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National Farmers - About Us


In keeping with the Bylaws of the National Farmers Organization, these resolutions and statements of position constitute an ongoing expression of the will of the members, as reviewed and modified or reconfirmed in the most recent National Convention.


Preamble

The National Farmers Organization is committed to the collective bargaining concept authorized for farmers and ranchers by the Capper-Volstead Act of 1922. The American family farm or ranch is the most efficient food producing unit in the world. It is a basic source of support for our social, religious and political traditions in the rural communities throughout our country. We call upon all farmers and ranchers to join in the advancement of our bargaining program as an honorable action in pursuit of an acceptable farm economy.

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National Farmers Organization 2018 Recommendations For the 2018 Farm Bill


National Farmers Organization believes that Farm Legislation should provide an adequate safety net in times of natural disaster or severe market volatility.

The National Farmers Organization further urges Congress not to use the “Pay As You Go Act of 2010” to reduce or eliminate funding of agricultural programs in the next Farm Bill.

Members of the National Farmers Organization believe Americans deserve more transparency from Congress as it moves forward with legislation. As a democracy, citizens deserve adequate time to review proposals and make comments on legislation that affects their daily lives.

Grain Policy

Price support levels for major storable commodities should be based at 85% of the cost of production. We would urge that the USDA loan rates be set at $4.00 per bushel on corn, $6.00 per bushel on wheat, and $9.00 per bushel on soybeans.

For national security purposes, National Farmers Organization supports re-enactment of a farmer-owned grain reserve program with the following provisions: The reserve should be isolated from the market, it is the supply of last resort; and, reserves should be released only at 120% of the above proposed loan rates.

As a method of protecting Farm income and controlling the supply of grain National Farmers Organization supports the Soil Health and Income Protection Program (SHIPP) as proposed by U.S. Senator John Thune.

Crop Insurance

National Farmers Organization supports current funding levels for this program. Because of its effectiveness in protecting farm incomes and its importance in securing operating loans, affordable crop insurance should remain an important part of agricultural policy.

We recognize that more and more organic producers are relying on crop insurance protection. We support the concept that premium rates be commensurate with the payments available for losses incurred.

Conservation Reserve Program

National Farmers Organization strongly supports the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). However, to be effective and fair, it must be fully funded with mandatory funds to enable the program to make competitive payments for the land enrolled in the program.

CRP should be operated in a manner that assures participation up to the maximum acreage allowed by law on highly erodible and other environmentally sensitive land and early-outs should be strongly discouraged. Sod-busting of native grassland should be ineligible for soil conservation cost programs.

The National Farmers Organization supports the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) as an important component of the upcoming farm bill to receive sufficient and major funding to support stewardship and conservation farming practices on working farmland.

Dairy Policy

National Farmers Organization continues to support the following concepts in future dairy policy.

1) Implementation of a growth management program that uses price as an incentive to manage production (a form of two-tier pricing).

2) Eliminate end product pricing as a base price for milk.

3) Eliminate make allowances in the Federal Orders.

4) Establish a broadly based competitive price system as the base price for milk, rather than just a few select plants that meet a certain criteria such as size of plant or product manufactured.

5) As a method of balancing supply with domestic usage, National Farmers Organization supports the current CWT export assistance program and urges its continuation in the future.

National Farmers Organization supports other legislative actions.

Reinstate Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL). Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) must be included in all trade agreements so U.S. producers can compete against the growing tide of undifferentiated products imported into their domestic market.

1) Full implementation of the Grain Inspection Packers Stockyard Act (GIPSA) rules and mandatory funding.

2) Supports the elimination of packer ownership of livestock production operations, which would help restore competition to the livestock industry.

3) Trade agreements must adequately address labor and environmental issues, country-of-origin labeling, dispute resolution, currency fluctuations, proper reporting of agriculture import and export data, and food safety standards

4) National Farmers Organization recommends eliminating the Trade Embargo with Cuba.

5) Whereas grain imports proven to be fraudulent have flooded the U.S. organic grain markets depressing prices to U.S. producers, and whereas organic imports have originated from countries where organic fraud has been cited by both USDA and the European Union, National Farmers Organization goes on record as requesting a full investigation by the respective Senate and House Agriculture committees of lax oversight as cited by the USDA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) report of September 2017 and USDA take the actions it agreed to in the OIG’s findings to protect U.S. farmers from potentially fraudulent imports.

6) Whereas many National Farmers producers of organic grain, dairy and livestock depend on the integrity of the organic products they produce for the prices they receive, National Farmers Organization goes on record as supporting USDA maintaining strict enforcement of organic standards as set out in the Organic Food Production Act including feed standards for livestock and poultry.

National Farmers Organization opposes the practice of the current administration of installing former industry advocates into regulatory roles, putting them in charge of rules they advocated for on behalf of their previous employers.

Commodity Futures Trading

1) National Farmers Organization supports legislation that will add transparency to futures markets and close the door to excessive speculation by tightening key investment laws and clarifying the oversight mission of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

2) National Farmers Organization along with the Organic Farmers Agency for Relationship Marketing is opposed to attempts to allow commodity futures trading in organic commodities, especially due to lack of regulation. Futures trading would expose the organic markets and producers to the potential for price volatility, speculation and manipulation.

Energy

It is of vital importance to our country that we develop a long-range energy policy.

There must be a proper balance of energy sources. A mix of alternative fuels should include grain alcohol, biomass, solar, wind turbines and the tides to relieve our high dependency on imported petroleum products. We strongly support import fees on imported oil and bio fuels, the income to be earmarked for development of alternative fuels in the United States.

National Farmers Organization opposes the exporting of domestic crude oil.

National Farmers Organization opposes any changes to the Renewable Fuels Act (RFA).

Taxation: Estate and Income

Members of the National Farmers Organization, in anticipation of possible modifications of the Tax Code by Congress during 2018, request that the effect of any and all changes on the strength of one of our most basic industries – American family farms – be thoughtfully contemplated before any such changes are enacted.

On December 22, 2017 Public law no. 115-97 (commonly, although not officially, referred to as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act) was signed into law by President Trump. We, the members of the National Farmers Organization, realize this tax legislation is the most complex U.S. tax law change since 1986. As such, it will take some time before all of the ramifications of this tax bill will be apparent and the position of the National Farmers Organization on many of these details will therefore develop in the future.

The National Farmers Organization commends Congress’s increase of the combined Estate and Gift Tax exemption to $11.2 million while maintaining the stepped up basis for inherited property. This stepped up basis benefits many producers including those many families with estates that are lower than the exemption amount, contributing to the ability to keep these farms within the family through generations.

We, the members of the National Farmers Organization, are aware that the Act as passed leaves references to paragraphs that were left unwritten or unintentionally unchanged from old law, resulting in confusion and conflicting or unintended results. As taxpayers, we need immediate answers and guidance to make prudent business operating decisions.

The National Farmers Organization therefore resolves that Congress should quickly pursue and pass a 2018 Technical Corrections Act to enable taxpayers to understand, interpret and implement fully the provisions of PL No. 115-97.

National Farmers Organization recognizes that one major example of the unintended consequences which must be resolved in 2018 by Technical Corrections legislation includes Sec 199A(a)(1) which, as written, apparently gives a much larger pass-through deduction for farmers selling through cooperatives over those selling their production elsewhere. National Farmers Organization agrees with USDA Undersecretary for Marketing Greg Ibach’s statement that the “unintended consequences of the current tax code language disadvantage independent operators in the same industry. The Federal Tax Code should not pick winners and losers in the marketplace”. We strongly agree that Congress should act quickly to eliminate this inequity in the new Tax Act.

Highway and Transportation

National Farmers Organization strongly supports efforts to update and repair our roads, bridges, rail and shipping.

Rail

National Farmers Organization urges US Congress to require railroads to provide and maintain adequate and affordable transportation for the movement of agricultural commodities.

Rivers—Locks—Canals and Levees

National Farmers Organization strongly urges the US Congress to support full mandatory funding for the Army Corps of Engineers backlog of water infrastructure projects, including much needed repairs to our dams, levees, and locks. We also ask for funding for current and future projects to ensure our water supply and flood control.

Ports

National Farmers Organization encourages the government to immediately embark on a program to rebuild the port system of the United States to meet today’s needs. We believe that this should be accomplished by using tax and investment incentives from private investors as well as public monies.

Food Labeling

National Farmers Organization

1) Believes it is important for consumers to know when and how their food is grown and processed. Food should be labeled as to its country of origin and also whether it contains GMO products.

2) Opposes any action by the United States Department of Agriculture to change standards for food and feed products that would be detrimental to farmers, and supports raising the quality standards for all imports to the same high levels as American agriculture. All imported food products must be labeled as to country of origin.

3) Supports the efforts of all its departments to develop the market for NON GMO products. We encourage our members to look for and purchase products bearing the label “Always Family Farms”.

Food and Drug Administration Process

The Food and Drug Administration needs to be funded at a level that will allow it to truly function as a regulatory agency.

It is not reassuring to consumers to have people in charge at the FDA approve their own research. The revolving door policy from the corporate world to the FDA, and back to the same corporation whose product was just approved, must end.

Check-Off

National Farmers Organization supports opportunities for the organic community to exempt itself from payments to conventional commodity check-off orders.

National Farmers Organization is opposed to efforts by the NCBA to double the mandatory Beef check-off. National Farmers Organization is opposed to efforts by NCBA state affiliates to add or to increase check-offs at the state level.

Capper-Volstead Act

National Farmers Organization opposes any action which might otherwise alter the provisions of the Capper-Volstead Act of 1922, which may threaten the rights of producers to act in association for their mutual benefit in marketing and bargaining initiatives.

[End of National Farmers Organization 2018 recommendations for Federal Farm Policy]

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Bargaining

A) Agriculture is the largest industry in the nation. The production of all raw food and fiber logically constitutes the base upon which other agricultural sectors are dependent. Because weather, wars, and other factors beyond the producers’ control directly affect prices and availability of markets, the capability to bargain for fair prices is of vital importance.

B) This commitment to producer bargaining presumes competition among both buyers and sellers in the marketplace and freedom to act without undue interference by any government agency. National Farmers Organization continues its steadfast opposition to legislation that would authorize additional federal supervision of bargaining. The Organization supports federal bargaining legislation that has the potential to improve and enhance the market position of contract growers.

C) The National Farmers Organization continues to support the concept of Marketing Agencies in Common by legally organized cooperatives and farmer associations to increase their collective bargaining power on behalf of their farmer members.

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Grain

National Farmers Organization

A) Supports the continuation of exemption from OSHA grain bin regulations if the farm employs fewer than 10 people and does not provide housing for temporary workers.

B) Supports the continuation of a low interest loan program by the USDA expressly for the purpose of construction of on-farm grain storage facilities.

C) Supports efforts to make firms creating biotech products accountable to all grain producers for damaging U.S. grain exports through the release of seed unapproved in world markets, and the farmers’ consequent lost revenue from grain sales. Supports the “Know Before You Grow” program being endorsed by other organizations to ask farmers to make sure they are only planting seed varieties that are approved by the European Union and other countries to help protect our export market from losses due to co-mingling of unapproved products.

D) Supports an effort to promote transparency and fair action in the grain and livestock markets by causing legislation to amend Section 8 of the Commodity Exchange Act, whereby the CFTC would disclose the position of large traders, as defined by the CFTC, in futures markets.

E) Supports federal grain inspection and opposes privatization of such grain inspection.

F) National Farmers Organization believes that the methodology used by the USDA to obtain Crop Reports should be revised to accurately report actual bushels available to the market or for feed use, or should be postponed until that report can better be attained.

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Dairy

The National Farmers Organization members interpret current efforts of Congress as not effective in adequately raising prices paid to producers. The Organization has consistently undertaken to work within the federal milk marketing order system.

More specifically, the National Farmers Organization

A) Urges USDA to establish a $20.00 hundredweight (cwt.) floor in the Class III price.

B) Urges that in order to best represent the views of constituents, all promotional board members are to be elected by dairy farmers, not appointed by government.

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Livestock

The National Farmers Organization supports the following concepts:

A) Labeling of all imported meats showing country of origin and entry date.

B) Mandatory price reporting of all livestock sales, boxed beef, pork and lamb.

C) Legislation and regulatory action to reimburse farmers and ranchers for livestock lost to nondomestic predators, especially in areas where such predators are deliberately introduced.

D) Legislation that would indemnify contract growers in the cases where a disease or natural disaster causes them the loss of income.

E) Opposes the importation of livestock and meat from any country which does not prohibit animal protein in animal feedstuffs and does not have, and enforce, an animal and feed inspection and testing system certified as equivalent to that of the United States.

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Concentration Issues, Anti-Trust and Packers and Stockyards Act Enforcement

The National Farmers Organization supports:

A) Requiring all large confinement entities to be bonded and financially responsible for any environmental damage and subsequent clean-up.

B) Stronger investigation by the appropriate U.S. government agency(ies) of possible violations of Sherman Anti-Trust Laws regarding agri-business corporate mergers.

C) Enforcement of provisions and regulatory authority of USDA under the Packers and Stockyards Act should be extended for segments of the livestock industry, such as poultry, to be brought up to standards currently in the Act for beef, swine and sheep.

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Check-offs

National Farmers Organization urges that:

A) Check-offs be authorized only by a referendum of producers affected before implementation of the check-off and that enabling legislation on all check-off programs be changed to mandate a producer referendum to be held every five years or less on the continuation of the program.

B) Block voting be eliminated on all matters relating to activities covered under the Capper- Volstead Act, governmental referendums, and agricultural promotion plans to give producers an opportunity to vote individually.

C) Commodity check-off should be assessed only once, at the time product is sold for processing. Commodity check-off programs should provide for a simple refund arrangement when applicable.

D) Check-offs must apply equitably to the imported commodities.

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International Trade

National Farmers Organization supports efforts by organizations, including Ranchers-Cattlemen Legal Action Foundation (R-CALF), to have U.S. trade regulations enforced to the intent of the U.S. Congress and to make sure that trade relief laws are implemented promptly when U.S. agriculture is threatened. The International Trade Commission, USDA, other appropriate agencies and Congress should take immediate action to protect U.S. agricultural producers from undue harm from dumping actions by other nations.

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Credit

FSA programs should furnish funds for the smaller borrowers and beginning family farmers as contemplated in the original authorization for the program.

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Rural America and Communities

A) Rural communities are entitled to communication technology access such as the Internet and other new and emerging technologies at reasonable cost.

B) National Farmers Organization encourages farmers, rural people and businesses to support the Institute for Rural America, created to bring attention to the mutual importance and interdependence of farmers, rural people, businesses, schools, churches and communities.

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Conservation, Environment and Technology

Programs such as USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) and other agency programs should be targeted specifically to benefit independent farm operators and should be adequately funded.

The recent vote by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission which ends the classification which provided Net Neutrality:

This reversal of policy removed Internet Service Providers from the “common carriers” classification, thus exempting them from the requirement as common carriers to provide equal access to all consumers and all businesses.

The National Farmers Organization believes this action can result in reduced access and/or lack of affordable access to rural farms, businesses and residents. This would have a negative effect on rural Americans due to prohibitive costs, thus reversing the prior “level playing field” of the internet under the previous FCC policy.

Therefore the National Farmers Organization urges the U.S. Senate and House of Representative to enact legislation to reverse the recent Federal Communications Commission vote by reinstating internet service providers (ISPs) as common carriers, thru reinstating Net Neutrality. The National Farmers Organization also advocates caution, however, in the following areas, and

A) Opposes addition of large tracts to the national wilderness without due consideration of the interest of adjoining landowners who are dependent upon grazing rights.

B) Proposes that federal or state established wetlands that contain public drainage should be managed in such a way as to maintain the public drainage and protect the rights of land owner to public drainage.

C) Supports the elected Farm Service Agency county committee system of administration and believes this is a proper local point at which all price support and conservation activities should be coordinated.

D) Supports those producers currently enrolled in the CRP (10-year) program. As these contracts mature, producers should be given the option to renew those contracts for a similar 10- year period. The payment should reflect the increase in taxes on the acreage from the time of initial sign-up, or allow the producer to re-bid.

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Land Ownership

National Farmers Organization supports:

A) State and Federal legislation prohibiting the investment of pension funds in farmland or livestock production.

B) Legislation designed to obtain comprehensive data on absentee, corporate and foreign ownership.

C) Members of the National Farmers Organization are deeply concerned that the tax code, coupled with the concentration of capital, are unfairly favorable to investors who are in a position to buy our farmland. National Farmers Organization favors the elimination of the Section 1031 tax exchange for non-farmers, but retention for active farmers.

D) Urges the states’ legislatures to grant counties local control in siting of animal confinement.

E) Index exemption levels that reflect increases in asset values due to inflation.

F) Simplify the rules and requirements that must be met to be eligible for the full level of estate tax exemption.

G) Increase the annual limit on individual gifts to $25,000.

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Food Quality and Consumer Issues

The National Farmers Organization supports accurate labeling of all meat products with added water.

The National Farmers Organization has deep concern that use of synthetic Bovine Growth Hormone/Bovine Somatotropin (rBGH/BsT) or similar agents may induce an unneeded surge in production and reduce consumer confidence in milk quality. We will continue to oppose its use.

Be it resolved that the National Farmers Organization opposes the practice of putting industrial toxic waste in commercial fertilizers or in any other products which are intended to be applied to farm land, lawns, and/or gardens.

The National Farmers Organization goes on record requesting the Congress to retain the school lunch program at a high nutritional level and to make available additional dairy products for our armed forces.

The National Farmers Organization supports federal legislation requiring all imported food be inspected and required to meet FDA and USDA consumer food standards.

The National Farmers Organization recognizes the usage of pesticides, herbicides and food additives but these products should not be utilized until proven safe and accurately labeled.

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Transportation

Farm producers’ interests are best served by truly competitive, balanced transportation networks, including efficient use of railroad, truck and barge systems.

National Farmers Organization calls for uniform maximum gross vehicle weights in all states. In addition to an 80,000 pound GVW maximum, a standard maximum length should be adopted for all states.

The National Farmers Organization strongly objects to any attempt by Congress to grant eminent domain power to private firms for any purpose that would divert critical water from our farms, ranches and waterway navigation because:

A) Water supplies are essential for irrigation and livestock production.

B) National policy should balance the needs of all users of navigable rivers.

C) Power interests seek federal eminent domain powers to move coal through pipelines from mines in the West to utilities in the South and Southeast.

D) Proposed legislation would bar state legislatures and courts from protecting the water rights of farmers and ranchers and other traditional users.

E) National Farmers Organization opposes utilizing eminent domain power being afforded to any entity without adequate compensation for both landowners and tenants.

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Rural Utilities

A) The National Farmers Organization supports annual Rural Utility Service (RUS, formerly REA) electric and telephone loan levels for both the new insured and guaranteed loan programs that adequately meet the capital needs of rural electric and telephone systems in order to insure dependable electric and telephone service in rural areas at reasonable cost.

B) The National Farmers Organization supports federal financing for research, development and expansion of broadband communication technology over electric transmission lines as well as any other realistic technology for broadband services to rural areas.

C) National Farmers Organization also reaffirms its support for supplemental financing through the rural electrics’ self-help lending institutions, the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation and the Rural Telephone Bank.

D) National Farmers Organization supports limiting the role of the Federal Government and keeping control of the electrical power generation and distribution and the process of deregulation in the hands of the states.

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Energy

A) National Farmers Organization supports the creation and maintenance of hydro-electric plants where feasible and practical.

B) National Farmers Organization strongly supports the concept of energy independence for the United States along with the plan to produce as much energy as possible from renewable products raised on farms and ranches. However, this plan must not be based on a program in which the grain or other farm-produced commodities are made available at a price which does not cover the cost of production.

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Public Relations and Political Activity

The National Farmers Organization encourages objective analysis and teaching of the values of Collective Bargaining and pricing in our educational institutions.

A hand of cooperation is extended to Dairy Cooperatives, the National Farmers Union, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Grange, the American Agriculture Movement, National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC), Rural Cattlemen’s Action Legal Fund (R-CALF), Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM), Green Ribbon Campaign and other farm producer organizations when their goals and proposals are compatible with ours.

National Farmers Organization leaders at the state and Local Membership Unit (LMU) levels are urged to establish specific programs for the members to exchange views periodically with members of Congress on issues of vital importance to the membership of this organization as required in the By-Laws “to work for the election of candidates regardless of party affiliation” (National Farmers Organization By-Laws Art. II Section 3) and “the state organization may assist LMUs…the viewpoints of candidates running for political offices may be distributed to the membership in order that they may make an intelligent decision” (National Farmers Organization By-Laws Art. V, Section 3A (2).

National Farmers Organization encourages contacting our representatives to ask them to support legislative action for a single payer plan for health insurance for the American people similar to Medicare.

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Miscellaneous

The National Farmers Organization seeks redirection in tax provisions and the credit agencies to assist young farmers to prosper in family farming and ranching.

The National Farmers Organization is opposed to:

A) Deregulation of natural gas prices.

The National Farmers Organization supports:

A) The principle of various Sunshine Laws and urges a periodic review of the semi-autonomous regulatory agencies and their rulings.

B) Efforts in establishing industrial hemp as an alternative cash crop.

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Appreciation

The Resolutions Committee compliments the staff on keeping members up-to-date on current issues of agricultural importance.


The National Farmers Organization members greatly appreciate the hospitality and kindness that the officials and citizens of Cincinnati, OH manifested on many occasions during our national convention. We appreciate the efforts made by news media who gave accurate and full accounts of our activities, deliberations and discussions.


The members of The National Farmers Organization in session in Cincinnati, OH do hereby commend, express our appreciation and say thank you to the officers of our organization, to the National Board, and to all personnel of our Organization who have worked so diligently to make the National Farmers Organization what it is today and for making this convention such an outstanding event.


National Farmers Organization
800.247.2110
PO Box 2508
Ames, IA 50010-2508