NeFU Supports LB1032 to Meet the Medical Needs of 77,000 Nebraskans

For Immediate Release                                                               

Contact:  John Hansen 402-476-8815

john@nebraskafarmersunion.org

 

Nebraska Farmers Union Supports LB1032 to Cost Effectively Meet the Medical Needs of 77,000 Nebraskans 

 

LINCOLN (February 10, 2016) – Dr. Merlin Friesen of Filley testified on behalf of Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) before the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee in favor of LB1032 that would use an innovative market oriented approach to help provide cost effective medical care to 77,000 Nebraskans currently without good medical care.

 

“Dr. Friesen is particularly well-suited to present our testimony on this issue because he is an emergency room doctor and knows first-hand that what our state is doing now provides extremely poor crisis-only medical care in the most expensive possible fashion,” said NeFU President John Hansen.  “Dr. Friesen understands both the medical and financial importance to develop a path forward for Nebraska to take advantage of the federal funding other states already use to cost effectively expand the use of Medicaid to provide coverage for folks who either go without medical care altogether, or end up using the emergency room when they have reached a medical crisis, many times as the direct result of the lack of good ongoing medical care.”

 

Dr. Friesen said, “Our current emergency care medical system is simply not set up to provide routine health care services, and is being overloaded with expensive medical emergencies that result when people do not have proper routine health care.  That is bad for the patients, and the rest of society that pays for this very expensive and mostly inappropriate process to provide medical services.  Our current system is costing Nebraska medical users and taxpayers a lot of money because we are picking up the expensive tab for our state’s failure to utilize federal monies dedicated for this purpose.  It sure looks like partisan politics is preventing our state from expanding Medicaid as other states are already doing.”

 

Hansen praised LB1032 as an innovative market based way to improve medical services to people that need it while saving medical users and taxpayers millions of dollars of money on an annual basis.  “It is time to set aside partisan politics and move our state forward.  The failure of our state to help our own citizens in need of medical services when by doing so with LB1032 we could save ourselves money is at a minimum foolish, and more likely downright mean,” Hansen concluded.

 

Nebraska Farmers Union is a general farm organization with 4,000 farm and ranch family members dedicated to protecting and enhancing the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers, and their rural communities.  Since 1913, Nebraska Farmers Union has helped organize over 445 cooperatives.

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NE Legislature Votes For Chickenization of NE Hog Production

For Immediate Release                                                         

Contact: John Hansen 402-476-8815

john@nebraskafarmersunion.org

 

Nebraska Legislature Votes For Chickenization of Nebraska Hog Production

 

LINCOLN (February 5, 2016) – Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) said that Legislature’s 34-14 support for LB176 on final reading was consistent with the history of most corporate farming issues in the Nebraska Legislature over the last 50 years.  “As usual, the view of a majority of the folks back home and the citizens who weighed in on this issue was trumped by the power of corporate money and the lobby”, said NeFU President John Hansen. “This was a basic fight about the future.  Our state will not be well served by the chickenization of pork production.”

 

NeFU President John Hansen said “The majority of food consumers consistently prefer to buy food for their families from other families that farm rather than from corporate farms.  Direct marketing and the Local Foods movement continues to grow.  Yet, the Legislature voted to help Chinese government owned Smithfield Foods, Inc. take over hog production in Nebraska by allowing them to directly own the hogs.  That vertically integrated packer controlled system of one-sided take-it or leave-it contracts with no cash markets or competition is similar to the poultry system that has victimized broiler producers across the nation.  It is a sad day for family farm agriculture.”

 

NeFU distributed a letter to the Legislature from Mike Weaver, President of the Contract Poultry Growers Association of the Virginias detailing the deplorable financial condition of most poultry growers who have not received an increase in their base pay for nearly 20 years despite the 300% plus increase in their operating costs.  In material provided by NeFU, according to the 2015 Successful Farming “Top 25 U.S. Pork Powerhouses” data, Smithfield already owns 894,000 sows in the U.S., and a total of 1,135,000 sows worldwide.  Smithfield is also the nation’s largest pork processor.  “I am at a loss why a Nebraska State Senator would feel it is their job to help a Chinese government owned hog processor intent on taking over U.S. hog production take over Nebraska hog production at the expense of hog markets and family farmers.”

 

“Just when our nation’s livestock markets are crying out for more effective anti-trust enforcement to expand competition, and market access and limit punitive retaliation against producers and non-competitive marketing practices, the Legislature votes to partially gut Nebraska’s “Competitive Livestock Markets Act” that has been the most effective state competition act in the nation.  Instead of bringing water to a fire that is burning down domestic livestock markets and rural communities, 34 Nebraska State Senators poured gasoline on a fire that will eventually chickenize hog production in our state.  We should never intentionally make a bad situation worse,” Hansen said.

 

NeFU praised State Senators Bloomfield, Bolz, Brasch, Chambers, Cook, Crawford, Davis, Groene, Haar, Hansen, Howard, McCoy, Morfeld, Schnoor, and Sullivan for standing with family farm agriculture and opposing LB176.  “They did the right thing for the right reasons.  They did an outstanding job of standing up for family farm agriculture.  We are also proud of the many farm, rural, environmental, labor, religious, and social justice organizations that helped us with this historic battle.  A friend in need is a friend indeed, and NeFU had many good organizational friends who helped spread the word to their members and help us.”

 

In conclusion Hansen praised his Nebraska Farmers Union members.  “Our members are smart, well-informed, and constructively engaged in the process.  They did their job as citizens are supposed to do.  Our members continue to be the heart and soul of rural communities and our organization.  They set our policy that supports family farm agriculture, and healthy functioning agricultural markets and the opportunities they provide, and then help get it implemented.  We came up short this time, but there will be a next time.

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NeFU Asks State Senators to Return Smithfield PAC Donations, Declare Conflict of Interest, or Not Vote on LB176

For Immediate Release                                                               

Contact:  John Hansen 402-476-8815

john@nebraskafarmersunion.org

 

Nebraska Farmers Union Asks State Senators to Return Smithfield PAC Donations, Declare Conflict of Interest, or Not Vote on LB176 

 

LINCOLN (January 20, 2016) – Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) released a copy of the letter they circulated to State Senators asking them to consider returning their Smithfield Foods, Inc. contributions to their campaigns, file a conflict of interest form, or to simply not vote on LB176 scheduled for debate tomorrow, Thursday, January 21st.

LB176 is the bill sponsored by Sen. Schilz that is being strongly lobbied by Mueller Robak who has a $5,000 per month contract beginning in January of 2015 to represent Smithfield Foods Inc. the nation’s largest hog producer and processor that would allow hog processors to directly own hogs in Nebraska.

The data Nebraska Farmers Union obtained from the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission revealed that 20 State Senators have received a total of $12,200 in recent political campaign contributions from Smithfield Foods, Inc. with all of the contributions coming in early January 2016 with the exception of one $1,000 contribution to Senator Ken Schilz in 2015.

Three State Senators have received $1,000 political campaign donations from Smithfield Foods, Inc.:  Sen. Ken Schilz in 2015 and Senators John Murante, Chairman of the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee and Jerry Johnson, Chairman of the Agriculture Committee in early January.

Four Senators received $750 each in political campaign donations from Smithfield Foods, Inc.: Senators Rick Kolowski, Tommy Garrett, Jim Scheer, and Dan Watermeier.

Twelve Senators received $500 each in political campaign donations from Smithfield Foods, Inc.:  Senators Nicole Fox, Curt Friesen, Tyson Larson, Mark Kolterman, Heath Mello, Joni Craighead, Dan Hughes, Patty Pansing Brooks, Laura Ebke, Brett Lindstrom, Adam Morfeld, and Burke Harr.

Senator John McCollister received a $200 political campaign contribution from Smithfield Foods, Inc.

NeFU President John Hansen said “Given the history of large amounts of corporate ag money being invested in political campaigns and high priced lobby firms, we are simply saying that in order to protect the public perception of the objectivity of the Legislature, we hope that many of the checks are returned.  If the checks are kept, we suggest that at a minimum, a conflict of interest filing should be considered.  Another simple option would be to vote “Present” but not cast a yes or no vote on LB176.  Our organization has been and continues to be a strong defender of our unique unicameral system of government and the hard working men and women that make the sacrifice to serve.  NeFU has also been a long-time supporter of transparency and clean government measures.”

Hansen noted that Smithfield’s Accountability and Disclosure filing was sought after several Senators had noted in recent meetings on LB176 that the proponents were getting good sized campaign contributions.  “$11,200 of campaign contributions to support corporate pork legislation in one month is not chicken feed,” he concluded.

Nebraska Farmers Union is a general farm organization with 5,671 farm and ranch family members dedicated to protecting and enhancing the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers, and their rural communities. Since 1913, Nebraska Farmers Union has helped organize over 445 cooperatives.

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NeFU Says Platte Institute Report Non-Solution to Non-Problem

For Immediate Release                                                        

Contact:  John Hansen 402-476-8815

john@nebraskafarmersunion.org

 

Nebraska Farmers Union Says Platte Institute Report on Public Power is a Non-Solution to a Non-Problem

 

LINCOLN (December 29, 2015) – Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) was not impressed with the quality of the research or the conclusions contained in the Platte Institute’s report on Nebraska’s unique Public Power system.

NeFU President John Hansen said “The last time the ideologically driven Platte Institute came out with a plan to supposedly help rural Nebraska they supported LB405 that repealed all individual and corporate income taxes and made up the lost revenue by adding new regressive sales taxes for health care users, energy users, and production agriculture while increasing property taxes.   Where was their concern about higher energy costs when they publicly supported LB405 that dramatically increased energy costs?”

Hansen pointed out that Nebraska’s unique public power system provides affordable and reliable electrical service to agricultural, residential, and industrial users.  He said “The idea that costs will go down and the overall quality of service to rural Nebraska will be somehow improved by for profit companies is ridiculous.  The reality is that for profit companies are not interested in incurring the operating costs of transmission and service to rural Nebraska when there are only 2.6 customers per mile for the system.  They forget that before public power was authorized, rural Nebraska was in the dark.”

“In the case of electrical service for irrigation, farmers understand that there are infrastructure costs to rural utilities for gearing up for an irrigated load that often comes at peak use times, is seasonal at best, and when it rains, is not needed at all.  We understand our public power service providers have to recover those systems costs in the rates for the power we do use.  Rural utilities do an excellent job of keeping the costs down by encouraging scheduling for irrigation at night when the loads are less and there is less water lost to evaporation.  It is a good team effort that works to everyone’s advantage,” Hansen said.

Hansen concluded “Public power provides Nebraskans with the important ability to own and control our own destiny by electing the boards of directors that private sector profit driven companies cannot provide. We own and control it.  If we perceive a problem, we can vote for someone different to represent us on the Board of Directors.  In our state, when our electrical costs go up, we know it is because the cost of providing services went up, not because of price gouging and profit taking.”

Nebraska Farmers Union is a general farm organization with 5,671 farm and ranch family members dedicated to protecting and enhancing the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers, and their rural communities.  Since 1913, Nebraska Farmers Union has helped organize over 445 cooperatives.

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Nebraska Farmers Union 102nd Annual Convention Agenda Announced

For Immediate Release

For more information, contact:  John Hansen

(402) 476-8815,  john@nebraskafarmersunion.org

 

Nebraska Farmers Union 102nd Annual Convention Agenda Announced

Midtown Holiday Inn, Grand Island, December 4-6th 

 

Lincoln, Nebraska.  “Old Values and New Visions for the 21st Century” is the theme for the 102nd annual Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) state convention.  John Hansen, NeFU President said, “In addition to our delegates and members electing our officers, selecting our delegates to the NFU Convention, and setting our policy, our state convention focuses on the issues, challenges, and opportunities facing us in the year ahead and in the future.”

Our Friday afternoon beginning farmer and farm succession workshop is open to the public, and is free.  We have some excellent panel discussions and state and national experts on property tax reforms, trade policy, national issues, state issues, Farm Bill Implementation, and soil building while also showcasing the efforts of our Farmers Union members on farm solar development and the status of the Keystone XL pipeline.  Education is at the base of the Farmers Union triangle because all successful efforts begin with good information.”

Friday morning highlights include:

  • Craig Larson, CEO of the Nebraska Rural Radio Association;
  • Jeff Downing, General Manager of the Midwest Agency, LLP;
  • Renee Fry, Executive Director of Open Sky and Revenue Committee member Senator Al Davis who will focus on:  “The Unsolved Property Tax Problem Continues”;
  • Senator Al Davis who provide a look at issues in play for the upcoming 2016 Legislative Session at the Friday noon luncheon;
  • Barbara Patterson, NFU Government Affairs Representative will provide a National Farmers Union issues report at the Friday noon luncheon;

Friday afternoon speakers include:

  • Joe Hawbaker and Dave Goeller who will present: “The Nebraska Beginning Farmer & Rancher Network: Farm Succession Series–A Workshop on Farm and Ranch Business Succession & Estate Planning”
  • Mike Kucera, USDA NRCS Agronomist will present:  “Resiliency Begins With Our Soils”

The Friday evening banquet keynote speaker will be NFU President Roger Johnson.

Saturday morning highlights will include:

  • “The NeFU Farm Solar Report” with four NeFU members actively engaged in farm solar projects;
  • “Is Our Trade Policy Working” panel discussion with NFU President Roger Johnson, NFU Government Affairs Representative Barbara Patterson, and NeFU President John Hansen;
  • A “Big Red Worms, LLC Project Report” from Jeremiah Picard and John Hansen;
  • Dan Steinkruger, Executive Director of the USDA Nebraska Farm Service Administration will report on the Farm Bill implementation and other program issues;
  • A panel discussion on the status of the Keystone XL pipeline with four impacted landowners;

The Noon Luncheon will feature “Farmers Union’s Leadership Role in a Renewable Future” with NFU President Roger Johnson and NeFU President John Hansen.

Registration costs are $35 and begin at 8:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday mornings.  Convention begins at 9:00 a.m. Friday and 8:30 a.m. Saturday.  As always, all members and the public is always welcome.  More information is available at:  www.nebraskafarmersunion.org or call (402) 476-8815.

 

 

Nebraska Farmers Union 102nd Annual State Convention

“Old Values and New Visions for the 21st Century”

December 4-5, 2015, Midtown Holiday Inn, Grand Island, Nebraska

For Reservations:  308-384-1330     $79 NeFU Convention Rate

 

Friday Morning, December 4, 2015

8:00     Registration begins….

9:00     Call to order:  Convention Convenes & Welcome

Previous Convention Minutes

9:10     NeFU Foundation Report & Elections– John Hansen, NeFU Foundation Secretary

Election of At-Large Member to NeFU Foundation-

9:20     NeFU Education Report

9:30     Nebraska Rural Radio Association Report

Tim Marshall, Station Manager, KRVN Radio

Craig Larson, General Manager, Nebraska Rural Radio Association

9:45     Refreshment Break Sponsored by:

Sponsored by:  Nebraska Rural Radio Association

KTIC-840 AM—West Point—KWPN—107.9 FM

KRVN-880 AM—Lexington—KRVN—93.1 FM

KNEB-960 AM—Scottsbluff—KNEB—94.1 FM

10:15   Farmers Union Insurances Report

Jeff Downing—General Manager Midwest Agency, LLP

Agency Report & Introduction of Agents

10:30   The Unsolved Property Tax Problem Continues

Renee Fry, Executive Director, Open Sky Institute

Senator Al Davis, Revenue Committee

11:30   NeFU Elections– Report by Elections Chair, Larry Knuth

Introduction of Candidates for NeFU Delegates to NFU Convention

March 5-8, Bloomington, Minnesota

Districts 2, 4, & 6 caucus for additional NeFU District Director Nominations

11:50   Recess

12:00   Noon Luncheon

A Preview of the 2016 Legislative Session

Senator Al Davis, LD43

NFU Government Relations Report

Barbara Patterson, NFU Government Affairs Representative

 

Friday Afternoon, December 4, 2015

1:30    Nebraska Beginning Farmer & Rancher Network: Farm Succession Series — A Workshop on Farm and Ranch Business Succession & Estate              Planning

Joe Hawbaker & Dave Goeller

3:30     NeFU Elections

Elect Top Four NFU Convention Delegates

Elect NeFU Board of Directors for Districts 2, 4 & 6 (2016-2017-2018)

Elect NeFU State President (2016-2017)

3:30     Refreshment Break Sponsored by: Farm Credit Services of America

4:00     NEBFARMPAC Report–Gale Lush, NEBFARMPAC President

4:15     Resiliency Begins With Our Soils

Mike Kucera, Agronomist, USDA NRCS

5:00     Elections – Elect NFU Convention Delegates & Alternates

Top Two Are Delegates — Bottom Two are Alternates

5:30     NEBFARMPAC Wine & Cheese Social

6:30     Convention Banquet & Celebration– John Hansen, Master of Ceremonies

President’s Award Winner–Dennis Buse, District 6 Director

President Obama’s Champions of Change Award Winner

Martin Kleinschmit, District 7 Director

NeFU Evening Banquet Speaker–NFU President Roger Johnson

Country Store Auction–David Mohlman

 

Saturday Morning, December 5, 2015

7:00     Builders Club Breakfast for Builders Club Members

8:30     Convention Reconvenes

8:30     The NeFU Farm Solar Report

Art Tanderup, District 7 President, Neligh

Martin Kleinschmit, District 7 Director, Hartington

Jim Knopik, Fullerton

Graham Christensen, Omaha

9:15     Is Our Trade Policy Working?

Roger Johnson, NFU President

Barbara Patterson, NFU Government Affairs Representative

John Hansen, NeFU President

10:00   Refreshment Break Sponsored by:  Growth Energy

10:30   Big Red Worms, LLC Project Report

John Hansen, NeFU President

Jeremiah Picard, NeFU Programs Director

11:00   Farm Service Administration Programs Report

Dan Steinkruger, Executive Director, Nebraska Farm Service Administration

11:20   Courageous Nebraska Landowners Stand their Ground

TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline on Hold for Now

Lynda Buoy, Bassett

Art Tanderup, Neligh

Susan Straka Heyden

Susan and Bill Donivan

11:45   Adjourn for lunch & Hotel Checkout

12:00   Noon Luncheon

Farmers Union’s Leadership Role in a Renewable Future

Roger Johnson, NFU President

John Hansen, NeFU President

 

Saturday Afternoon, December 5, 2015

1:30     NeFU Financials-John Hansen, NeFU President

1:40     Policy Consideration & Adoption Until Completed

Vern Jantzen NeFU Policy Chair

President Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline

For Immediate Release                                                        

Contact:  John Hansen 402-476-8815

 

Nebraska Farmers Union Hails President Obama’s Rejection of Keystone XL Pipeline as A Big Win for Landowners, Environment, Climate, and Due Process

LINCOLN, NE. – Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) President John Hansen issued the following statement relative to President Obama’s formal rejection of TransCanada’s application for the Keystone XL pipeline:

“President Obama’s formal rejection today is a major victory for landowners in the path of the pipeline, our soil and water resources, our efforts to constructively slow the rate of climate change, and for the rule of law and due process. For our landowners and our organization, this has been a long seven years of struggle, worry, frustration, work, and financial expense.  We salute the tenacity and courage of our members and landowners who have stuck up for their rights, due process, and the interests of their land and generations to come.  We are going to have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.”

“While NeFU is proud of our members and our organization’s role in standing up for the rights of Nebraska landowners, we have many local, state, and national organizational partners to thank as well as the outstanding legal representation of Dave Domina and his law firm.  This victory belongs to everyone who took a stand and became constructively involved in the process.”

“President Obama made the right decision for the right reasons.  At the end of the day, it was simply not in our nation’s economic and strategic overall interests to help a foreign company put our soil, water, and landowners at risk in order to help foreign investors mine and move the dirtiest and most carbon intensive oil on the planet to southern Texas so it could be exported.  We also applaud the many State Senators and members of Congress who championed our position.  With their help, people won a major and strategic victory of corporate power and big money.”

“Today we will pause to savor this major win.  Tomorrow we will continue to champion the interests of true energy independence by continuing our efforts to develop and use more homegrown renewable energy that reduces carbon emissions,” Hansen concluded.

Nebraska Farmers Union is a general farm organization with 5,671 farm and ranch family members dedicated to protecting and enhancing the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers, and their rural communities.  Since 1913, Nebraska Farmers Union has helped organize over 445 cooperatives.

Two White House Champions of Change for “Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agriculture” from Nebraska

For Immediate Release                                                        

Contact:  John Hansen 402-476-8815

 

Nebraska Farmers Union Recognizes Two White House Champions of Change for “Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agriculture” from Nebraska

 

LINCOLN, NE. – Today, Monday 26, 2015, the White House recognized 12 individuals from across the country as White House Champions of Change for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agriculture.  Two individuals come from Nebraska: Keith Berns of Bladen and Martin Kleinschmit of Hartington.

Nebraska Farmers Union President John Hansen said “Nebraska Farmers Union complements both award recipients for their outstanding innovation and vision in their efforts to better protect our soil and water resources for future generations.  In both cases, the new way of doing things that raised eyebrows in the beginning are now becoming more widely accepted practices.  They are truly sustainable pioneers.”

“Martin Kleinschmit has been a leader for many years in soil and water conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy development, including wind and solar systems, organic farming, intensive grazing, and soil building activities including carbon sequestration.  He has also been a mentor to many beginning farmers.  He is a respected leader in his area and for Nebraska Farmers Union,” said Hansen.

“Keith Berns and his brother have helped grow the use of cover crops, which reduces soil erosion and improves soil health.  Thanks to their efforts, they are helping leave the soil we all depend on better for future generations,” Hansen continued.

Hansen said “In both cases, these Champions of Change for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agriculture are bringing positive, forward looking changes that help agriculture deal with the growing impact of climate change.  The sooner more positive incremental changes can be made in management and cultural practices, the more agriculture can improve the resiliency of our soils that are essential for agriculture to adjust to higher intensity rains, and rains that come less often. When we increase the water holding capacity of soils, we increase the ability of our soils to absorb more of the big gulley washer rains, and also hold more water in the soil profile longer when we have longer gaps between rains.”

“The sustainable practices these award winners have pioneered are the kinds of agricultural practices that should be included in a state climate change plan.  The recent Nebraska Rural Poll indicated that 61% of rural residents supported the development of a state climate plan.  Since production agriculture is going to be ground zero for climate change, the time to plan for the future is now.   For example, agriculture and agroforestry can also play a major role to mitigate excessive carbon in the atmosphere by sequestering carbon from the air into our soils.  The data shows agriculture and agroforestry have huge potential roles to play to slow the rate of negative climate changes,” Hansen concluded.

Nebraska Farmers Union is a general farm organization with 5,671 farm and ranch family members dedicated to protecting and enhancing the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers, and their rural communities.  Since 1913, Nebraska Farmers Union has helped organize over 445 cooperatives.

 

NeFU Strongly Opposes TPP

For Immediate Release                                                        

Contact:  John Hansen 402-476-8815

 

 

Nebraska Farmers Union Strongly Opposes Proposed Flawed TPP Over Failure to Address Currency Manipulation

 

Lincoln, NE:  John Hansen, President of Nebraska Farmers Union, a former USTR trade advisor for 14 years under Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama issued the following statement on behalf of his organization:

 

“The recently finalized Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will perform in a manner consistent with the other cookie cutter agreements the U.S. has agreed to since Congress approved NAFTA in 1993.  Instead of remedying the structural shortfalls in past agreements relative to currency manipulation, TPP amplifies those weaknesses.”

 

“Unlike when NAFTA was considered, Congress has twenty years of data to use to evaluate the U.S. trade policy performance.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Division, since 1994, our nation has averaged an annual balance of trade deficit of $428.69 billion while digging a $9 trillion balance of trade cumulative deficit by ignoring the real world impacts of currency manipulation and the disparities caused by VATs (Value Added Taxes).  The 2014  U.S. trade deficit was $504.7 billion, which represents 3% of our nation’s GNP.  If we had balanced trade, our economy would be growing at twice the rate it is currently.  Not once since 1994 has the U.S. balance of trade been close to breaking even.  How bad does it have to get before Congress stops digging the trade deficit hole our country is in deeper?”

 

“We know what the problem is, yet USTR has failed to come to grips with the widely understood problem of currency manipulation.  The TPP is structurally similar to NAFTA, and will produce similar damage to our U.S. manufacturing, labor, and agricultural sectors.  Our nation can no longer afford to turn a blind eye to currency manipulation.  The USTR will not deal with currency manipulation as long as Congress continues to rubber stamp trade agreements that fail to deal with currency manipulation.  As a result, in the strategic economic interests of our nation, it should be rejected.”

 

“Agricultural interests will not be well served with this agreement.  Like all previous agreements, TPP dangles the prospect and promise of new markets is used to get everyone’s hopes up to secure ag based support, yet when the trade data comes in, food and ag imports increase at a faster rate than food and ag exports. As in most ventures, past experience is the best guide to future performance.”

 

Nebraska Farmers Union is a general farm organization with 5,671 farm and ranch family members dedicated to protecting and enhancing the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers, and their rural communities.  Since 1913, Nebraska Farmers Union has helped organize over 445 cooperatives.

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Rep. Jeff Fortenberry Receives Golden Triangle Award From NFU

For Immediate Release                                              

Contact:  John Hansen 402-580-8815

 

Representative Jeff Fortenberry Receives Golden Triangle Award From Farmers Union

 

LINCOLN (September 21, 2015) – Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) presented Representative Jeff Fortenberry with the Golden Triangle Award, the National Farmers Union’s (NFU) highest legislative honor.  The award was presented last week as a part of the annual NFU fall Fly-In that brought 275 Farmers Union members from across the country to Washington, DC to share their view and concerns with their elected officials.

Six Nebraskans participated in the NFU Fly-In and meetings with members of Congress and their staffs.  In addition to Hansen, Nebraska participants included Lynda Buoy of Bassett, Carol Schooley of Grand Island, Jeff Downing of Elkhorn, Kevin Herrold of Grand Island, and Mike Sarchet of Minatare.

The Golden Triangle is an annual award presented to members of Congress who have demonstrated leadership and support policies that benefit America’s family farmers, ranchers, fishermen and rural communities.

“Recipients of the Golden Triangle Award have been strong advocates for family farmers and ranchers, and support similar principles and policies as Farmers Union,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “We are pleased to honor those who have proven to be true allies of our organization and family agriculture.”

This year’s Golden Triangle recipients were selected for their leadership on a variety of issues, including votes on Country of Origin Labeling and the RFS.  Representative Fortenberry’s award was presented by NeFU President John Hansen and his team at the end of their Fly-In meeting.

“Representative Fortenberry continues to be a leader on renewable energy, conservation, rural development, and family farm and ranch issues,” said NeFU President John Hansen.  “He does his homework, understands the issues, and is a respected and thoughtful advocate of family farm and ranch agriculture.  We particularly appreciate his “open door” approach to working with everyone in the rural community.”

Nebraska Farmers Union is a general farm organization with 5,671 farm and ranch family members dedicated to protecting and enhancing the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers, and their rural communities.  Since 1913, Nebraska Farmers Union has helped organize over 445 cooperatives.

NeFU Sponsors Renewable Energy Forum

For Immediate Release                                       Contact: John Hansen 402-476-8815

 

LINCOLN (September 2, 2015) – Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) President John Hansen announced that his organization is sponsoring a free public renewable energy forum at the Lifelong Learning Center, 701 Benjamin Avenue, Norfolk starting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 10th.  The forum will focus on the importance and potential of farm based renewable energy, including wind and solar from farm to commercial scale use.  He encourages the public to attend.

Neligh area farmer Art Tanderup and his solar installer Martin Kleinschmit of Hartington will discuss the process and financing used to install a solar electric generation system at Art’s farm.  Solar energy is increasingly being used by farmers and small businesses, and in communities around the state.

Lyle Kathol, Dean of the Applied Technology Division of Northeast Community College will discuss the state’s only Wind Energy Technology Associate of Applied Science degree program that his school sponsors for wind technicians needed to operate the growing number of wind farms in northeast Nebraska.

By the end of 2016, 72% the state’s wind energy generation capacity will be located in northeast Nebraska with 952 MW’s of the state’s 1,316 MW’s in the area served by Northeast Community College in Norfolk.  Renewable energy is the fastest growing source of new tax base, farm income, and local jobs in rural northeast Nebraska.  Those 545 area wind turbines need technicians to service them.

Rev. Kim Morrow, Executive Director of Nebraska Interfaith Power and Light will discuss the importance of renewable energy as part of the religious community’s moral response to the growing challenges posed by climate change.

John Atkeison, a long time analyst, researcher, and writer on renewable energy, climate change, and wildlife issues will present the findings of the University of Nebraska’s report “Understanding and Assessing Climate Change: Implications for Nebraska”.  The report was prepared for the Legislature as a result of LB583 passed in 2013 sponsored by Sen. Ken Haar and signed by Governor Heineman.

John Hansen, NeFU President and Co-Chair of the Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference will provide an update on the status of wind development in Nebraska, pending renewable energy legislation in the Legislature, and topics to be covered in the upcoming 2015 Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference to be held in Omaha November 4-5th.  Hansen will also highlight the enormous economic opportunities renewable energy offers rural communities struggling to diversify and grow their tax bases, increase farm incomes, and create new good paying jobs that help rural kids stay in the rural communities they love.