Minnesota Farmers Union plans modified convention because of COVID-19

The Minnesota Farmers Union will hold a one-day convention Nov. 21 in St. Cloud instead of its usual three-day event. The condensed schedule is being done in response to COVID-19.


Editor's note: After the publication of this story, the Minnesota Farmers Union notified the West Central Tribune that the convention on Nov. 21 has been changed to an all-virtual event. There is no longer any in-person component planned. See this updated story for more.

ST. PAUL — The 79th annual Minnesota Farmers Union convention will be Nov. 21 in St. Cloud, but because of COVID-19, the event will be shorter than usual.

Typically the convention is three days but this year it will be just one day, with a condensed agenda.

“While this will look much different from typical conventions, we’re pleased to be able to hold our usual policy discussion and enjoy a Minnesota-grown lunch. I’m hopeful that our brief time together will be fruitful,” said President Gary Wertish of Renville.


Gary Wertish, Minnesota Farmers Union
Gary Wertish, Minnesota Farmers Union

The one-day convention will be held at the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud. The session starts at 10 a.m.

The main business of the convention is to debate and pass policy and special orders of business, which come directly from resolutions from members.

Delegates will also be elected to represent Minnesota at the next National Farmers Union Convention.

This will be the only programming conducted this year, and attendance is limited to convention delegates, committee members, county presidents, media and state staff, with a maximum of 250 people per state guidelines.

Wertish said the organization will get the necessary work done, despite COVID.

“For 79 consecutive years, our members have come together to decide what Farmers Union should advocate for,” said Wertish. “It’s how we develop our grassroots policy: Our members have submitted their resolutions at county conventions. We debate at the state level what will become part of our policy, which guides our work in legislation, cooperation and education.”

Face coverings and social distancing will be required at all times and those registered for the event are encouraged not to attend if they become sick within two weeks of the convention or if they may have been exposed.

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