Minnesota Farmers Union members adopted special orders, elected a new vice president and elected delegates to the National Farmers Union Convention at their 80th annual state convention, held Nov. 19-21 in Minneapolis.

According to a press release from MFU, the main purpose of the convention is to debate and pass the organization’s policy platform, which is developed by members at the grassroots level. Delegates debated policy surrounding climate resiliency, biofuels and funding for conservation projects.

They also passed five special orders of business:

  • Drought relief and climate resilience.

  • Local and regional processing.

  • Competitive markets.

  • Generational farm transition.

  • Affordable healthcare.

The special orders of business are the organization’s main legislative priorities for the upcoming year. They are a "timely message to policymakers about what Farmers Union members want them to act on in the near term," said the release.

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Members re-elected Gary Wertish of Renville as MFU president.

“It’s an honor to serve as president of Minnesota Farmers Union and I appreciate the trust the members have invested in me to guide the organization,” said Wertish. “I am eager to continue our progress on rebuilding the state’s meat processing infrastructure and excited to see what the next year brings for MFU’s new restaurant, Farmers Kitchen + Bar. With the special orders passed by MFU members at convention, we will have a busy year ahead informing lawmakers of the critical need to act on climate resilience, the importance of competitive markets and the urgency of addressing the state’s healthcare inequalities.”

Anne Schwagerl of Browns Valley was elected as vice president.

“It feels like a natural step forward to become vice president of Minnesota Farmers Union,” said Schwagerl. “I’m really excited to jump in with both feet and work for our members. I know from listening to the policy debate that our members are concerned about the big challenges facing agriculture: Farming in a changing climate, demanding fair prices for our products and protecting our democracy.”

Delegates were also elected to represent Minnesota Farmers Union at the National Farmers Union Convention, Feb. 27-March 1 in Denver. Delegates from across the nation will gather to debate National Farmers Union policy.

Delegates who will represent Minnesota: Andrew VanDerPol of Chippewa County, Luke Sanders of Swift County, Tim Velde of Yellow Medicine County, Jane Imker of Cottonwood County, Alan Perish of Todd County, Steve Koering of Crow Wing County, Denise Duncan of Wabasha County, Marcus Irrthum of Goodhue County, Melany Thomas of Clay County, and Sharon Pihlaja of Becker County.