Labor Union

Wisconsin Farmers Union (WFU)

Website:

www.wisconsinfarmersunion.com/

Location:

Chippewa Falls, WI

Type:

Labor Union

Formation:

1930

Executive Director:

Julie Keown-Bomar

Wisconsin Farmers Union (WFU) is a union representing 2,200 families and 28 local chapters. [1] WFU is a member of the National Farmers Union. WFU supports left-of-center political positions, including a variety of subsidies for farmers, legislation to combat climate change, and anti-trust regulations.

Political Positions

In 2021, the Wisconsin Farmers Union released a list of state legislative policy priorities, which included a $20 million subsidy to connect farmers and food banks, implementation of a program to contract farmers to provide food for schools and businesses, subsidies for farmer mental health programs, a $400,000 marketing subsidy fund for businesses that use Wisconsin agriculture products, and grants to farmers who abide by clean water standards. [2]

WFU supports a package of bills proposed by Governor Tony Evers (D) and Democratic legislators to provide $25 million in subsidies to Wisconsin farmers. [3]

Anti-Trust

WFU supports the enforcement of federal anti-trust laws to break up monopolies, which it claims have reduced the number of small farms in Wisconsin. The union claims that the agriculture industry has excessively consolidated and is suppressing wages and raising prices. [4] WFU supported President Joe Biden’s July 2021 executive order to promote competition in the economy. [5] [6]

WFU supports government investments in meatpacking infrastructure to increase supply and break an alleged current oligopoly in the industry. [7] It also supports Dairy Together, a program supported by numerous organizations to regulate dairy farm size and break industry consolidation. [8]

Immigration

WFU supports providing driver’s licenses, medical care, and public education to illegal immigrants, as well as temporary visas for immigrant workers and an easier pathway to citizenship. [9]

COVID-19

To support farmers during the COVID-19 pandemic, WFU supported numerous bills, including the Small Packer Overtime and Holiday Fee Relief for COVID-19 Act, which would reduce U.S. Department of Agriculture fees, [10] and the Strengthening Local Processing Act, which would increase federal subsidies for meat processing inspection costs. [11]

Redistricting

Prior to 2021, WFU supported Congressional redistricting in Wisconsin to combat one of the “most gerrymandered maps in the nation.” The union supported the so-called “People’s Map.” [12]

Trade and Subsidies

In 2019, WFU president Darin Von Ruden criticized President Donald Trump for claiming that he had helped farmers by increasing subsidies. Von Ruden claimed that farmers are generally opposed to government subsidies and that new subsidies were more than offset by losses to farmers caused by trade war responses to increased tariffs implemented under the Trump administration. [13]

Climate Change

WFU supports government efforts to combat climate change. [14]

Grants

Wisconsin Farmers Union provides grants to local chapters, usually between $300 and $600, but potentially more than $1,000. [15]

WFU runs the Wisconsin Farmers Union Foundation, a grantmaking nonprofit, which provides grants of less than $2,000 to local farming organizations. [16]

Protest at Madison

In March 2011, Wisconsin Farmers Union and Family Farm Defenders organized a “Farm Labor Tractorcade” in Madison, Wisconsin to protest then-Governor Scott Walker’s (R) budget legislation. [17]

Leadership

Wisconsin Farmers Union policy coordinator Vivienne Kerley-de la Cruz is an outspoken activist for liberal immigration policies. While attending Grinnell College, Kerley-de la Cruz interned at Immigrant Allies where she created a program that provided IDs to thousands of local immigrants. During the 2020 elections, Kerley-de la Cruz volunteered in Texas during the primaries and in Georgia during the U.S. Senate run-off. [18]

References

  1. “Membership.” Wisconsin Farmers Union. Accessed November 23, 2022. https://www.wisconsinfarmersunion.com/membership. ^
  2. Conniff, Ruth. “Wisconsin Farmers Union takes on monopolies, lobbies for change.” Wisconsin Examiner. February 18, 2022. Accessed November 23, 2022. https://wisconsinexaminer.com/2022/02/18/wisconsin-farmers-union-takes-on-monopolies-lobbies-for-ag-policy-changes/. ^
  3. “Evers, Democratic Lawmakers Propose $25 Million Package To Help Wisconsin Farmers.” Successful Farming. November 1, 2021. Accessed November 23, 2022. https://www.agriculture.com/news/business/evers-democratic-lawmakers-propose-25-million-package-to-help-farmers. ^
  4. “Fighting Monopoly Power.” Wisconsin Farmers Union. Accessed November 23, 2022. https://www.wisconsinfarmersunion.com/monopolypower. ^
  5. “Consolidation in Agriculture.” Wisconsin Farmers Union. Accessed November 23, 2022. https://www.wisconsinfarmersunion.com/_files/ugd/629d75_16a95a5bf0e9449da8f1d8ee55585945.pdf. ^
  6. “FACT SHEET: Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy.” The White House. Accessed November 23, 2022. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/07/09/fact-sheet-executive-order-on-promoting-competition-in-the-american-economy/. ^
  7. “Meat Processing.” Wisconsin Farmers Union. Accessed November 23, 2022. https://www.wisconsinfarmersunion.com/processing. ^
  8. [1] Podeszwa, Royce. “Meatpacking industry limits Wisconsin farmers’ income, advocate says.” Wisconsin Public Radio. August 8, 2022. Accessed November 23, 2022. https://www.wpr.org/meatpacking-industry-limits-wisconsin-farmers-income-advocate-says. ^
  9. Conniff, Ruth. “A fresh face for the Wisconsin Farmers Union.” Wisconsin Examiner. September 9, 2021. Accessed November 23, 2022. https://wisconsinexaminer.com/2021/09/09/a-fresh-face-for-the-wisconsin-farmers-union/. ^
  10. “H.R. 6977.” Congress.gov. Accessed November 23, 2022. https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6977. ^
  11. “Meat Processing.” Wisconsin Farmers Union. Accessed November 23, 2022. https://www.wisconsinfarmersunion.com/processing. ^
  12. “Fighting for Democracy: Fair Maps in WI.” Wisconsin Farmers Union. Accessed November 23, 2022. https://www.wisconsinfarmersunion.com/fairmaps ^
  13. Cole, Brenden. “Donald Trump’s Boast That He Is Helping Farmers by Giving Them Subsidies Is ‘B.S.,’ Says Head of Wisconsin Farmers Union” ‘We Don’t Want Government Handouts.” Newsweek. October 6, 2019. Accessed November 23, 2022. https://www.newsweek.com/donald-trumps-boast-he-helping-farmers-giving-them-subsidies-bs-says-head-wisconsin-1463842. ^
  14. “Agriculture & Climate Change.” Wisconsin Farmers Union. Accessed November 23, 2022. https://www.wisconsinfarmersunion.com/climatechange. ^
  15. “Chapters.” Wisconsin Farmers Union. Accessed November 23, 2022. https://www.wisconsinfarmersunion.com/chapters. ^
  16. “Chapters.” Wisconsin Farmers Union. Accessed November 23, 2022. https://www.wisconsinfarmersunion.com/chapters. ^
  17. VanEgeren, Jessica. “Why farmers are driving their tractors to protest at the Capitol.” The Cap Times. March 12, 2011. Updated January 11, 2022. Accessed November 23, 2022. https://captimes.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/why-farmers-are-driving-their-tractors-to-protest-at-the-capitol/article_703e7acb-8736-55f0-956f-0295df6ec92f.html. ^
  18. Conniff, Ruth. “A fresh face for the Wisconsin Farmers Union.” Wisconsin Examiner. September 9, 2021. Accessed November 23, 2022. https://wisconsinexaminer.com/2021/09/09/a-fresh-face-for-the-wisconsin-farmers-union/ ^
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Wisconsin Farmers Union (WFU)


Chippewa Falls, WI