Farm Bureau Delegates Set Course for 2013

During the American Farm Bureau Federation's 94th annual meeting - voting delegates expressed support for a bipartisan, reform-minded farm bill - crafted around a broad, flexible crop insurance-based program that includes risk-management protection for peanuts, rice, forage and specialty crops. Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman says the group will push hard for a five-year farm bill that provides certainty for farmers and extends much-needed risk management tools across more acres and more crops. Farm Bureau delegates said they will also work for programs that provide emergency assistance for livestock and tree producers not covered by federal crop insurance programs. In addition - delegates reaffirmed policy supporting changes to the dairy safety net - consistent with the margin insurance programs included in the farm bill versions approved by the House and Senate Ag Committees.

On another dairy issue - Farm Bureau reports its delegates approved a new policy that states only pasteurized milk and milk products should be sold for human consumption. In the area of national fiscal policy - delegates reaffirmed the importance of a sound budget process with a priority on spending restraints rather than tax increases. There was also a vote of support for streamlining or replacing the H-2A seasonal and temporary agricultural worker program - in addition to allowing experienced, undocumented agricultural workers to adjust to legal status. According to Stallman - only comprehensive immigration reform through legislation can solve the agricultural worker problem.

On regulatory policy - Farm Bureau delegates said all federal agencies shall be held to the strictest interpretation of law when setting regulations and that no federal agency shall be allowed to legislate through their regulatory power. They went on to say that no regulatory action should be taken against landowners based on satellite or aerial imagery.

More than 360 voting delegates - representing every crop and livestock sector in the 50 states and Puerto Rico - deliberated on policies affecting the productivity and profitability of farmers and ranchers at the AFBF annual meeting. The policies they approved will guide the organization in its legislative and regulatory efforts throughout 2013.

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