A four-day conference of the national Farmers Union is wrapping up today (Monday) in Denver, Colorado. Iowa Farmers Union President Chris Petersen says with a busy schedule there was little time for sightseeing. The title and theme of this year’s convention is “Fuels from the Farm — Our Nation’s Future,” and he says it’s all about renewable and sustainable sources of energy, keeping its ownership and control with farmers so it returns profits to the local economy. Petersen says the Farmers Union stands for family-farm agriculture and the ways to achieve profits and the quality of life in rural America.
Another concern on the agenda is the concentration of livestock being raised under contract with meatpacking firms. The group’s had studies done and believes there’s too much concentration. Petersen says “As in energy, we believe when farmers own the livestock, the land, the energy…we get a fair share of the pie.”
The Farmers Union calling for a one-year delay in implementing the 2007 federal Farm Bill that’s now under construction. Petersen says there’s too much uncertainty about the budget and ongoing World Trade Organization talks, and “a farm bill could be written that is far worse than the one we have today.” Other topics on the agenda were concerns about “pharma-crops” used to produce medicines that could spread unwanted genetically-modified material if not tightly supervised, and discussions about country-of-origin labeling for all meat or even all food products. The convention’s wrapping up today (Monday.)