More than 30 Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) members from seven of the state’s Congressional districts this week joined more than 300 other Farmers Union members from across the nation for a legislative fly-in to Washington, D.C.
“Our legislative fly-in comes at a pivotal time for agriculture and food policy as the 2023 Farm Bill is imminent,” said National Farmers Union President Rob Larew. “We don’t just need a farm bill – we need the right farm bill. We know that when family farmers and ranchers speak out, decision makers listen.”
Collectively, Farmers Union members attended hundreds of Congressional meetings, heard from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small, USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation Robert Bonnie and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Michael Kades among other leaders.
In addition to attending federal agency and White House briefings, members of the Minnesota delegation met with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Tina Smith, Rep. Angie Craig, Rep. Brad Finstad, Rep. Betty McCollum, Rep. Pete Stauber and staff members for Rep. Tom Emmer, Rep. Dean Phillips and Rep. Michelle Fischbach.
“Fly-in is one of my favorite Farmers Union activities because it brings farmers from across the nation together to advocate for policies important to them and to renew relationships with one another,” said MFU Vice President Anne Schwagerl. “We focused on our farm bill priorities, including maintaining a strong farm safety net, building a competition title to support fair, open and competitive markets and giving farmers the tools they need to farm in a changing climate.”
This year’s fly-in focused on the farm bill, which is generally updated every five years, and expires Sept. 30. Congresspeople said the bill will likely be extended.
“I extend my gratitude to the MFU members who took time away from their farms and businesses to attend this important event and speak up for the issues important to them,” Schwagerl added. “I know it’s tough to leave the farm this time of year, but it’s vitally important that congressional leaders hear directly from those impacted by the policies they put into place. It is democracy in action.”