National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson today saluted the organization’s commitment to grassroots leadership and true democracy in action as NFU members from across the nation prepare to convene at their national convention in Wichita, Kansas, to vote on the organization’s policy and vision for the future of agriculture.
“NFU is one of the few organizations in Washington that is truly driven by its members, who meet with each other, elected officials and government agencies and then convene to discuss the organization’s overall policies and vision for policies important to family farmers and ranchers,” said Johnson.
NFU’s policy-setting process begins in late January with the meeting of the NFU Policy Committee, comprised of members, who are all considered outstanding leaders in their state/regional Farmers Union organizations and were nominated by their respective state’s president to serve on the committee. Committee members meet with leaders from the White House, U.S. Department of Agriculture and key Capitol Hill staff to ensure they possess a broad working knowledge of current legislative issues and political landscape as they move to revise NFU’s policy handbook.
“The meeting of the policy committee is the first part of the process, whereby chosen leaders representing a wide swath of agriculture convene to better understand and assess current NFU policy,” said Johnson. “They then discuss possible policy changes that will be brought to the voting membership during the annual convention in March.”
The second part of the process this year will take place at NFU’s 113th Anniversary Convention, March 14-17, in Wichita, Kansas. During the convention, the policy committee’s suggestions are considered and voted on, where any Farmers Union member may propose changes to the policy.
“After hearing from delegates and the membership, the policy committee submits a final copy of the suggested policy to the delegates at the convention for their consideration, amendment and adoption,” said Johnson. “And that is American democracy in action, pure and simple,” he added.
Johnson noted that many of NFU’s key policy initiatives, like Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) were borne through such a process. “NFU members, just like farmers, ranchers and consumers across the nation, believe strongly that food should be labeled and will continue to urge Congress and the U.S. Trade Representative to “stay the course on COOL,” said Johnson.