National Farmers Union

National Farmers Union Hard at work for family farmers, ranchers, fishermen and their rural communities.
National Farmers Union was founded in 1902 in Point, Texas, to help the family farmer address profitability issues and monopolistic practices while America was courting the Industrial Revolution. Today NFU continues its original mission to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers and their rural communities. We believe that consumers and producers can work together to promote a quality domestic supply of safe food.

NFU represents farmers and ranchers in all states, with organized chapters in 32 states. The key to the success and credibility of the organization has been Farmers Union’s grassroots structure in which policy positions are initiated locally. The policy process includes the presentation of resolutions by individuals, followed by possible adoption of the resolutions at the local, state and national levels. Members and staff of the Farmers Union advocate these policy positions nationwide.

National Farmers Union believes that good opportunities in production agriculture are the foundation of strong farm and ranch families, and strong farm and ranch families are the basis for thriving rural communities. Vibrant rural communities, in turn, are vital to the health, security and economic well-being of our entire national economy.
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Farm income fell by $11.8 billion between January and March - the biggest drop in three years - in part due to President...
05/01/2019
U.S. Farmer Income Drops Most Since 2016 as Trade War Losses Mount

Farm income fell by $11.8 billion between January and March - the biggest drop in three years - in part due to President Trump’s trade wars. To add insult to injury, his proposed budget would cut funding for USDA programs that help support family farmers and ranchers during times of financial difficulty.

Personal income for farmers fell by the most in three years in the first quarter, as losses to U.S. agriculture mount from President Donald Trump’s trade wars.

Farmers depend on reliable weather patterns for every step of production, from planting to harvest. Climate change has t...
04/30/2019
From Apples to Popcorn, Climate Change Is Altering the Foods America Grows

Farmers depend on reliable weather patterns for every step of production, from planting to harvest. Climate change has thrown these natural systems out of whack, causing more serious pest pressures, heat stress on livestock, and crop loss to drought, wildfire, and flooding - all of which mean lower yields and lower incomes.

In every region, farmers and scientists are trying to adapt an array of crops to warmer temperatures, invasive pests, erratic weather and earlier growing seasons.

Milk prices have fallen nearly 40% since 2014 due to overproduction and retaliatory tariffs on American dairy products. ...
04/29/2019
Stung by Trump’s Trade Wars, Wisconsin’s Milk Farmers Face Extinction

Milk prices have fallen nearly 40% since 2014 due to overproduction and retaliatory tariffs on American dairy products. As a result, ~1,200 Wisconsin dairy farms closed in the past 2 years.

“When it’s something you’re born doing, it’s hard to say you’re not going to do it anymore.”

The flagship industry in a pivotal swing state faces an economic crisis.

"In most SNAP households, at least one person is employed. But that doesn't always mean they can feed their families. Ev...
04/26/2019
How real families use food stamps

"In most SNAP households, at least one person is employed. But that doesn't always mean they can feed their families. Even those who work full time often receive such low wages that food stamps can make the difference between having something to eat and going hungry."

Our research shows why it's counterproductive to increase work rules.

Just 4 companies slaughter more than 80% of U.S. beef cattle. They are now being accused of engaging in anti-competitive...
04/25/2019
A new lawsuit accuses the "Big Four" beef packers of conspiring to fix cattle prices | New Food Economy

Just 4 companies slaughter more than 80% of U.S. beef cattle. They are now being accused of engaging in anti-competitive practices that artificially depressed cattle prices—resulting in lower prices for producers and record profits for the industry.

The plaintiffs say companies like JBS and Tyson Foods illegally plotted to force desperate ranchers into selling their animals more cheaply.

"Agricultural equipment manufacturers force farmers to use their authorized service center for repairs, and it's costing...
04/24/2019
U.S. Farmers Are Being Bled by the Tractor Monopoly

"Agricultural equipment manufacturers force farmers to use their authorized service center for repairs, and it's costing farmers dearly. In Nebraska, a Deere technician must be hired for $230, plus $130/hour, just to authorize a transmission replacement."

Forcing them to use authorized repair centers hurts rural America.

"I serve as a counselor for farmers and ranchers. They've been calling me more and more recently because of low farm pri...
04/23/2019
I Work With Suicidal Farmers. It’s Becoming Too Much to Bear.

"I serve as a counselor for farmers and ranchers. They've been calling me more and more recently because of low farm prices, the prolonged recession in agriculture, and flooding in the Midwest. We need to do something to immediately respond to the crisis."

Mike Rosmann left seminary to become a clinical psychologist for farmers. Now, as historic flooding ravages the Midwest, he's never been more overwhelmed.

Climate change is the single greatest challenge facing American agriculture, rural communities, and global food security...
04/22/2019
Earth Day: Agriculture is an Essential Part of the Climate Solution

Climate change is the single greatest challenge facing American agriculture, rural communities, and global food security. Despite the seemingly insurmountable obstacles, farmers and ranchers across the country are stepping up to sequester carbon, produce renewable energy, and educate their friends and neighbors.

”We are in the middle of an environmental and climatic crisis. We are all responsible and accountable for being part of the solution.”

By Hannah Packman, NFU Communications Coordinator On the 49th annual celebration of Earth Day, National Farmers Union (NFU) is highlighting the existential threat that climate change poses to Ameri…

For each dollar Americans spend on food, farmers only earn 14.6 cents. This is the smallest share of the American food d...
04/18/2019
Farmers’ Share of Food Spending Drops - Daily Yonder

For each dollar Americans spend on food, farmers only earn 14.6 cents. This is the smallest share of the American food dollar farmers have ever received.

For each dollar Americans spend on food, 14.6 cents go to farmers, according to the latest figures from USDA Economic Research Service. The report, using 2017 data, marks the sixth straight year farmers have earned a smaller share of domestic food spending.

Happy Bat Appreciation Day! Here's just a handful of reasons why we love bats:1. Bats pollinate 500+ plant species, incl...
04/17/2019

Happy Bat Appreciation Day! Here's just a handful of reasons why we love bats:

1. Bats pollinate 500+ plant species, including bananas and mangos.
2. They provide natural pest management by eating insects.
3. When you roll them up in blankets, they look like little batritos.

Photo: Luke Marsden Photo

For every farmer under 35, there's more than 6 who are over 65.This isn't because young people don't want to farm - many...
04/15/2019
Ag Census: Despite Many Challenges, the U.S. Has More Young Farmers Than it Did Five Years Ago | Civil Eats

For every farmer under 35, there's more than 6 who are over 65.

This isn't because young people don't want to farm - many can't afford the high upfront costs because of student debt. Even those who can afford to farm usually work an off-farm job just to break even.

The number of young farmers rose just 2 percent in the new farm census, and even that growth might not have been possible without incentives like tuition-free ag college.

Yesterday, the USDA released the 2017 Census of Agriculture. We're still digging through the data, but here are some of ...
04/12/2019

Yesterday, the USDA released the 2017 Census of Agriculture. We're still digging through the data, but here are some of the early takeaways:

-Fewer total farms
-Fewer acres cultivated
-More small and large farms, fewer mid-sized farms
-More female operators 👩‍🌾
-Average age of farmers continues to ⬆️
-56.4% of farms lost money in 2017

Read the full census here: https://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/AgCensus/2017/index.php

Many farmers rely heavily on tractors and other automated machinery - but some manufacturers don't allow them to repair ...
04/11/2019
As farmers fight for the right to repair their tractors, an antitrust movement gains steam

Many farmers rely heavily on tractors and other automated machinery - but some manufacturers don't allow them to repair such machinery themselves, or even choose their own mechanic.

Proprietary tools and restrictive user agreements keep farmers from fixing their own machines. A vocal faction of producers, legislators, and advocates wants to change that.

Low prices, caused by oversupply and trade disputes, pushed farmers to store more of their harvests. But then flooding s...
04/10/2019
‘Hand that’s feeding the world is getting bit.’ Farmers cope with floods, trade war

Low prices, caused by oversupply and trade disputes, pushed farmers to store more of their harvests. But then flooding swept away millions of bushels of stored grain - losses that aren't covered by USDA disaster programs.

“I’m stressed out about the trade policies… and now with this thrown on top, it feels like there’s no hope.”

Farmers are storing more crops in the face of low prices caused by President Donald Trump’s trade war, but if those crops were destroyed in the flood the farmers have little recourse to recoup their losses.

“When we think about the challenges in agriculture, carbon—and how to sequester it—is near the top.” Storing car...
04/09/2019
Farmers Are Excited About Soil Health. That’s Good News for All of Us.

“When we think about the challenges in agriculture, carbon—and how to sequester it—is near the top.” Storing carbon in farm soils is not just an important climate change solution - it also helps rural communities become more resilient to extreme weather.

“When we think about the challenges in agriculture, carbon—and how to sequester it—is near the top.” So said Roger Johnson, the president of the National Farmers Union (NFU), in opening the grassroots organization’s 2019 annual convention in March. Storing carbon in farm soils is an import...

Just a handful of companies control every step of the food supply chain, from seed to plate. Four firms control 88% of c...
04/08/2019
Big agriculture fights back against Sen. Elizabeth Warren's call to break up industry

Just a handful of companies control every step of the food supply chain, from seed to plate. Four firms control 88% of corn seeds, and the four largest multinational meatpackers control 85% of beef packing.

As a result, farmers are getting squeezed on both ends, paying more than they should for inputs and getting lower prices when selling their commodities.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren's call to break up big agriculture has stirred a debate, but industry groups are fighting back, saying her "proposals seriously miss the mark."

Over the last 10 years, 17,000 dairy farms have closed. “There’s a glut of milk on the market in part because we’v...
04/05/2019
After mega-dairy was shut down, Oregon lawmakers consider a moratorium on new operations | Food and Environment Reporting Network

Over the last 10 years, 17,000 dairy farms have closed.

“There’s a glut of milk on the market in part because we’ve got this new wave of mega-dairies all over the country. They’re overproducing and they’re driving small farmers out of business.”

An estimated 30 million gallons of cow manure awaited cleanup on the former site of Lost Valley farm, a mega-dairy in Boardman, Oregon, when it was sold in February. The mess was an apt symbol of the…

Thanks to everyone who came out or tuned in to the farm bill panel in DC with National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition...
04/05/2019

Thanks to everyone who came out or tuned in to the farm bill panel in DC with National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, The National Young Farmers Coalition, Community Foodworks, and DC Greens! We are glad to know we aren’t the only ones who think food policy is rad. ✌🏻

See more pictures: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nfudc/albums/72157707986534364

"Almost everything you do to try to run a farming business is completely out of your control, whether it’s prices or w...
04/04/2019
Lake City dairy farmer becomes voice for rural mental health

"Almost everything you do to try to run a farming business is completely out of your control, whether it’s prices or weather or regulations. You can’t do this job if you don’t have hope in the future - you’d never get out of bed if you didn’t."

When she woke up on March 23, Dairy farmer Debbie Mills had no idea of the despair she would experience that night.

President Trump's tactless approach to trade has already been disastrous for American farmers. His threats to close the ...
04/03/2019
Farmers Union Urges Trump Against ‘Disastrous’ Closing of the Southern Border

President Trump's tactless approach to trade has already been disastrous for American farmers. His threats to close the U.S.-Mexico border would cause further damage to our reputation as a reliable trading partner and depress farm prices for years to come.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 3, 2019 Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202.314.3106 [email protected] WASHINGTON – Amidst escalating rhetoric and threats from President Donald Trump to close the U.S.-Mexico b…

As America’s farmers endure significant environmental and economic challenges, incentive-based conservation programs a...
04/03/2019
Leading Farm, Conservation, and Wildlife Groups Unite in Support of Protecting Conservation Funding

As America’s farmers endure significant environmental and economic challenges, incentive-based conservation programs are more important now than ever. Today, we joined 140+ other organizations to urge Congress to protect funding for these programs.

Washington, DC, April 2, 2019 – Having succeeded in protecting funding for the Conservation Title in the 2018 Farm Bill, more than 140 leading farm, conservation, and wildlife groups are once again…

Low prices, brutal weather, and trade disputes are making it next to impossible for farmers to break even. “We’re go...
04/02/2019
At Iowa forum, Democratic presidential candidates vow to take on Big Ag | Food and Environment Reporting Network

Low prices, brutal weather, and trade disputes are making it next to impossible for farmers to break even.

“We’re going broke. I’m tired of being told to tighten my belt a little bit more, be a better businessperson. Because I’m not a bad businessperson. I can't make a living if I have to interact with a market that's stacked against me.”

Antitrust enforcement took center stage at Saturday’s Heartland Forum in Storm Lake, Iowa, a platform for Democratic presidential hopefuls to share their visions for rural America. Nearly all of the…

Looking for new ways to learn about food safety on your farm and the FSMA Produce Safety Rule? We'd highly recommend the...
04/01/2019

Looking for new ways to learn about food safety on your farm and the FSMA Produce Safety Rule? We'd highly recommend the Produce Safety Podcast, brought to you by Wisconsin Farmers Union and the Local Food Safety Collaborative. Available on iTunes and online here: https://www.wisconsinfarmersunion.com/podcast

"While bad luck is normal for farmers, the floods in the Midwest are neither normal nor a matter of luck - they're part ...
03/29/2019
Climate Change and the Death of the Small Farm

"While bad luck is normal for farmers, the floods in the Midwest are neither normal nor a matter of luck - they're part of a larger pattern of human-caused climate change. If these trends become the new normal, local family farming as we know it will die."

The catastrophic flooding in the Midwest is forcing more farmers to consider a stark choice: quit or consolidate.

"Our food system is broken. It makes no sense that farmers got 38 cents on the food dollar in the 80s and now they get 1...
03/28/2019
Washington Journal: Austin Frerick Discusses America's Agricultural System and Its Impact on Rural America

"Our food system is broken. It makes no sense that farmers got 38 cents on the food dollar in the 80s and now they get 15. This all comes down to deliberate policy choices that put multinational agribusiness corporations ahead of farmers and workers."

Open Markets Institute's Austin Frerick discusses his recent article in The American Conservative looking at the U.S. agriculture industry and its impact on rural America.

Over the past 15 years, 1400 local newspapers closed due to corporate consolidation, falling readership, and tightened b...
03/27/2019
Shrinking Newspapers and the Costs of Environmental Reporting in Coal Country

Over the past 15 years, 1400 local newspapers closed due to corporate consolidation, falling readership, and tightened budgets. More than a thousand communities don't have a local news source at all.

As a result, important rural environmental issues aren't being covered - which also means they aren't being addressed by policy or regulation.

A year ago, the last Kentucky newspaper staffer dedicated to the environmental beat full-time left his job. He hasn’t been replaced.

Between financial risk, volatile markets, unpredictable weather, and heavy workloads, farming is a high-stress occupatio...
03/25/2019
NFU, Broad Coalition Urge Full Funding for Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network

Between financial risk, volatile markets, unpredictable weather, and heavy workloads, farming is a high-stress occupation. At the same time, 60% of rural residents live in areas that suffer from mental health professional shortages.

Farmers, ranchers, and farmworkers deserve access to high-quality, affordable mental health services - and fully funding the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network would help achieve that.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMarch 25, 2019Contact: Andrew Jerome, [email protected] WASHINGTON – In an effort to improve mental health support for farmers, ranchers and farmworkers, National F…

Big box stores are inching closer to controlling every step of the food supply chain - which means farmers are inching c...
03/22/2019
Guebert: Walmart and Costco become farmers

Big box stores are inching closer to controlling every step of the food supply chain - which means farmers are inching closer to having no control at all.

"Walmart has Walmart-contracted truckers hauling Walmart-contracted milk to a Walmart bottling plant that Walmart will then process and haul to Walmart stores on Walmart trucks to sell directly to Walmart customers."

While officials in Washington stare at a federal budget proposal headed nowhere and a federal budget deficit headed to the moon, farm leaders in rural America are closely watching two

The worst agricultural downturn since the 1980s is taking its toll on the emotional well-being of American farmers.“Ca...
03/21/2019
American Farmers Confront a Mental Health Crisis

The worst agricultural downturn since the 1980s is taking its toll on the emotional well-being of American farmers.

“Can you imagine doing your job and having your boss say ‘well you know things are bad this year, so not only are we not going to pay you, but you owe us.' “That’s what’s happened with farmers.’’

The worst agricultural downturn since the 1980s is taking its toll on the emotional well-being of American farmers.

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