(307) 631-2810

National Farmers Union

Issue Number 151 Dec. 17, 2012
In this issue…
GRU Update
New Blog Posts
BFU Applications Now Online
Around the States
NFU Education Activities and Opportunities
Price Barometer
Quick Links
NFU E-newsletter Staff:
Melisa Augusto,

Director of Communications

Communications Coordinator

EPA Announcement Puts Farm Dust Regulation Issue to Rest 

On Dec. 14, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized an update to its national air quality standards for harmful fine particle pollution (PM2.5), including soot, setting the annual health standard at 12 micrograms per cubic meter, in response to a court order.


According to EPA, today’s announcement has no effect on the existing daily standard for fine particles or the existing daily standard for coarse particles (PM10), which includes dust from farms and other sources), both of which remain unchanged.


National Farmers Union (NFU) commends the EPA on continuing its position to leave PM10 standards unchanged,” said NFU Vice President of Government Relations Chandler Goule. “We can finally put this issue to rest. There has been a lot of misinformation circulating about supposed regulatory overreach so this final rule will hopefully put to rest any remaining anxiety regarding ‘farm dust’ regulation by EPA.”

NFU to President Obama: Include Farm Bill in Fiscal Package

NFU President Roger Johnson sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama Dec. 13 underscoring the importance of including a farm bill in legislation being prepared to avoid the proverbial fiscal cliff.

“The last farm bill has already expired, and severe impacts will be felt by farmers, consumers and agribusinesses in early 2013 if a new farm bill is not passed. The costs of a short-term extension of a farm bill will be high, and the legislative effort required to pass an extension is just as great as the work needed to pass a five-year farm bill,” Johnson said in the letter.


In June, the U.S. Senate passed the bipartisan Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012 that would save $23 billion, while the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture passed its version of the farm bill in July, which would save $35 billion.


“Our national farm and food policy supports 16 million jobs across America, helps farmers manage their risk, continues to feed our nation’s food insecure, provides important conservation and energy programs, and invests in the rural economy. All of these important efforts are in jeopardy without a farm bill,” Johnson noted in the letter.


Click here to download letter.

NFU Urges Congress to Do Its Job


NFU Board of Directors passed a resolution Dec. 10 urging Congress to pass a comprehensive, five-year farm bill by the end of 2012 as part a legislative package to avoid the proverbial fiscal cliff. The 2008 Farm Bill expired on Sept. 30.


“The 112th Congress needs do its job. Congressional approval ratings are very low and the inability to pass legislation is alarming. There remains an opportunity to move beyond those problems if lawmakers come together to avoid the fiscal cliff as well as to pass a five-year farm bill,” the resolution stated.


In June, the U.S. Senate passed the bipartisan Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012 that saves $23 billion, while the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture passed its version of the farm bill in July, which would save $35 billion.


“The time for obstruction and inaction is over. Family farmers and ranchers need the certainty that only a five-year farm bill can provide. The National Farmers Union Board of Directors strongly urges Congress to pass a five-year farm bill as a part of the legislative package to avoid the fiscal cliff,” the resolution concluded.

Click here for resolution.

2012 Scholarship Winners Announced

NFU Foundation presented scholarships to college students in memory of Stanley Moore, a long-time leader of North Dakota Farmers Union.


NFU Foundation presented three $1,000 Stanley Moore National Scholarship awards for 2012 to Ramon Portuese of Rocky Mountain Farmers Union; Amanda Stevens of North Dakota Farmers Union; and Kirsten Slaughter of Wisconsin Farmers Union.


“These three students have demonstrated a commitment to improving rural America,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “This year’s winners will be the next generation of leaders, and Farmers Union is proud of what they have accomplished so far and will continue to accomplish.”


The program was established in the memory of Stanley Moore for his life-long dedication to Farmers Union. Moore was born into two prominent Farmers Union families. He also served as the NFU vice president and as chairman of the NFU Insurance Companies.


NFU Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2013 Stanley Moore Scholarships. The NFU Foundation Moore scholarship is open to Farmers Union members and their children who are seeking funding to attend a two- or four-year accredited college or university, or technical school for any area of study. All applications must be postmarked on or before April 20, 2013 to be considered. To download the application, please visit NFU’s Education page, or http://nfu.org/education/scholarships.

Government Relations Update

Published every Wednesday, the Government Relations Update (GRU) features the latest in agriculture policy issues and news updates. To subscribe to this free update, please email governmentrelations@nfudc.org.

Excerpted from Dec. 12 special edition of GRU:The Senate Democratic Steering Committee approved committee assignments for Democratic senators in the 113th Congress today.
Below are the Democratic members of the Committee on Agriculture, listed in descending order of seniority with new committee members in italics:

Patrick Leahy, Vt.
Tom Harkin, Iowa
Max Baucus, Mont.
Debbie Stabenow, Mich. – CHAIRMAN
Sherrod Brown, Ohio
Bob Casey, Pa.
Amy Klobuchar, Minn.
Michael Bennet, Colo.
Kirsten Gillibrand, N.Y.
Joe Donnelly, Ind.
Heidi Heitkamp, N.D.

All other committee assignments can be viewed on Majority Leader Reid’s website.

Need More 2012 Farm Bill Information?

Log on to www.nfu.org/farmbill for the latest information on the 2012 Farm Bill. It includes both the House and Senate version of the bills and many farm bill resources, along with letters, news releases, and testimony that NFU has done about the legislation.

What’s New on the NFU Blog

Don’t forget to check out NFU’s blog at www.nfu.org/blog.

We will use this space to encourage dialogue about Farmers Union events throughout the country, education and outreach, our members, cooperative development and issues that impact U.S. family farmers, ranchers, fishermen and their communities.Dec. 14, 2012 Tired Criticisms of Renewable Fuels Merit a Response

Around the States

Nebraska Farmers Union Holds Annual Convention in Grand Island 

Nebraska Farmers Union held its annual convention Dec. 7 to 9 in Grand Island. The theme for the 99th annual state convention was “Leadership At Its Best Since 1913.”


This year’s convention featured a wide range of issues, including farm bill passage, climate change, ag market reforms, renewing the Renewable Fuels Standard, pipeline developments, EPA activities, ag market reforms, and new market development.


In his address to the convention, Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman discussed the possibility of another year of drought in the state. “Nebraska is the most irrigated state in the nation for crop production, and that helped the state manage the drought,” Heineman said. “But soil moisture throughout much of the state has been drastically depleted, raising concerns about what will happen to Nebraska’s crops and pastures if drought continues over the winter into next summer.”

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman addresses Nebraska Farmers Union Convention

Other speakers at the convention included nationally recognized livestock market expert and retired USDA GIPSA Chief Administrator J. Dudley Butler. Butler reported on the particulars of the recent congressional efforts to strengthen and update USDA’s anti-trust regulations and agricultural marketing definitions and standards.


The convention weekend also saw NeFU members passing policies and special orders of business on issues including the farm bill, the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), climate change, wind energy and the Keystone XL pipeline.


During their convention, NeFU also announced a collaborative launch of a Farm to Fitness Program as part of their ongoing efforts to identify, expand and promote new markets for humanely-raised livestock products in Nebraska.


“The Farm to Fitness program is a good match between food producers and food consumers,” said John Hansen, NeFU president. “This collaborative effort is a win-win for everyone.”


New England Farmers Union Holds Annual Convention in Vermont


The members of the New England Farmers Union (NEFU) elected Roger Noonan, owner of Middle Branch Farm in New Boston, N.H., and NEFU’s vice president, as their new president at NEFU’s annual meeting on Dec. 7, 2012, in Brattleboro, Vt. Noonan will take the helm of the 1,500-member organization, leading a 10-member board of directors.


“I am honored to be elected as president of NEFU,” Noonan said. “The Farmers Union has a long, proud tradition of supporting family farmers, ranchers and fishermen, and our New England division has much to bring to the national discussion of farm and fisheries policy. When we work together, our voices are amplified, and our concerns are heard and acted on by those setting policy at the federal level.”


Outgoing President Erbin Crowell of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association, an affiliate member, congratulated his successor and reflected on the achievements of NEFU, the youngest division of National Farmers Union, over the past three years. “NEFU has made great strides in three years,” he said. “Its affiliation with the national organization has really expanded its potential, and our member food co-ops have really appreciated the great information on the farm bill this year.”


Eighty members at the annual meeting voted for Noonan and updated NEFU’s policy book, including adding provisions in support of nutrition incentive programs that will increase the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers’ markets and for more flexible purchasing authority for school lunch programs to increase buys of fresh produce from local farms.


The annual meeting, held at the Vermont Agriculture Business Education Center, featured Chuck Ross, Vermont’s secretary of agriculture,

who shared successes of Vermont’s embrace of local agriculture. Ross spoke about Burlington-based Fletcher Allen Hospital’s transition to serving farm-fresh food.



“People now go there to have lunch on purpose…not to have a bypass, but to have lunch,” he told the group.

Chuck Ross, Vermont’s secretary of agriculture spoke to New England Farmers Union members during their annual convention Dec.7.

Ross encouraged farmers to tell their stories to consumers, who want to know, he said, “what they’re eating, where it comes from and who grew it.” He also pushed farmers to work together. “We have to understand we are part of a food system,” he said, “and we all need to work together to think regionally.”


NEFU farmer members, including Penny Jordan of Jordan’s Farm in Cape Elizabeth, Maine; Ray Conner of Evandale Farm in Pittsfield, N.H.; and Perry Raso, of Matunuck Oyster Farm/Bar in East Matunuck, R.I., talked about their experience lobbying in Washington, D.C. Perry noted how important it was for NEFU to fight for the inclusion of aquaculture in the federal farm bill, in particular for the purposes of disaster assistance loans and crop insurance. Food safety training, research, scale-appropriate regulation and attention to shellfish aquaculture tenure are also essential, according to Perry. Beth Hodge of Hinsdale, N.H.-based Echo Farm Pudding described the certified-humane dairy and pudding operation she runs with her family and how she uses her business to teach animal husbandry to young people through 4-H programs.


In the coming year, as NEFU works to draw new members, New Hampshire and western Massachusetts will be the sites of membership drives to build on interest in strong local food systems.

NFU Education Activities and Opportunities

Webinar: Sanitizer Use on Fresh Produce January 31st, 2013The Iowa State University and Ohio State University On-Farm Food Safety teams will host a workshop on Sanitizer Use on Fresh Produce Jan. 31, 2012, from 12:45 to 5:00pm CST. The workshop will assist fruit and vegetable growers decide which post- harvest produce sanitizer options are best for their farms. To register, please visit http://bit.ly/T3Pvsh

Int’l Workshop for Rural Youth Program Now Accepting Nominees
Please consider the following leadership opportunity for young farmers in your state, the International Leadership Workshop for Rural Youth, to be held in Germany Jul. 15-Aug. 1, 2013.

Nominees must be between 25-45 years of age, and should be able to deliver speeches, present results, and lead group discussions. The 580 euro (approximately $750) participation fee, as well as travel costs to and from the workshop, would be shared by NFU and the Farmers Union state.

NFU staff will forward additional information on this opportunity soon, and more information can be found in a brochure (available via http://www.international-herrsching-seminar.de/fileadmin/SITE_MASTER/content/Dokumente2013/PDFs/Flyer2013.pdf, please see pages 12 ff for the English version) and on http://www.international-herrsching-seminar.de/en/. Please contact news@nfudc.org for more information.

2013 Scholarship Applications Now Available Online

Applications for two different scholarships are now available online. The Stanley Moore National Scholarships are open to to Farmers Union members and their children. High school seniors, college students or non-­-traditional students seeking funding to attend a two-­- or four-­-year accredited college or university or technical school for any area of study are encouraged to apply. Several $1,000 scholarships will be awarded with money to be used for tuition and books. The Hubert K. and Joann Seymour Scholarships are open to graduating high school seniors who are Farmers Union members and are continuing their education in either a two-year or four-year accredited college or university for any area of study. Scholarships will be awarded ranging from $1000 to $2000 total. Deadline for applications for both scholarships is Feb. 1, 2013.
2013 BFI Session Applications Now Online

NFU is now accepting applications for its 2013 Beginning Farmers Institute (BFI) program. The annual program, now accepting its third class of students, is open to individuals who are new to farming, are in the process of transferring an operation from a relative or non-relative to themselves, or are contemplating a career in farming or ranching.


Applicants accepted into the 2013 program will attend three separate education sessions, to be held in the spring and fall of 2013, in Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis, Minn., respectively, with a final session culminating at NFU’s annual Convention in March 2014 in Santa Fe, N.M. Program topics at the education sessions will include business planning, U.S. Department of Agriculture programs, tax and record keeping, estate transfer and marketing.

The Beginning Farmers Institute is supported by the NFU Foundation, Farm Credit and the CHS Foundation.

Interested applicants can download the 2013 application on the NFU website, as well as visit NFU’s education Facebook page for updates and further information on NFU’s youth and young adult education programs. Applications must be postmarked on or before Feb. 11, 2013.

Save the Date for Association of Cooperative Educators (ACE) Institute Aug. 4 – 7

Please mark your calendars for the 2013 ACE Institute, Aug. 4-7 in San Juan, Puerto Rico!

The annual ACE Institute is the only annual conference dedicated solely to highlighting innovative programs in cooperative education. It provides a unique opportunity to network with educators across cooperative sectors as well as national boundaries

ACE is a membership organization that brings together educators, researchers, cooperative members, and cooperative developers from across cooperative sectors and national borders, resulting in ideas that enhance cooperative development, strengthen cooperatives, promote professionalism and improve public understanding.

Stay tuned, more information regarding the agenda and hotel accommodations will be available in early 2013 on www.ace.coop.

Farmers are Reminded of Whole Farm and Multi-Peril Crop Insurance Program Dates Approaching in Early 2013

USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) reminds producers of the fast approaching winter and spring sales closing dates for Multiple Peril Crop Insurance (MPCI) programs. This also includes the whole farm insurance programs Adjusted Gross Revenue Pilot (AGR) and Adjusted Gross Revenue-Lite (AGR-Lite). AGR and AGR-Lite cover most farm-raised crops, animals, and animal products.

Upcoming Sales Closing Dates

January 31, 2013 Final date to buy or change AGR insurance in select counties in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Final date to submit required documents to continue or change 2013 AGR-Lite insurance for EXISTING POLICY HOLDERS in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

February 1, 2013 Final date to buy or change crop insurance coverage for 2013 Spring Planted Onions in Idaho, Oregon and Washington and Cabbage in Oregon and Washington.

March 15, 2013 Final date to buy or change ALL OTHER Spring Seeded MPCI (excluding wheat in counties with Fall and Spring planted types). Final date to buy 2013 AGR-Lite insurance for NEW APPLICATION/ENROLLMENT POLICIES in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

Current policyholders and uninsured growers must make all of their decisions on crop insurance coverage before the sales closing date. If there is no coverage in a county for a specific crop under the traditional MPCI program; producers may ask a crop insurance agent whether they would be eligible for coverage under a written agreement.

Producers are encouraged to visit with their crop insurance agent to learn specific details for the 2013 crop year. Federal crop insurance policies are sold and delivered solely through private insurance companies and agents. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers in the United States or on RMA’s web site at http://www3.rma.usda.gov/tools/agents/.

Ag Secretary Vilsack to Host Virtual Q&A Dec. 17

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will host a live Virtual Office Hours session on Twitter Dec. 17 at 3:30 p.m. EDT to answer questions on the important role of rural America to the national and global economy, increasing agricultural opportunities in U.S. communities, and the importance of passing a five-year Farm Bill.Secretary Vilsack will answer Twitter queries such as:

What are the emerging sectors in agriculture for new farmers and ranchers; where do I find them?
In both rural and urban communities, what is the significance of the agricultural sector?
I didn’t grow up on a farm. Are there other opportunities in agriculture besides farming that I should know about?

Submit your questions in advance to the @USDA Twitter account using the hashtag #AskUSDA.

WHAT: Secretary Vilsack will answer questions from @USDA on the important role of rural America to the national and global economy, increasing agricultural opportunities in U.S. communities, and the importance of passing a five-year Farm Bill.

WHERE: Tune in online by following @USDA and using #AskUSDA.

NFU Foundation
Consider NFU Foundation in Your Year-End GivingImagine that you’re 17 and feeling a little insecure. Then you attend the NFU All-States Leadership Camp and say, “Camp gave me the motivation to take the lead and learn how to work with people from all aspects of life.” Or “I am a better person today because of Farmers Union.”

Imagine you just started to farm and other beginning farmer programs don’t seem like a good fit.Then you find the NFU Beginning Farmer Institute (BFI) and say, “National Farmers Union’s ability to reach out to a broad cross section of farmers makes it different than other organizations. They teach at a level that opens eyes to a broader picture of where our farm fits into agriculture. It’s a powerful experience.”

Please enable us to keep our valuable programs sustainable by clicking here to make a tax-deductible contribution to the NFU Foundation. To learn what your donation pays for, click here. Help a child gain confidence and leadership skills. Help a person use their passion and sharpen their skills to start to farm. Your generous support does make a difference.

The Benefits of Being an NFU Member

Did you know that as an NFU member, you have access to a score of benefits, including discounts on hotels, office supplies, prescriptions and even pet insurance!


Farmers Union members can save up to 25 percent off your next car rental while experiencing the comfort and reliability that come with renting from Avis.

With 4,800 locations in over 140 countries, there’s always an Avis nearby to help you with your car rental needs. Click here to book your car rental or call Avis toll free at 1-800-331-1212. And remember to use your Farmers Union Avis Worldwide Discount (AWD) number: B291043 to enjoy these special savings!

Budget Logo

Nothing is smarter than getting great deals on great cars. And as a Farmers Union member, you get a great deal every time you rent.

Farmers Union members save up to 20 percent off our great rates, plus you can take advantage of specials on daily, weekly & weekend rates and upgrades.

Click here to book your car or call toll free 1-800-527-0700 and mention the Farmers Union BCD number R198143 to receive your discount.

Make the smart choice, rent Budget and start saving today!

For a complete list of the many benefits available to NFU members, please visit

NFU Partners with Home Grown Cow

NFU is teaming up with Home Grown Cow to provide farmers and ranchers with an opportunity to market certain products directly to consumers. Home Grown Cow also gives consumers an opportunity to browse products by location and farming style.


Visit Home Grown Cow’s website at www.homegrowncow.com.

Farm Price Barometer
November 2012Current Parity % of
Commodity Price Price Parity

Barley (bushel)……………..6.50……….12.60………52
Corn (bushel)……………….6.71……….12.00………56
Cotton, Upland (lb) ……..0.688………..2.08……….33
Flaxseed (bushel)…………14.00………31.80………44
Oats (bushel)……………….3.70………..7.61……….49
Peanuts (lb)………………..0.330………0.752………44
Rice (cwt)…………………..14.70………42.20………35
Sorghum Grain (cwt)…….12.30………21.10………58
Soybeans (bushel)………..13.80………28.90……..48
Wheat (bushel)……………..8.42……..18.30………46
Cattle (cwt)………………123.00……..292.00……..42
Hogs (cwt)…………………62.10………160.00…….39
Eggs, (dozen)………………1.19………..2.63………41
Milk, All (cwt)……………..21.10……….52.10……..40
*Lamb and manufacturing milk prices are one month behind all other prices in this analysis.
** Egg Prices are Mid-month in this analysis.
Taken from “Agricultural Prices,” USDA/NASS.

news2 NFU in the News

National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson and staff work with the media to ensure NFU and its members’ voices are heard throughout the media. For the latest NFU-related news and interviews, please visit

Comments are closed.