MARLBOROUGH, Mass. — Representatives for the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) returned last week from the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF’s) Annual Convention and IDEAg Tradeshow in Phoenix with a refreshed perspective and knowledge on the issues facing agriculture today.
“During the business meeting on Tuesday, AFBF delegates, such as myself, approved resolutions to ensure long-term profitability and prosperity for farmers across the nation,” said MFBF President Ed Davidian, who farms in Northborough. “This process is very important as it gives AFBF a roadmap to use to implement policies throughout the year.”
According to an AFBF news release, some of key issues that the delegates decided on, included the following:
Delegates approved policy supporting regulatory reform, including legislation to eliminate “judicial deference,” which has essentially nullified the power of the courts to serve as a check on agency abuses.
Also on the topic of regulations, delegates approved policy to oppose agency advocacy campaigns in support of their own proposed regulations.
Delegates passed a sense-of-the-body resolution calling for comprehensive regulatory reform, driving home the importance of the issue for farmers and ranchers.
New language was approved to require the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal agencies to coordinate and cooperate in a meaningful way with state and local governments in making land management plans and decisions as required by Congress. They also supported mandatory recusal for federal officers who face conflicts of interest in their work.
Hunger and Nutrition
Delegates overwhelmingly approved language supporting efforts to fund nutrition programs including food assistance and school lunches through the same, unified farm bill that funds farm safety-net programs.
Delegates also called on Congress to support incorporating all types of domestic fruits and vegetables into the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for schools. Delegates supported the use of fresh and locally grown product when available.
Delegates reaffirmed strong support for risk-management and safety-net tools to defend against volatile commodity markets.
Delegates reaffirmed support for flexibility in the H-2A program that would allow workers to seek employment from more than one farmer.
Delegates reaffirmed support for the protection of proprietary data collected from farmers, voting that farmers should be compensated when their data is used by third parties. Delegates also supported sale of proprietary data to third parties.
In addition, the Massachusetts farmers who attended the Annual Conference also participated in workshops and educational sessions, such as a crop sector outlook, a look into the future of ag extension and more.
“The knowledge that our leaders gained from this conference will be invaluable to them this year and in the future,” Davidian said. “From learning about succession planning to discussing the Farm Bill, our members came back better informed on how to face the tough issues impacting agriculture and on better business management practices.”
To learn more about the convention, please visit http://annualconvention.fb.org/.
—Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation
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