Great Falls, MT (March 7, 2018) – The National Farmers Union convention is an opportunity for Farmers Union members from across the country to vote on policy, take part in educational workshops and celebrate the year’s accomplishments. Nine delegates represented Montana at the National Farmers Union convention held this week in Kansas City, MO.
NFU President Roger Johnson addressed attendees with a focus on the Farm Bill and priorities of the organization. The event also featured a panel on the opioid crisis. Johnson joined American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall and U.S. Department of Agriculture Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett in the discussion. “We must start having conversations among the counties,” said Johnson. “It’s got to be resolved at the local level.”
Convention attendees also enjoyed keynote remarks from Jason Kander, president of Let America Vote, and Art Cullen, Pulitzer-prize winning editor of The Storm Lake Times.
MFU President Alan Merrill said the experience of attending a national convention is invaluable. “Policy at the national convention is by far the most important aspect of the event,” said Merrill. “It sets the stage for upcoming policies that Montana has and all the other states. You learn a lot by participating in the process.”
Tom Clark is the President of Chouteau County Farmers Union and represented MFU this year as a national delegate. Tom shared his thoughts on the experience. “This is my second time. I want to make sure I am providing a voice for Montana producers and also network with other farmers in the Ag community throughout the United States. It’s then helpful to be able to find out about the issues they are facing and how they are similar or different to what we are facing and then take that information back to Montana.”
The final day of the convention delegates reviewed policy line-by-line and adopted 10 special orders. Those orders are consistent with many of the top issues that Montana Farmers Union advocates for. Montana delegate and MFU Board of Director Erik Somerfeld said the passing of the Family Farming and Cooperatives special order is of great significance. “Passing the special order on cooperatives and the 199a deductions shows National Farmers Union’s solid support for all co-ops and trying to keep them strong.”
The special orders voted on at the convention include:
Full text of the adopted policy manual will be available soon at www.nfu.org.
Representing Montana as delegates were: Tom and Joellyn Clark, Fort Benton; Scott LeFurgey, Loma; Jan Tusick, Polson; Erik Somerfeld, Power; Levi Ostberg, Fairfield; Will Downs, Molt; David Shane, Floweree and Alan Merrill of Big Sandy. Walter Schweitzer and Cindy Palmer of Helena also represented MFU as the state’s Farmers Union Enterprise Leadership Couple.