Summer is flying by, but don’t miss out on the opportunity to engage with Farmers Union in the next few months. We have a few chances coming up for members to advocate on rural issues and get to know their fellow Farmers Union members. If you’ve been wondering where you fit into this organization, check out these upcoming ways to engage!
Wisconsin Farmers Union Summer Conference
Over 100 Farmers Union members are expected to gather at our historic camp on beautiful Lake Wissota near Chippewa Falls on Thursday, August 15th for the annual Summer Conference. This is a great chance to network and learn more about the work Farmers Union is doing on behalf of family farmers and our rural towns.
With a theme of “American Agriculture: Where Are We Headed?”, our programming will look at conservation and consolidation as a pair of issues that are intersecting with potential to change the future landscape of farm country. The morning programming will highlight important watershed projects happening at the camp and around the state, including some truly inspiring farmer-led efforts. In the afternoon, we’re pleased to welcome Bill Baer as our featured guest speaker. Baer is the only individual to have led antitrust enforcement at both US antitrust enforcement agencies, serving as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice and as Director of the Bureau of Competition at the Federal Trade Commission. During his time as Assistant Attorney General, the Antitrust Division achieved unprecedented success in enforcement, bringing and winning more cases than at any point in its history. Come hear his perspectives on federal level efforts at addressing anti-trust issues and monopoly power in the agricultural sector.
Find more details at www.wisconsinfarmersunion.com/events. RSVP via that link or to 715-723-5561 by August 9th.
National Farmers Union Fly-In – scholarships available!
Are you eager to speak up about the issues impacting rural America? Join hundreds of other farmers in Washington, D.C. Sept. 8-11 for the National Farmers Union Fly-In. Scholarships are available for first-time attendees – the deadline has been extended to Friday, August 2nd! We’re especially encouraging dairy farmers to attend, as we’ll be organizing some opportunities to speak up about the dairy crisis via our work with Dairy Together. (Learn more at www.dairytogether.com)
Click here and scroll down to the fly-in scholarship info box to apply. Or learn more by contacting Kara O’Connor at 608-514-4541 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Farm Aid Concert
Underscoring the severe crisis in farm country, Farm Aid’s annual music and food festival is headed to the heart of dairy country on Saturday, Sept. 21, at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisconsin. Wisconsin Farmers Union is proud to be a supporting partner of the festival, and we’re planning to be actively involved in the Homegrown Village educational space.
Featuring family farmers, the good food they produce and inspiring music, Farm Aid 2019 will include performances by Farm Aid board members Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young and Dave Matthews with Tim Reynolds, as well as Bonnie Raitt, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Margo Price, Jamey Johnson, Tanya Tucker, Brothers Osborne, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Yola, and Particle Kid. Additional artists will be announced later this summer.
This year’s economic climate is similar to the one that sparked the first Farm Aid concert in 1985. Median farm income is expected to be -$1,449 in 2019, and while net farm income in 2019 is projected to be 8% higher than prior year levels, it will remain among the bottom 25% of all time. Farmer stress also is growing, with the risk of depression and suicide among people working in agriculture increasing as compared to the general population. Calls to Farm Aid’s farmer hotline have borne this out, with a 109% increase in calls in 2018.
For more than 30 years, Farm Aid, with the support of the artists who contribute their performances each year, has raised $57 million to support programs to help farmers, expand the reach of the Good Food Movement, take action to change the dominant system of industrial agriculture and promote food from family farms.
Tickets are now on sale at farmaid.org/festival. Make plans now to attend! WFU will keep members in the loop as our plans for the festival continue to develop.
Recognizing how dire things are on many family farms, WFU is proud to be raising awareness of these struggles and encouraging kindness by partnering with other state ag groups on the #FarmNeighborsCare campaign.
This effort encourages us all to be mindful of our rural neighbors. Pop by and check in on your farming friends. Maybe make them a meal or bake them some cookies. Let’s make the movement viral by sharing photos of these kind acts on social media with #FarmNeighborsCare. The campaign will also be sharing resources available to farmers who are struggling. Stay tuned and watch the WFU Facebook page for more details!
Farmers Union Camps
Don’t forget, we’re charging into the final leg of Farmers Union Camp season, with a few camp sessions available in August. Farmers Union Camps are a longstanding summer tradition, having been held at WFU Kamp Kenwood near Chippewa Falls since the 1950s. With a focus on cooperation, conservation and civic engagement, these camps are one-of-a-kind! These are open to ages 7 and up – or family camps, which are open to parents and grandparents, are set for July 26-27 or Aug. 2-3. Learn more at www.wisconsinfarmersunion.com/youth-camp.
Find us out and about!
Lastly, we have a handful of WFU pasture walks and Women Caring for the Land events happening through late fall. Wander out and meet some of the Farmers Union members in your neck of the woods! Find all of the latest event details at www.wisconsinfarmersunion.com/events.