NFU Washington Update

20 12 2012

Washington Corner:  January 2013

Greetings from Washington and Happy New Year! January will be a busy time in Washington D.C., as the 113th Congress convenes in early January while the inauguration of President Obama takes place on Jan. 21. It will be an exciting time of change and adjustment, and NFU will continue to work in the best interests of our members.

The beginning of the year will see the National Farmers Union office bustling with activity as our convention rapidly approaches. If you haven’t already done so, please make your arrangements to travel to Springfield, Mass. for the convention to be held March 2 to 5. Hotel reservations need to be made by Feb. 7 to guarantee that you get the Farmers Union discounted rate. Registration is also available at


Farm Bill Update

As of press time, Congress has yet to take action on a new version of the farm bill, which expired on Sept. 30. House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders are reportedly still working on a compromise version of the 2012 farm bill to insert into pending “fiscal cliff” legislation, although an aide to House Speaker John Boehner has stated opposition to this approach. Other options Congress may pursue include a short term extension of the 2008 Farm Bill, agricultural disaster relief provisions attached to a larger bill authorizing assistance for Hurricane Sandy victims, or taking no action at all. NFU’s legislative staff is actively engaging in numerous meetings with members of Congress and their staff encouraging the completion of the farm bill and stressing the importance of providing longer term price protection for family farmers.


Policy Committee

The NFU policy committee will meet the week of Jan. 17 in Washington, D.C., to begin evaluating NFU’s current policy and to make suggestions for changes to present at the convention in Springfield, Mass. this March. Policy is driven by Farmers Union’s grassroots membership across the country and determines the priorities our organization will work on for the next year.

This year’s policy committee members are Jeff Eschmeyer of Ohio (chairman), George Davis of Calif., Tom Wingfield of Colo. (Rocky Mtn.), Daniel Truelove of Ill., Mary Howell of Kan., Tim Velde of Minn., Ronda Throener of N.D., and Kent McAninch of Okla.

On behalf of all the members of Farmers Union, we are grateful for the committee’s work. The policy book  is a product of decades of Farmers Union history, and committee members scrutinize each word in the document before it is presented to the delegates for changes and eventual adoption.



NFU’s 111th annual convention in Springfield, Mass. is fast approaching and plans are continuing to shape up. A tentative schedule, hotel reservation link and registration details are posted at Please be sure to book your hotel accommodations by Feb. 7, 2013 to secure the discounted room rate. You can also sign up to receive the latest updates on our convention website.  We look forward to seeing you in New England March 2 to 5!


Scholarship Applications Now Being Accepted

NFU is encouraging students to apply for several scholarships made available through the general farm organization and its affiliated foundations. The amounts vary from $1,000 to $2,000.

The NFU Foundation Stanley 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.

The foundation presents several scholarships in the value of $1,000 annually. Applications must be postmarked on or before Feb. 11, 2013. All applications must be postmarked on or before April 19, 2013 to be considered.

Honoring Stanley Moore is also the purpose of the separate FUI Foundation scholarships, which are available to Farmers Union members in Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The foundation awards several $1,500 scholarships each year. Applications must be postmarked on or before Feb. 11, 2013. All applications must be postmarked on or before April 29, 2013 to be considered.

The Hubert and JoAnn Seymour Scholarship is open to all graduating high school seniors who are continuing their education in an accredited two- or four-year college. Scholarship amounts vary from $1,000 to $2,000. Applications must be postmarked on or before Feb. 1, 2013.

Applicants must be Farmers Union members.  Selection committees make their determinations after evaluating the applications and essays.

For details on deadlines and to download application forms, please visit


BFI Applications for 2013 Now Accepted

Applications for the 2013 Beginning Farmers Institute (BFI) program are now available at

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.

The BFI program helps students gain insight and practical skills needed by beginning farmers and ranchers, including business plan writing, financial planning, and researching available programs to help start up and sustain a successful operation.

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.

Applications must be postmarked on or before Feb. 11, 2013.


Democratic Members of Ag Committee Announced

The Senate Democratic Steering Committee approved committee assignments for Democratic senators in the 113th Congress in early December. The Democratic members of the Committee on Agriculture, listed in descending order of seniority with new committee members in italics, are Patrick Leahy, Vt.; Tom Harkin, Iowa; Max Baucus, Mont.; Debbie Stabenow, Mich. (Chairwoman); Sherrod Brown, Ohio; Bob Casey, Pa.; Amy Klobuchar, Minn.; Michael Bennet, Colo.; Kirsten Gillibrand, N.Y.; Joe Donnelly, Ind. and Heidi Heitkamp, N.D.

All other committee assignments can be viewed at





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