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NFU Fly-In Brings Farmers To Washington

10 September 2009

US - The American National Farmers Union will bring 200 family farm and ranch members to Washington DC on 14-16 September when hosting its annual Fall Fly-In. The event allows rural communities to meet directly with their representatives in Congress and administration officials.

“This event is an excellent opportunity for our members to put a face to the issues, whether it be a dairy producer facing the most severe economic crisis in 30 years, a farmer taking steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or a rural citizen worried about receiving quality health care, the fly-in is a chance to communicate with lawmakers and influence policy,” NFU President Roger Johnson said.

The fly-in will focus on five priorities: agriculture’s role in climate change and energy legislation, the dairy crisis, rural health care, a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), and support for the TRADE Act.

“NFU’s members were quick to recognise the effects of global climate change and the opportunity to be part of the solution. The energy and climate change legislation passed by the House of Representatives was a good first step and we are committed to working with the Senate to ensure agriculture’s inclusion,” Mr Johnson said.

He added that America’s farmers and ranchers have committed to being part of our nation’s energy solution. “A national Renewable Electricity Standard would echo the success of the Renewable Fuels Standard by requiring a percentage of the market to be supplied by renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and biomass.”

The dairy crisis has affected producers of all sizes and in all locations. While there is no single solution to address the situation, NFU members advocated for five steps that could lessen the strain on dairy producers: maintain the Sanders amendment to the FY10 agriculture appropriations bill for milk price supports, support the Milk Import Tariff Equity Act, launch the Federal Milk Market Order review as established in the 2008 Farm Bill, launch antitrust and potential market manipulation investigations, and establish a long-term supply management programme.

Health care concerns are also a top priority for the Farmers Union membership. Rural Americans face significant barriers to receiving quality health care. “Distance from medical facilities, cost-prohibitive private insurance premiums and co-pays and an aging rural population are just some of the obstacles facing rural citizens,” Mr Johnson said. “NFU urges Congress to pass a meaningful health care reform bill that provides universal, affordable and accessible coverage and establishes a public insurance plan option for all Americans.”

Farmers and ranchers will also press for reforming the free trade agenda. Instead, urging adoption of the Trade Reform, Accountability, Development and Employment (TRADE) Act to level the playing field for American producers.

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