Smith: American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall said agriculture saw a number of victories through the year. The victories included extra help for struggling cotton and dairy producers, near-total repeal of the estate tax, as well as getting animal waste declassified as hazardous waste. Trade and the 2018 farm bill were two of the biggest victories for agriculture this year.
Duvall: We worked with the administration to wrap up the Korean trade treaty and the renegotiation of NAFTA into the USMCA, and next year it’ll be a challenge to get it through Congress. And then, recently here we were successful in helping Congress pass a farm bill that we’re real excited about. It provides a lot of really good things for agriculture, especially certainty for the next five years.
Smith: Duvall says the year finished up with a new Clean Water rule that clarifies water regulation for rural landowners. He explains that Farm Bureau members will have the opportunity to engage in the rule’s comment period, under the theme of “Clean Water, Clear Rules.”
Duvall: We got a new Waters of U.S. ruling that we think is going to be a lot fairer to our farmers, that’s going to provide clean water and clear rules. We’re going to have a campaign and encouraging our grassroots to be involved in that process, and that will be set up at the convention.
Smith: Looking to 2019, trade will be a key area of focus.
Duvall: We’re looking forward to continuing to work with the administration on the China issue. While the trade war is going on, we’re encouraging them to move forward with that and try to help us there, but what we’re really encouraged by is the letter the President sent up to Congress of his intent to start discussions with Japan, the EU and the UK, and we think there is great potential in those three countries.
Smith: Duvall says he’s looking forward to developing a relationship with the new Congress and introducing them to Farm Bureau. Chad Smith, Washington.