It is that time of year when we, as farmers, “reap the benefits” of our hard work. The harvest season is the time to see if our efforts will be rewarded, barring weather conditions that are out of our control. For NDFU, it is our year-end when we evaluate our successes and challenges in preparation for next year.

Most commodity production efforts have been successful. What we are missing is a market that reflects our cost of production and has equitable price discovery to reflect the value of food. This continues to challenge the ability of farmers and ranchers to remain financially sound.

NDFU measures our success based on positive influence, effective programs to aid farm and ranch income, membership participation, value-added business profits, successful youth education programs, and so on. All of these efforts are part of achieving our mission and goals.

As you can imagine, COVID-19 has had an impact on many of our programs that require in-person participation.

With our year-end Sept. 30, we will continue to work toward our goals through the calendar year and into 2021, planning as if COVID-19 is controlled and subsiding. We know that will be a challenge and we will adjust if necessary.

As members, you have some responsibility in helping us achieve our grassroots mission. Highest priority is to vote and make a statement on the direction of our country. Second, is to fully participate when possible in efforts to enhance our influence. We have had some success in disaster program legislation, but more is needed until we can address the underlying problem of commodity prices being below the cost of production. Third, you need to listen and evaluate the rhetoric. It is extremely important that we are not supporting misinformation or continuing to spread it.

We plan to schedule events in the coming year as if they will be in-person gatherings. As we approach the time of the event, we will evaluate how to proceed. We will do our best to follow State Health Department guidelines with recommendations from the governor and Centers for Disease Control.

Our state convention and bylaws require us to allow for items that can only easily happen in person. We will be making the effort to hold our convention in person. The convention may be very abbreviated and limited to a minimum number of delegates, but we are trying our best to maintain grassroots input which is so necessary for our success.

I hope your families are healthy and safe. I hope your harvest is proceeding well and is very fruitful. It is the work of organizations like ours that will help us get through these challenging times. Thank you for all that you do.

– NDFU President Mark Watne