Picket lines by the dairy farmers highlight the growing pressures on farmers across the country who are facing a ruinous drop in commodity prices.
The largest action now planned is the Rally for Rural America slated for March 21 in Washington, D.C. It is sponsored by the National Farmers Union (NFU), and farm organizations are winning support from the AFL-CIO. The Minnesota Farmers Union reports they are holding meetings across the state to build the event. Free transportation by bus is being organized to D.C. Rally organizers are projecting some 3,000 will attend from across the country.
The flyer for the rally states, "Join farmers, rural and urban citizens, church and business leaders to send a message that without real solutions by Congress to the rural crisis America will be hurt." The NFU was the major farm group to have a presence at the anti–World Trade Organization protests in Seattle last year. The organization will hold its annual convention in Salt Lake City February 25–28.
The American Agriculture Movement (AAM) will hold its national meeting in Oklahoma City February 10–13. Their newsletter says that "due to the disastrous farm prices, we need every farmer in the country who is willing to work for better farm prices to attend this convention." The AAM is building the March actions in Washington. The newsletter says: "Farmers and labor union workers are joining together just as they have done in the past. The AFL-CIO has promised to turn out masses of workers in support of the farmers for this event."
A group of farmers working with the Atlanta Network on Cuba are embarking on a trip to Cuba and will be available for speaking engagements upon their return in mid-February. The farmers are all part of various struggles to defend their land and right to farm, and several are part of the federal class-action lawsuit against racist practices carried out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture against farmers who are Black.
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