Delegates at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 92nd Annual Meeting voted to maintain a strong farm income safety net, address dairy price volatility and urge greater oversight of regulatory actions by the Environmental Protection Agency.
As Congress prepares to draft a new Farm Bill later this year and in 2012, the delegates reiterated their support for extending the concepts of the 2008 Farm Bill.
“The 2008 Farm Bill has worked as farmers and ranchers have weathered market ups and downs over the last four years,” says American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. “It’s important to maintain a program that protects our nation’s food, fiber and fuel supply and the consumers who rely on agriculture’s productivity.”
Farm program baseline funds should not be diverted outside the Farm Bill, the delegates said. The new Farm Bill should maintain a strong “safety net” that consists of direct payments, a simplified Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program and the countercyclical, marketing loan and crop insurance programs.
Flexible Policies Adopted
Overall, however, they adopted policy that provides flexibility to move forward with farm policy within the budget framework that will become clearer later this year.
A new direction in dairy policy is needed, according to the delegates, to reduce milk price volatility. A resolution approved by the delegates says, in essence, that the dairy price support and Milk Income Loss Contract programs have not performed adequately.
AFBF announced on Jan. 10, during the annual meeting, that it was filing a federal lawsuit to halt the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay pollution regulatory plan. AFBF said that the agency overreached by setting up a plan for the entire 64,000 square-mile Chesapeake watershed, usurped state control, relied on faulty data and failed to account for agriculture’s contributions to improving water quality, and provided insufficient information and time for the public to check EPA’s actions.
The delegates also reaffirmed support for establishing a guest worker program that meets agriculture’s need for farm labor, fair and open world trade and inclusion of the word “navigable” in the Clean Water Act.
American Farm Bureau Federation contributed to this article.