National Farmers Union members agreed Tuesday to put market competition, dairy policy reform, climate change, food processing reform and the agricultural supply chain at the top of their policy agenda for the upcoming year.

With their eyes on the 2023 farm bill, delegates from across the United States met at the organization's annual conference in Denver this week to choose what subjects would be their highest priorities.

"There's just a major theme that carried through this entire convention and that is ensuring fair markets for everyone," NFU President Rob Larew said. "We know that we have a system that is too consolidated [and] stacked against farmers and ranchers. We need to bring real competition back."

A subject members also expressed was important, according to Larew, is the current federal safety net for producers.

Questions were raised about the effectiveness of USDA's loan deficiency payments, though a proposal to support the program's elimination was ultimately voted down.

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Farmers Union members also voted to support the creation of a dairy program "for managed growth based on market demand and price stability" in the 2023 Farm Bill, as well as increasing the Class I pricing formula to a higher value.

"Everybody has their eyes on the next farm bill and are looking to ensure that regardless of where prices may be at that particular time ... that farm bill can be able to respond in times of need," Larew said.

Additional policies that were approved included supporting cover crops "when feasible," hiring additional USDA inspectors and developing renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel processing facilities and infrastructure. A special order of business to make agricultural labor efforts, including H-2A reform, a top priority was introduced, but withdrawn on the floor.

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