Montana agriculture plays at the national and international level.

The campaign is multi-faceted with two animated TV commercials which includes one: 30 TV/Radio spot and one: 60 TV spot produced by MurMax Productions.

What’s unique about the campaign is the animation component. “We wanted to do something fresh and different,” said Lyndsay Bruno, Communications Director. “The graphics are appealing, colorful and most importantly educational. Montana’s farmers and ranchers contribute billions to the national economy. They are the backbone of our rural communities.”

The spots provide a window into the types of products Montana farmers and ranchers produce. Montana farmers produce 10% of the nation’s wheat and 22% of the nation’s barley. Montana is a leading producer of certified organic wheat, dry peas, lentils and flax. The spots will air on several MTN News stations, Northern Ag Network and Cherry Creek Radio.

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Support women's education programs at Montana Farmers Union by signing up for 5K on the Farm!

Support women’s education programs at Montana Farmers Union by signing up for 5K on the Farm! Register at: https://runsignup.com/Race/MT/Inverness/5KOnTheFarm

Upcoming Events

Western MT Farmers Union Local/District 6 Meeting/Tour Golden Yoke CreameryAugust 26
4 pm
Golden Yoke Creamery, 339 Mountain View Drive, St. Ignatius
D.C. Fly-inSeptember 12D.C.
5K On the FarmSeptember 17Bangs Family Farm
Inverness, MT
2016 Montana Farmers Union Annual Convention Oct 21-22Great Falls, Best Western Heritage Inn

Click on the icon above to hear our latest Podcasts from the National Farmers Union Conference in MN.