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APPLETON

Wisconsin Farmers Union will celebrate its 85th State Convention, Jan. 29-31, at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel in Appleton.

Farmers and family farm advocates are invited to attend the event, with a theme of 'Remembering Our Roots.' Workshop sessions will delve into some of the big issues faced by family farmers and rural communities today and will look at ways to build a more vibrant future for the next generation.

The weekend will kick off at noon Friday with a pre-convention workshop, 'Beyond Traditional Agritourism: Cultivating Community on Our Farms.' The cost to attend is $35 for WFU members or $65 for nonmembers (includes one-year family membership.)

During the convention, which opens at 9 a.m. Saturday, workshops will cover groundwater issues, money in politics, narratives of modern agriculture, investing in soil health, developing agricultural infrastructure, building allies and celebrating the gift of laughter. WFU President Darin Von Ruden will update attendees on the past year's accomplishments, ongoing projects and a vision for 2016.

National Farmers Union Honorary Historian Tom Giessel will present the afternoon keynote, sharing the rich history of Farmers Union. Giessel is a farmer in Pawnee County near Larned, KS. He raises wheat, corn, milo and alfalfa. He has been active in Farmers Union all of his life, serving as vice president of the Kansas Farmers Union for nearly two decades. He currently serves as president of the Pawnee County Farmers Union.

During the banquet on Saturday evening, award-winning illusionist and magician Jared Sherlock will present his modern comic magic act.

Throughout the weekend, the grassroots membership will be at work shaping the bylaws and policy that guide WFU's work. Other activities include a concurrent Youth Co-op Convention, the Torchbearer's Award Presentation for youth program graduates and a WFU Foundation Fundraiser on Friday evening for Kamp Kenwood, WFU's historic youth camp near Chippewa Falls.

The convention is open to the public but only member delegates may vote on policy issues.

On the final day of convention, delegates will elect directors from District 3 (Eau Claire, Chippewa and Clark counties), District 5 (Crawford, Grant, Green, Iowa, Lafayette, Richland, Rock, Sauk and Vernon counties), and District 8 (Brown, Calumet, Dodge, Door, Fond du Lac, Forest, Florence, Kewaunee, Langlade, Marinette, Manitowoc, Menominee, Milwaukee, Oconto, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Shawano, Sheboygan, Washington, Waukesha, and Winnebago counties.)

A delegate will also be elected to represent WFU at the National Farmers Union Convention March 5-8 in Minneapolis, MN.

Early bird registration ends Jan. 14. Register at www.wisconsinfarmersunion.com. For more information contact the WFU State Office at 715-723-5561.

Wisconsin Farmers Union, a member-driven organization, is committed to enhancing the quality of life for family farmers, rural communities, and all people through educational opportunities, cooperative endeavors, and civic engagement. For more information visit www.wisconsinfarmersunion.com.

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