North Dakota Farmers Union members will urge Congress to focus on a new farm bill next week when they join hundreds of family farmers and ranchers on Capitol Hill for the National Farmers Union Legislative Fly-in, Sept. 11-13.

The current farm bill, written in 2018, is set to expire Sept. 30. While passage of a new farm bill by the end of September is unlikely, Farmers Union leaders say the timing of their lobbying effort couldn’t be more important. “The agriculture committees have yet to even produce a draft farm bill proposal. It’s really unfortunate, but it gives us a tremendous opportunity to frame the discussion and content of the next bill,” said NDFU President Mark Watne.

He said NDFU is advocating for a stronger farm safety net, new and improved permanent disaster programs, and farmer-friendly climate provisions in the new five-year bill. Farmers Union is also urging the enactment of a competition title to increase fairness in the marketplace and address corporate consolidation in food and ag markets.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will also be meeting with Farmers Union members. Additionally, the delegation will meet with agency representatives from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Department of Justice, and Federal Trade Commission.

“We need a strong farm bill that supports farmers, ranchers and consumers,” said Watne. “It is our best investment tool to maintain the abundant food supply we all enjoy in this country.”

Participants intend to visit all 535 congressional offices.