WASHINGTON — Over 250 Farmers Union members including 20 from North Dakota traveled to Washington, D.C., to advocate for family farmers and ranchers Sept. 12-14.

North Dakota Farmers Union brought producers face to face with officials from USDA and other departments. In his introductory remarks to Farmers Union members, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said, “In many respects, National Farmers Union has been the architect and the designer of the work we are doing in this administration in terms of farm country and in terms of agriculture.”

NDFU also met with the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division to address lack of competition in agriculture.

“Competition in agriculture is critical. Too often, farmers and livestock producers have too few suppliers to buy from and too few buyers to sell to. Farmers and their families work incredibly hard and deserve to see the fruits of their labor and the American dream,” said Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division in an official press release. “Protecting competition and the rule of law in agricultural markets is core to the work of the Antitrust Division, and we will vigorously enforce the antitrust laws in this area.” 

NDFU members also took part in a congressional briefing that involved the House Agriculture Committee’s staff and leadership, and a meeting with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

NDFU members addressed rail rates, shipping concerns and labor issues with the Surface Transportation Board and met with Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer, and Rep. Kelly Armstrong to discuss ag concentration in the marketplace and biofuels.

A long tradition of NFU fly-ins, NDFU members also went office to office to meet with congressional members and staff to discuss issues in agriculture.