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January 21, 2014

AFBF Ready for 2014 with Board-Approved Strategic Plan

For more information on Newsline, contact: Cyndie Sirekis, Director, Internal Communications, American Farm Bureau Federation, cyndies@fb.org.

 
During its 95th Annual Convention last week in San Antonio - the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Board of Directors developed the organization’s 2014 strategic plan to address key public policy issues affecting farmers and ranchers. Seanica Otterby has the story.
Otterby:Heading into an election year - there are a number of familiar key issues that Congress needs to complete - including the farm bill. American Farm Bureau Public Policy Director Dale Moore explains some of those priority issues - starting with agriculture labor reform.
Moore:We all know it’s tied up in immigration reform on the House side in its process, but we’re hopeful we can get the House bill done, get to Conference sometime early this year.
Otterby:Technology and Big Data as they relate to agriculture are also on the Farm Bureau agenda.
Moore:Support for high-tech, biotech, precision-type agriculture. We’ve got a number of different companies that are collaborating now, bringing new technologies together in a collaborative fashion. But we want to make sure that the farmers’ interests are protected in this. That their personal information, their business information is secure, and that they are very much a partner in this process on new technology.
Otterby:Moore says the Environmental Protection Agency continues its attempt to expand its jurisdiction - particularly under the Clean Water Act through a new rule pending at the Office of Management and Budget. EPA’s jurisdiction stops at navigable waters - but Moore says EPA continues to fight for regulatory expansion.
Moore:We don’t know yet all the details because they have not released the rule for our review. We are hopeful that they will give us plenty of time because I am sure it’s going to be very technical and that it’s going to be very tricky as to the way they’ve got things worded. We want to make sure that the interests of farmers and ranchers and landowners gets protected from the standpoint that when they get jurisdiction, basically farmers are going to have to get a permit to do just about anything on their farm or ranch, and we don’t think that’s right because the science does not suggest that EPA’s going to improve water quality, they’re merely going to improve their ability to have a say in everything farmers and ranchers do.
Otterby:The strength of everything Farm Bureau does is in its grassroots - Moore says.
Moore:It doesn’t matter what guys like me, who work for farmers and ranchers in Washington say, we carry messages, we relay what the priorities are. Senators, Representatives hear from the folks back in their home states. That’s where the power comes from. That’s where the push comes from. And it’s going to be a key part that we come up with the best way and the most efficient way for farmers and ranchers to engage in this process. We know that they’re busy back home taking care of business, so we have to be judicious, too, and not just have them writing letters on every issue that pops up, but have those visits timed when the Congressmen, Congresswomen and Senators are most receptive to getting information from their grassroots.
Otterby:Moore says strategic communications also are key.
Moore:How do we get the message out to folks who are watching what Congress is doing, or what they are not doing. Keep taking those steps to ensure that we’ve got the legal foundation, we’ve got the budget ready and the teamwork, which means all of us that work for Farm Bureau, regardless of which division we work in, are going to have a say and a role in making these strategic plans come forward.
Otterby:Moore says Farm Bureau hopes Congress will find ways to work together to take action, compromise and find solutions on these key issues.

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