The American Farm Bureau annual convention is underway in Phoenix. AZ. A delegation of Indiana members is enjoying the warm weather and is working on the difficult task of hammering out a unified Farm Bill position. Job 1 at this year’s AFBF meeting will be adopting a policy position on a new Farm Bill. Indiana Farm Bureau President Randy Kron says bringing the diverse elements of the organization together will not be easy, “I hope we can come together. You have cotton that wants more money and dairy that wants more money, but what we have to realize is that we have to stick together and work together.”
In addition, the farmers will need to find common ground on food and nutrition issues. Last time, a lack of support for the nutrition title almost sank the entire Farm Bill. Kron said that cannot happen this time. He told HAT Indiana farmers want to see strong support for continued funding of the crop insurance program, “Our members have told us that is one of the keys they want out of this Farm Bill.”
In his opening address on Sunday, AFBF President Zippy Duvall called on Congress to pass sweeping reform of regulations that burden the lives of farmers and ranchers. The request followed, by days, the introduction of major legislation to reassert Congressional authority over agencies that increasingly ignore the law and basic constitutional limitations on their power. “The election should send a message—loud and clear—to our politicians: ignore rural America at your own risk!” Duvall said.
Duvall also called on Farm Bureau members to explain how, every day, the men and women who grow food for America and the world work to make the environment better. “Just think about it for a minute,” Duvall said. “By using modern technologies, today’s farmers grow more crops on the same amount of land, using less plowing and pesticides, feeding more people. By developing more uses for our crops, like energy, we are making our economy more sustainable. If farmers don’t take care of our land, we cannot stay in business.”
Duvall reminded the 5,000 farmers and ranchers in attendance that a reliable and profitable supply of labor is central to economic sustainability. He called on Congress to pass legislation to assure farm laborers can work without fear of deportation. “Without a legal supply of labor, too many farmers face lost crops, and they can’t compete on the world market,” Duvall said. “Mr. Trump says he wants to keep American jobs from going overseas. One way he can do that is by keeping America’s food production in America.”