The American Farm Bureau Federation is looking ahead to the 117th Congress. Chad Smith has more on AFBF’s priorities in the new year.
Smith: Getting to know the new faces in Congress will be a big priority for the American Farm Bureau. Dale Moore is the executive vice president of the American Farm Bureau. He says they’ll also need to get to know the new people in ag leadership positions as well.
Moore: We’ve been working with our state Farm Bureaus to put together information packets, so that we can come to a new Congressman or Congresswoman and say, “Here’s who we are and here’s some of our key issues that we’ll be working on.” David Scott from Georgia is going to be the chairman, someone that we’ve worked with a lot. G.T. Thompson, who’ll be the Ranking Republican on the House Agriculture Committee. As we look over to the Senate side, we have Senator Boozman coming in.
Smith: That’s Senator John Boozman of Arkansas who’ll succeed Pat Roberts as Senate Ag Committee Chairman. Moore says a couple of the biggest priorities the Farm Bureau will work on include trade and getting ready for the new farm bill.
Moore: Trade has been a front and center issue, whether we’re looking across the Pacific at China and the Pacific Rim Countries, Japan, South Korea, and so forth. And as we look across the Atlantic Ocean, we’re seeing that Great Britain and Europe have finally got their Brexit agreement put together. We look forward to hopefully making some progress with the European Union. The new farm bill is going to be an interesting one, given all that we’ve been through between the trade wars, certainly with the impact of COVID on farmers and ranchers, livestock producers across the country.
Smith: Ensuring farmers have a steady supply of guestworker labor will be another key priority in the new session.
Moore: The other area that is always a perennial issue, has been ever since I’ve come to Washington, D.C., and that is ensuring that farmers and ranchers have access to a ready, stable, legal workforce, and that’s going to be an ongoing challenge that we’re still trying to find answers to.
Smith: Chad Smith, Washington.
For more on AFBF's policy priorities, read the 117th Congress Briefing Booklet here.