Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson will be in Milan this week:  the Milan in Italy, not the small community of Milan in western Minnesota.

Peterson is one of four delegates from the National Farmers Union who will attend the World Farmers’ Organization General Assembly in Milan from June 24-26. It will feature sessions on sustainable solutions for feeding the world’s increasing population, especially those facing the impacts of climate change.

Before leaving for Italy, Peterson said it was “truly humbling” to represent rural farming and agricultural issues facing family farmers. Peterson will also address the International Farm, Faith and Environment Symposium that is being held in Milan on June 27 and 28.

He expects to focus on the success of family farms in the U.S. and in other countries, including the women farmers who represent more than half of family farms in the world.

The visit to Italy comes a week after Pope Francis released an encyclical on environmental stewardship and climate change. It will be one of the first opportunities for farm leaders, academic experts and theologians to discuss how to ensure and increase world food production and nutrition while minimizing impacts on the environment.

Other farm representatives in Milan include Dave Velde, vice president of international relations for the National Farmers Union, Alan Merill from Montana Farmers Union, Darin Von Ruden from Wisconsin Farmers Union, and Mark Watne, from North Dakota Farmers Union.

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