U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon was recently honored by the National Farmers Union with the Golden Triangle Award, recognizing the senator as a farm champion in Congress for his leadership and dedication to improving the livelihoods of family farmers and ranchers, according to a press release.
“This has been a tough year for Oregon’s and America’s farmers and ranchers. Drought and wildfire threatened their land and livestock, while the president’s budget threatened savage cuts to critical agricultural programs,” Merkley said in the release. “Working with true champions for rural America in both parties, we successfully fought for the resources that have helped our farmers and ranchers thwart these threats and build a foundation for a promising future.”
The Golden Triangle Award, the NFU’s highest legislative honor, was presented at an awards reception during the family farm organization’s Fall Legislative Fly-In.
“The Golden Triangle Award recognizes farm and food champions in Congress that display outstanding leadership on the issues that are important to both our industry and our organization,” NFU President Roger Johnson said in the release. “We’re appreciative of their insight and devotion to securing the nation’s food supply for the good of both American family farmers and consumers.”
The Golden Triangle symbolizes the core principles — education, cooperation, legislation — of the NFU, according to the organization.
Since taking office, Merkley has successfully fought to preserve rural post offices, essential air service and contract tower programs — resources rural agricultural economies depend on to access critical services and do business. Merkley worked with colleagues across the aisle to find a common-sense solution to allow farmers and ranchers to move their goods to market without triggering regulations aimed at interstate freight commerce.
In his role on the Senate Appropriations Committee and as the ranking Democrat on the Agriculture and Rural Development Subcommittee, Merkley has worked to provide significant resources for Oregon farmers and ranchers, including funding for sustainable agriculture education, outreach and professional development; support for farmers to transition to organic agriculture practices; and agricultural research on cutting-edge methods to improve productivity, sustainability and health of agricultural systems.