Changing membership changes Wisconsin Farmers Union policy debate

New members brought a new direction to Wisconsin Farmers Union policy debates at their state convention.

For example, three years ago, two delegates took more than two hours to convince the other delegates that hemp was not marijuana, and it should be treated as a crop.  Sunday, the majority supported legalizing marijuana in Wisconsin, with discussion centered around medicinal and recreational use.

Darin Von Ruden

Darin Von Ruden, who was re-elected President, tells Brownfield new member support for legalizing marijuana is there. “It’s one of those things, that there’s a lot of good uses for it, especially on the medical side and our members, and especially as we’re starting to have more veterans join our organization, too, they seem to be able to have the most benefit from medicinal marijuana.”

Von Ruden says another area with debate was wolf management. “You know, probably the new membership that’s coming on not really know what’s going on with the wolf population, you know, I think a lot of the people that wanted to see that changed were from the southern part of the state that has no interactions with wolves.”

Mark Liebaert

Outgoing board member Mark Liebaert raises beef in far northwestern Wisconsin. “We’ve got some new members from south-central Wisconsin, southern Wisconsin. They don’t have wolves down there. Remember the DNR and their study (saying) the tolerance for wolves is directly related to whether you have wolves, so in other words in northern Wisconsin where we’ve been fighting with them for a long time, we have no tolerance for them.” The existing Farmers Union policy calling for delisting wolves and DNR control did not change.

Wisconsin Farmers Union President Darin Von Ruden discusses the policy issues debated by delegates at the 2020 State Convention
Wisconsin Farmers Union member Mark Liebaert expresses concern about some delegates position on wolf management and milk in schools.

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