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All Star Lineup Wows NFU Convention

by 5m Editor
10 March 2009, at 9:32a.m.

US - Attendees to the 2009 National Farmers Union Convention heard from an outstanding line-up of policy makers, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, during the second day of the annual event.

“I believe the answers to the challenges facing our country today lie with those who live, work and raise their families in rural America. Hearing today’s speakers acknowledge that was a real treat for Farmers Union,” NFU President Tom Buis said.

A wide array of topics important to NFU membership – renewable fuels from the farm, the 2008 Farm Bill, country of origin labeling (COOL), carbon sequestration, fair trade, market oversight, nutrition and health care were touched on throughout the day.

Vilsack laid out the administration’s agriculture agenda, focusing on areas like school nutrition and renewable fuels. Vilsack said he believed the current ethanol blend wall should be increased to 12 per cent, with an eventual increase to 15 or even 20 per cent.

A renewable energy discussion with Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-S.D., focused on the economic benefits renewable fuels provide to not just farmers and ranchers, but the nation. They also touched on the many challenges, and concerns they share, facing the developing industry.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., discussed the provisions in the 2008 Farm Bill and highlighted the issues that will likely come before their committees this year.

Agriculture-FDA Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., talked about efforts to protect our nation’s food supply. DeLauro has been a strong advocate for mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) and setting the record straight on the true causes of increased consumer retail food prices.

Pelosi focused much of her address on the current economic crisis and highlighted provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that will benefit the rural economy. This was the second time in three years Pelosi addressed the NFU convention.