Who We Are

The National Farmers Union has been representing farmers in New Brunswick for over 40 years.  Seven years ago, we became one of two accredited general farm organizations in the province.  Our members are farmers producing all commodities and operating farms of all sizes. We also have associate members who are not farmers but who are passionate about sustaining the farming industry and supporting the advocacy work that we do.

Farm members can now easily join us when they renew their Farm Business Registration annually with the Government of New Brunswick.  The entire registration fee goes to support the general farm organization of your choice.  Make your voice heard and your dollars count by choosing the National Farmers Union in NB.   For more information on registering see our Become a Member page.

 

Reflections on the word farmer

I like to think that the founders of the National Farmers Union in 1969 deliberately chose to refer to themselves as farmers. The decision to form a union of farmers rather than producers, or agricultural professionals was not a simple matter of semantics.

An honourable term, the word farmer was in use from the Middle Ages to describe a person who owns or manages a farm. A producer, by contrast, is a person or company that makes or grows or supplies commodities for sale; which I don’t believe does justice to the work of a farmer.

For a producer, the measure of success is the ability to achieve the greatest level of production at the least direct cost. Externalized costs, such as environmental degradation or the loss of community are not necessarily part of the accounting.

Ideally, a farmer measures his or her work by more than short term profit. To endure as a farmer a viable income is a prerequisite; however there are many other indices of success. A farmer views his farm with a vision which extends well into the future. She considers the effects of her farming on the land not just next year or ten years from now, but with an eye to the future that she will pass on to subsequent generations. A wise farmer understands the limitations imposed by her land and rather than seeking short-term gain, accepts the requirements of the land.

As agricultural operations grow in size or increase their levels of intensity, shortcuts may be taken to increase efficiency, as measured in production alone. Examples of this might be the elimination of windbreaks or the development of intensive livestock operations. These types of changes will lead to a loss of wildlife habitat, irreparable erosion of valuable farmland and the routine use of antibiotics to control disease in crowded feedlots. As production units grow in size, the population of rural areas drains away, along with schools, hospitals and the social life valued by people.

As a farmer, I recognize and attempt to farm within the limits imposed on me by the natural world. I also recognize the value of neighbours and neighbourliness. A countryside devoid of people, schools and other social amenities is of questionable value, now or in the years to come.

As a farmer, I eagerly await the pleasure and sense of harmony with creation that I can see in livestock grazing contentedly on a healthy pasture or the sweet smell of a good crop of hay, put away to feed my flock in the months to come. These things, along with land and community stewardship, cannot solely be measured by the criteria of a production focused model.

Farmer is a word I use with great pride, as it is a noble career path, one that I have had the pleasure of working in for nearly thirty years.  I hope that you, too, take pride in calling yourself a farmer.  

Ted Wiggans
Farmer, Shepherd’s Garden
Harvey Station, NB

 

NFU Documentary

This documentary was created to celebrate the 40 year anniversary of the National Farmers Union in Canada and is a really helpful way for members and future members to better understand the National Farmers Union’s philosophy and work.

Meet long time NFUNB members, Betty Brown and Barb & Victor Somerville starting at 26 minutes & 40 seconds.