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ND Farmers Fly In to D.C., Calling for Disaster Relief

March 27, 2007

Whether it's too much moisture or not enough, farmers are at the mercy of Mother Nature. And North Dakota farmers are flying into the nation's capital today to say the U.S. Farm Bill should tackle that problem. North Dakota Farmers Union president Robert Carlson is one of 27 North Dakota farmers and ranchers meeting with lawmakers to call for a permanent disaster relief provision in the farm bill. Carlson says meetings like this help make the case to lawmakers, who may not know what goes on "down on the farm."

"They don't know much about agriculture. They really don't. They don't know what we go through to make a living here. And they actually enjoy meeting us and talking to us."

Carlson notes that in 2005, almost 80 percent of U.S. counties were declared disaster areas due to the weather.

North Dakota farmers will also call for "country of origin" labeling for meat. Carlson believes both consumers and producers would benefit if meat labels showed where the food came from.

"Well, the argument against it is basically the meatpackers who don't want you to know where the meat that you're buying comes from. They want to buy cheap meat, and put it on the counter, and if you know where it's coming, chances are you'll want to buy U.S. produced meat."

The farmers will be in Washington through Wednesday.

Debbie Aasen/Eric Mack, Public News Service - ND