January 17, 2023
American Farm Bureau establishes 2023 policies
US farmer and rancher delegates to the American Farm Bureau Federation's (AFBF) 104th Convention adopted on January 10 policies to guide the organisation's work in 2023.
Key topics ranged from expanding risk management programs and improving dairy pricing transparency to battling hunger.
Delegates were polled regarding their farms at the beginning of the voting session. The results show almost 99% (334 delegates) of those who cast votes operate family farms and almost 65% represent small- to mid-size farms as defined by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
"Delegates demonstrated the strength of Farm Bureau by coming together to represent hard-working farm families from all 50 (US) states and Puerto Rico," said AFBF president Zippy Duvall. "There's a lot of work to do in 2023 as Congress drafts the next farm bill, and the policies set forth today will guide AFBF as we work to ensure farmers and ranchers can continue to meet the growing needs of families in America and around the world."
Delegates to the American Farm Bureau business meeting voted to modernise the farm bill by expanding baseline funding, developing more flexible disaster relief programmes and extending protection to more specialty crops.
They also voted to bring more transparency to the federal milk pricing system. Several changes to policy include support for more USDA audits of processing costs to ensure data remains accurate, and a Federal Milk Marketing Orders voting procedure that requires cooperatives to communicate more clearly with members regarding proposed changes. The results of an FMMO forum hosted by AFBF in October served as a guidepost for policy changes.
Recognising growing food insecurity in the United States, delegates approved new policy to support access to nutrition programmes including connecting farms directly with food banks, increasing the number of SNAP-approved food sales outlets, and other efforts to make produce available to families living in food deserts.
On trade, delegates added policy for the USDA to continue working with the Mexican government to drop a proposed ban on imports of biotech corn. The new policy also encourages the USDA to urge Mexico to accept established science on the safety of US biotech products.
Voting delegates also formalised the Farm Bureau's position opposing the 2022 Waters of the US rule and a proposed Securities and Exchange Commission rule if it requires Scope 3 emissions reporting from farms.
Beyond policy changes, delegates also elected members to serve on the AFBF board of directors and national program committees.
Chris Hoffman, president of Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, and Wayne Stafford, president of Maryland Farm Bureau (Northeast Region) were elected to fill one-year terms on the AFBF board of directors.
Joe Newland, president of Kansas Farm Bureau (Midwest Region), and Scott Mugrage, president of Alaska Farm Bureau (Western Region), were elected to two-year terms on the AFBF board of directors.
Fifteen other state Farm Bureau presidents were re-elected to two-year terms to represent their regions on the board.
Matt Fimon was elected chair of the Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee, taking over the position in March at the end of the Young Farmers & Ranchers Conference for a one-year term. Heather Graham was elected vice chair and Joel Currier was elected secretary. They will each serve one-year terms.
Isabella Chism was re-elected chair of the Women's Leadership Committee and Lorenda Overman was re-elected vice chair, each for a two-year term. Lou Nave, Lisa Wherry, Marieta Hauser and Shawn Wood were re-elected to two-year terms.
Daryn Westergard was elected chair of AFBF's Promotion & Education Committee. Alan Clark was elected vice chair. Both will serve two-year terms beginning in March.