The Minnesota Farmer’s Union (MFU) heard from local farmers and residents Wednesday at the Crookston Public Library during their “Rural Voices Discussions” initiative where they hoped to discuss timely topics such as the farm bill renewal, trade, and health insurance. MFU staff were on hand to take notes for future reference and to put together a report to later present to commissioners and legislators.

    Approximately 30-40 people gathered in the library’s sunroom where they offered concerns on Medicaid and the Affordable Health Care Act, consolidated market reports from a national source going out to local media, school lunches, guaranteed and direct loans from the Farm Service Agency (FSA) for new farmers, and crop insurance.

    "Rural people matter, you know. And sometimes we feel left out in the political process, and that's farmers anywhere," said MFU President Gary Wertish. "[We're] giving them an opportunity to have their voices be heard. The legislators, you know, they're trying to do their job and represent their people, but if they don't hear from us, you know we have nobody to blame but ourselves, but it does help to have a rural voice."

    Wertish said the Rural Voices Discussions helps commissioners and helps the MFU as they work on legislation at the national level.