The NFU has policy committees and working groups where interested members work on issues that matter to them. These are spaces where we can discuss, analyze, and propose action to develop and advance public policy matters, to promote our positions to other organizations and governments; and to educate, organize and mobilize other farmers about each committee’s area.
Committees are also where member can provide input and recommendations to the Board and staff regarding NFU policy positions that relate to their topic. They often develop resolutions on their committee’s topic that can be debated at NFU conventions, which if passed, become the official position of the NFU.
Policy committees include members from different NFU Regions and NFU Caucuses, allowing members with different perspectives to bring their experience and knowledge to discussions. Most committees regularly meet online, and also share information and ideas by email between meetings. All policy committees work with professional Policy & Research staff who provide decades of in-depth research in all issues of agricultural policy.
If you would like to learn more about, or get involved with an NFU Policy Committee, you can contact the NFU National Office and we will connect you with the chair of the committee you are interested in.
Interested in getting involved? Call, email, or write the NFU office and we’ll connect you. Contact:
Farm Worker Working Group
The Farm Worker Working Group (FWWG) combines peer support with political visioning to forge long-lasting community, compassionately address workplace issues and improve agricultural labour standards across the sector. Current and aspiring farm workers* are invited to connect with a nation-wide network of their peers for solidarity around a wide range of issues including mental health, contract negotiations, job hunting, workplace injury, and applying for EI. The FWWG develops educational content for farmers, eaters, and new farmer training programs to bring awareness to labour issues within the sector; to equip farm workers with information about their legal rights and responsibilities at work and how to seek redress for contract, health and safety, or human rights violations; and to empower workers to challenge labour standards. Come to the FWWG for friendship, support, workshops, and political advocacy. The FWWG collaborates with organized labour and migrant justice organizations. The FWWG is not legal aid. We may not always know the answers, but we can direct you to someone who will. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com if you need help.
*We define a “farm worker” as anyone employed in agriculture, working for a business or on a property that they do not themselves own. Farm managers, seasonal workers, full-time workers, part-time workers, harvesters, workers in animal husbandry or abattoirs, pick workers, processors, and distributors are all welcome. Others are welcome upon invitation, or with a quorum agreement from the group.
The Climate Committee develops analysis of public policy matters pertaining to the climate crisis. The Climate Committee advocates for real climate solutions in agriculture with Federal and Provincial governments, within the agricultural sector, and with the broader public. The Climate Committee is also responsible for review of the NFU’s sector-leading climate research reports.
Members of the Climate Committee and others at the NFU are active leaders within the Farmers for Climate Solutions coalition of which the NFU was a founding member.
Chair: Stuart Oke
Farmland Access and Action Committee
The NFU Land Access and Action Committee (Farmland Committee) exists to extend and deepen the NFU’s understanding of alternative land tenure models in pursuit of expanding food sovereignty, providing land access for aspiring food producers, and prioritizing equity of access to land.
The Farmland Committee provides recommendations regarding NFU policy positions, strategy and actions that relate to Farmland Access and Control. The Committee provides leadership at the local, regional and national levels for grassroots political action promoting collective action towards Farmland Access and Control solutions and alternatives. It also fosters dialogue to build understanding among NFU members, between the NFU members and other farmers and with the general public around Farmland Access and Control issues
Chair: Katherine Aske
Indigenous Solidarity Working Group (IPC)
The Indigenous Solidarity Working Group (ISWG) exists to extend and deepen the NFU’s understanding of Indigenous food sovereignty and settler colonialism in Canada in order to better act in solidarity with struggles for Indigenous lands and treaties. The ISWG is organized under the umbrella of the International Programs Committee (IPC). Learn more here.
Co-chairs: Bryanna Kenny, Ayla Fenton
Livestock Action Committee
The Livestock Action Committee tackles issues concern to livestock producers across the country. It works on policy, actions and campaigns to educate, organize and mobilize other farmers and the general public on livestock issues. It advocates for policies that work for livestock producers, their livestock, and shorter supply chains from producer to eater.
Chair: Tim Dowling
Migrant Worker Sub Working Group (IPC)
The Migrant Workers Sub Working Group (MWSWG) educates and advocates for migrant farmworkers. The MWSWG exposes current challenges related to farmworkers and mobilizes action as it is able. The MWSWG teaches its members, the NFU, and the general public about emerging issues regarding migrant farmworkers and advocates for the immigration status of migrant farmworkers to be made permanent, not tied to a single employer. The working group collaborates with other organizations working on migrant worker issues. The MWSWG is organized under the International Programs Committee (IPC). Learn more here.
Chair: Jenn Pfenning
Farmer Mental Health Working Group
The NFU Mental Health Working Group was formed in response to a resolution in 2021 calling on the NFU to develop ways to support farmers’ mental health and social connection. NFU members and others established the Working Group to investigate existing farmer mental health services and explore how these might be improved, moving beyond crisis lines to more individualized, farmer-specific supports and interventions, while centering NFU values and its systemic approach.
The Working Group’s mission is to promote the creation of an equitable food system in which farmers’ mental health is prioritized, and one where farmers have access to the mental health services they need.
Chair: Brooke Hayes
Seed Sovereignty Committee
The Seed Sovereignty Committee focuses on keeping Canada’s seed system operating in the public interest, and defending farmers’ right to save seed. Members develop campaigns to raise awareness and affect government decisions that affect seed. This committee is also where the NFU addresses genetically modified seed issues, including gene editing. It also promotes farm-based plant breeding and the continued use of heritage seed.
Chair: Cathy Holtslander
The Trade Committee analyses the impacts of trade agreements on farmers, and works with allies in Canada and internationally to bring farmers’ voices to the table when new agreements are being negotiated and when disputes or impacts arise.
Trains and Grains Committee
The Trains and Grains Committee provides expertise on matters relating to the transportation of western grain and the impacts that grain handling and transport decisions have on farmers. Members of the committee write and review op eds and policy position statements regarding these topics and provide spokespeople for media and government relations.
Chair: Cam Goff