Farm Aid was honored to attend the 89th annual Wisconsin Farmers Union (WFU) State Convention in Rothschild, Wisconsin, over the weekend. The event drew 300 farmers and rural allies for a weekend of networking, educational workshops and grassroots policymaking. It was very moving to hear so many personal stories from farmers. WFU shows how important it is for farmers to be in contact and to support each other.
The convention included a ceremony to honor WFU members for various achievements and Farm Aid was extremely humbled to receive the Friend of the Family Farmer award. First given in 2013, the Friend of the Family Farmer award recognizes “those who have gone above and beyond in efforts on behalf of family farmers and rural communities.” Farm Aid executive director Carolyn Mugar and associate director Glenda Yoder were there to receive the award, which was presented by WFU president Darin Von Ruden, WFU director of special projects and dairy farmer Sarah Lloyd, and WFU member and dairy farmer Jerry Volenec.
“We are so happy to celebrate Farm Aid’s warm-hearted and energetic staff and their innumerable contributions to family farms,” said Sarah Lloyd. “Farm Aid is working to create real change in our farm and food system, from the ground up.”
In their press release, WFU wrote:
In the midst of the worst farm crisis since the 1980s, Farm Aid distributed more than $1 million in grant funding in 2019, prioritizing organizations working to address challenges created by the dominant industrial agricultural system that has pushed family farmers to the brink of extinction. Farm Aid grants strengthen family farmers, build communities that can support each other in hard times, and organize people to stand up and challenge corporate power in our food system. WFU was among Farm Aid’s 2019 grantees and took part in the annual music and food festival in East Troy, WI, in September. Farm Aid’s “Moving Forward From Here” pre-festival event shed a light on the need for more racial justice in agriculture and inspired WFU’s preconvention event, Groundswell: Building Rural Strength and Resiliency by Advancing Racial Justice.
The award is a hand-crafted ceramic bowl, engraved with “Farm Aid,” containing soil from the Volenec Farm. Farm Aid is absolutely humbled and honored by this award and so proud to be an inspiration to an organization that is such an inspiration to us. Thank you, WFU!