The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 95th Annual Convention began yesterday (Sunday) in San Antonio, Texas. AFBF President Bob Stallman says farmers and ranchers are focused on the opportunities and challenges of the present – keeping their eyes on the road ahead. If farmers and ranchers keep their commitment to learn from the past, look toward the future and never let go of the wheel – Stallman says Farm Bureau will have a bright future. He says the convention is about people from different regions and backgrounds coming together to develop policy that benefits all of American agriculture. Congress is close to the finish line on the farm bill and Water Resources Development Act – but Stallman says farmers and ranchers can’t wait any longer for effective long-term solutions to the ag labor crisis. He says farmers and ranchers have been waiting for Congress to take action and work for solutions – waiting for them to put the nation’s needs above politics.
Through its grassroots efforts – Stallman says Farm Bureau has made great progress – which speaks volumes to the strength of its grassroots, strategic focus and credibility as the nation’s Voice of Agriculture. Looking at regulatory issues – Stallman says some people are intent on standing in the way of allowing farmers and ranchers to feed more people using existing land and water – among other things. Late last year – he says the Environmental Protection Agency put the wheels in motion to propose extending federal regulatory authority to nearly every body of water in the country – and AFBF has been working to stop EPA’s attempts to broaden its regulatory reach. He says Farm Bureau is saddled-up for the long ride in its fight for rational regulations that allow farmers to continue feeding America. One challenge the organization has turned into an opportunity is the aging demographic in agriculture – and Stallman says its rural development initiatives will begin to put farmers and ranchers on the path to success. He encourages all Farm Bureau members to join the Farmer Veteran Coalition’s effort to create farming opportunities for soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.