The Minnesota Farmers Union, Minnesota Farm Bureau, sets priorities for 2023 at annual conventions – Agweek > Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS — Both the Minnesota Farmers Union and the Minnesota Farm Bureau held their annual conventions on the third weekend of November and set priorities for the coming year.

The 81st Annual Minnesota Farmers Union State Convention was held at the Delta Hotels by Marriott in northeast Minneapolis.

Gary Wertish, who is entering his sixth year as Minnesota Farmers Union president, said the MFU started what it called the New Leader Academy program a few years ago, which Wertish says is used to bring newer, younger people into the organization.

He said program members were at the convention to witness the policy debate along with other aspects of the annual event.

“The program worked very well,” said Wertish. “We gained a number of people who stayed involved with MFU and I think that’s the ultimate goal of that.”

Wertish said every organization faces the challenge of recruiting younger members, and this is especially true for farming groups where the average farmer is over 50 years old.

“It’s always very important to reach out to the younger ones and the new ones and get them involved,” he said. “And they also have different ideas and there is nothing wrong with that and it contributes to a broad and good discussion between all types of companies.”

Wertish said that overall 2021 was a “pretty good” year for MFU members.

“We got away with 90% of the state in extreme drought last year, and this year it’s less than 30%,” he said. “But for the most part, commodities like corn and beans did pretty well and ended up with a pretty decent harvest.”

He said that specialty crop and vegetable growers also had a better year than last.

Although growers are having good harvests overall, Wertish said current input prices are leading to difficult decisions for producers and will lead to challenges in the future.

“Commodity prices are strong this year, so we can get through this, but we can’t get out of it for long,” Wertish said. “I think back to the 80s, the pillow can burn quickly there.”

MFU members passed special directives at their annual meeting and elected delegates to the National Farmers Union Convention. Delegates debated policies related to health care reform, federal agricultural programs, a grain compensation fund and support for young farmers. The Special Rules of Procedure are the Organization’s key legislative priorities for the coming year.

The five special tasks of the MFU:

  • Make healthcare affordable and accessible.
  • Limit corporate control and ensure competitive markets.
  • Expansion of local and regional processing.
  • create climate resilience.
  • Adoption of a comprehensive agriculture law in 2023.
Minnesota Farm Bureau Vice President Carolyn Olson and MFB President Dan Glessing during the Delegates Meeting at the 104th Annual Minnesota Farm Bureau Convention on November 18, 2022 in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Noah Fish / Agweek

The Minnesota Farm Bureau held its 104th Annual Meeting November 17-19 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Dan Glessing, in his second year as president of the Minnesota Farm Bureau, said it’s been an overall positive year for MFB members.

“I think it was a year of manufacture,” Glessing said. “We look to the future and what it takes to be successful in the future – that’s not necessarily the most fun, but it’s necessary to ensure your business keeps moving forward.”

The MFB board set its priorities for the 2023 legislative period at the end of the annual meeting.

“The strength of the Farm Bureau lies in its members and our policy development process,” said Glessing. “Our delegate meeting, where we discuss issues raised by our counties, helps us identify what is most important to keep farming prosperous in our state.”

Main topics of the MFB for 2023:

  • Beginners and aspiring farmers.
  • Clean energy and sustainability.
  • Healthcare Accessibility.
  • research and investment.
  • Rural Connectivity.
  • rural vitality.