American Farm Bureau president Zippy Duvall’s opening general session address Sunday morning in New Orleans reviewed how the organization started 100 years ago and how it remains the same grassroots group now, with the most important people the members of the county Farm Bureaus across the country. During the centennial convention he also lauded the accomplishments of AFBF during a very challenging 2018, calling it one of the most productive agricultural policy years in its history.
“With this administration giving us a seat at the table, we nurtured them, with them through tax reform which lowered the tax rate for almost every farmer,” Duvall said. “One of the key things we’ve been focused on all my Farm Bureau life is let’s get rid of the inheritance tax. It’s a shame that a man works all of his life and pays for a farm and his family has to sell it to pay the inheritance tax. Well we didn’t get totally rid of it, but we doubled the exemption in this tax reform.”
Indiana Farm Bureau president Randy Kron agrees there were many Farm Bureau successes in 2018.
“When you look at the rollback of WOTUS and trying to get some new reasonable rules, there was some wins. We’ve got a farm bill finally, so there were a lot of wins. Now, are there still some things hanging out there that are concerning, one being trade? Yes, but overall Farm Bureau has had a very good year and a lot of successes. I think we can hold our head high and be proud of what we’ve accomplished.”
Also last year Farm Bureau restructured the way farm bill discussions were conducted internally so that states had more input on what AFBF would promote to congress. Kron told HAT, “Very true, we were more involved. Actually we were the first state to put together a farm bill task force in house in Indiana, and had a very diverse group of farmers go through it. They studied all the titles, even the nutrition title to understand the workings of it. It gave our staff I think a big advantage when AFBF called and said we want you to be engaged in part of these discussions. They had the information from our members to relay to all of AFBF in a national setting.”
Kron added there was a lot of outreach from the national level. He commended the effort by such a large general farm organization to bring all of its members and their diverse viewpoints and commodities to the table. “It’s a huge task,” he said.
Monday President Donald Trump is on the speaking schedule along with USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue.