Michigan Farmers Union is seeking participants to advocate for family farmers and their communities by joining members from across the country in Washington, D.C., September 8th-11th for the 2019 Fall Legislative Fly-In.
During their time in Washington, members are afforded the opportunity to hear from USDA officials about current events, opportunities, and other work the department is doing on behalf of farmers. They will receive briefings from other administration officials and the leadership and staff of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Agriculture.
Last year, Molly Stepanski, owner and co-operator of Presque Isle Farm in Posen, and NE MI Coordinator for Taste the Local Difference, was thrilled to have the opportunity to ask Secretary Purdue a question in the USDA briefing session.
The most important agenda items of the fly-in are the meetings on Capitol Hill. Members of Congress need to hear directly from our family farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and rural residents. Teams of Farmers Union members will stop by the office of every member of Congress to highlight and discuss key priorities for the organization, which is to prioritize America’s family farmers through the following actions:
• Strengthen the farm safety net by addressing chronic oversupply in the marketplace, including a long-term supply management program for the dairy industry.
• Support climate smart practices including incentivizing new markets and supply chains that help farmers make climate friendly decisions.
• Restore competition to the ag economy by establishing protections for farmers from the worst abuses in the contract poultry and livestock sector and stem the tide of increased concentrations.
• Improve USMCA (US, Mexico Canada Agreement) to protect rural jobs and reflect the needs of farmers and their rural communities.
• Resolve ongoing trade disputes through developing a long-term plan that ensures the viability of U.S. farmers that is less dependent on exports.
Fly-In is always an enjoyable time in our nation’s capital and participants have ample opportunity to bring up topics that impact their own farming operation. “These meetings were a good use of my time. In Washington, our leaders listened with concern for rural America. We need family farmers of all ages and sizes to connect with elected officials to influence policy and save our farmers and rural communities,” said Jon Thelen, a Clinton County dairy farmer who joined Michigan Farmers Union to attend Fly-In and advocate for dairy farmers.
For more information about this and future activities, please contact Kristine Ranger, Executive Secretary of the Michigan Farmers Union at (517) 974-5697