National Farmers Union was founded in 1902 in Point, Texas by Newt Gresham. Farmers Union grew out of the need for farmers to harness the power of organization to stand up against the monopolies that controlled the railroads, ag processing, ag supplies, and the grocers.
Organizing efforts In Nebraska began in 1911 with the formation of local cream and ag supply cooperatives with Antelope County being the first county organized in May 1911. Nebraska Farmers Union was first chartered into National Farmers Union on December 13, 1913. Our mission: “Nebraska Farmers Union is a general farm organization dedicated to protecting and enhancing the quality of life and economic well-being of family farmers and ranchers and their rural communities.”
NeFU has many active county and district organizations, and is very active in shaping farm and rural policy in both Lincoln and Washington DC. Governed by its members, NeFU’s policy is approved each year by the elected delegates of our state convention, and all Farmers Union officers are chosen in open elections.
The current President of Nebraska Farmers Union is John K. Hansen. He was first elected President in 1989, and has been re-elected every two-year term since. Hansen also serves as the Vice-Chairman of the Legislative Committee for National Farmers Union, is on the National Farmers Union Executive Committee, and also serves on several other national committees. Before moving to Lincoln to serve as President in 1990, he operated a diversified grain and livestock operation in Madison County, NE.
The current State Vice-President of Nebraska Farmers Union is Vern Jantzen, a grain producer from Plymouth, in Jefferson County.
Carol Schooley, from Hall County, serves as State Secretary. Along with four other members, Jantzen and Schooley also serve on the Board of Directors.
This photo was snapped on Christmas Day, 1927, and shows a brand new office and weigh-scales of the Farmers Union Co-op Association of Fairfield, NE. Since its founding in 1913, Nebraska Farmers Union has founded more than 436 cooperatives in Nebraska.
This picture is undated but shows the Farmers Union Livestock Commission at the Omaha Stockyards. The Omaha Stockyards is where the former Nebraska Farmers Union headquarters was located before it moved to Lincoln, NE.
Former Nebraska Farmers Union President Neil Oxton (right) is pictured with former NE Governor Charles Thone (seated) and former Secretary of State Alan Beerman at the official signing ceremony of Initiative 300 in 1982. I-300, the strongest state ban on corporate farming in the nation, was proposed and spearheaded by Nebraska Farmers Union.
This picture was taken in 2011 at an NeFU Board Meeting and features NeFU Directors from left to right: District 4 Director Vern Jantzen, District 2 Director Roy Stoltenberg, District 3 Director Gale Lush, NeFU President John Hansen, District 7 Director Martin Kleinschmit, District 6 Director Dennis Buse, and District 5 Director Dan McGuire. NeFU has four board meetings per year.
NFU President Roger Johnson and NeFU President John Hansen deliver the Golden Triangle Award to Senator Ben Nelson at the 2010 Fall Fly-In. The Golden Triangle Award is given to members of the Congressional Delegation that have high voting records on family farm and ranch issues. Twice a year farmers and ranchers from all over the country meet in Washington DC to talk to their representatives about current issues facing the production agriculture industry.
The above photo was taken at the 1941 Nebraska Farmers Union Convention at the Hotel Rome in Omaha. Nebraska Farmers Union has held an annual convention every year since its founding in 1913. Today, State Convention is usually held in Grand Island in early December.
The National Farmers Union Convention was held at the Embassy Suites Conference Center in LaVista, NE is March 2012. Despite Nebraska’s long tradition of hosting National Farmers Union Conventions, this was the first time NeFU was the host state since 1973. This picture includes many of the NeFU members present at the 2012 Convention.
NeFU President John K. Hansen, NeFU District 3 Director Gale Lush, and District 5 Director Dan McGuire sign the Power Purchase Agreement for the Crofton Hills C-BED Wind Project on April 22, 2008.
NeFU Public Affairs Director Graham Christensen, Member John Goeller, and NeFU District President Ben Gotschall present Senator Ken Haar with a book about the Sandhills. This book was signed by people all over the State of Nebraska that would be affected by the Keystone XL Pipeline and given to the Senator as a thank you for standing with Nebraska landowners and calling for the 2011 Legislative Special Session that set up a process for future oil pipelines in Nebraska.
Nebraska Farmers Union President John K Hansen (far right) receives applause for his remarks at a press conference during the 2002 Farm Aid Concert near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pictured to his left are John Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers of America; Carolyn Mugar, Executive Director of Farm Aid; and Farm Aid founders Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, and Neil Young.
Farmers Union members take some time for a picture at the Farmers Union Livestock Commission in Sioux City, IA. This picture is also undated.