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Local Resident Meets With Secretary Vilsack, Governor Dayton and other Minnesota Farmers Union Members


Fri, Feb 22nd, 2013
Posted in All Agriculture

ST. PAUL, MN - Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) member and local resident Eunie Biel of Harmony, MN, was invited to attend a meeting with Tom Vilsack, secretary, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Governor Mark Dayton. This meeting was held at the Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) office on Saturday, February 16, 2013.

At the meeting, Secretary Vilsack recognized Minnesota and specifically Minnesota Farmers Union for their progressive work in agriculture, and informed MFU members on a federal perspective of current issues.

An issue of high priority for Secretary Vilsack is supporting programs for beginning farmers. “There will be far more farmers over the age of 75 than there will be under the age of 25” predicted Vilsack. “I value this group here” he said to Minnesota Farmers Union members, “I see a lot of people that look a lot younger than I am, which is great.”

Federal budget sequestration, the importance of passing a Farm Bill this year, water quality programs, and dairy (feed costs vs. price of milk) were also important points of discussion. “The rural population is at the lowest level in history,” he warned. “Farmers need to form broad alliances and create dialogue with other groups to protect their influence.”

In spite of current problems, he is very optimistic about agriculture, as there has been record expansion of exports and increased development of local/regional food systems.

USDA is actively involved in research on the long-term impact of climate change, to develop adaptation mitigation strategies.

These issues are also high on Minnesota Farmers Union’s legislative agenda.

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