The American Farm Bureau Federation today released its top public policy goals for the year. The AFBF board approved its 2019 Strategic Action Plan following delegate action during the organization’s 100th annual convention in New Orleans. AFBF will use the goals as a guide for strategic planning and grassroots activity throughout 2019. The five top issues are:
- 116th Congress: Build relationships to educate and work with members of Congress, with support from Farm Bureau’s grassroots leaders and lobbying programs, to promote policies that benefit farmers, ranchers and rural communities.
- Agricultural Labor: Enact legislation that helps farmers and ranchers meet their labor needs.
- Infrastructure: Work for greater investment in rural and agricultural infrastructure, including broadband internet access; rural roads and bridges; inland waterway locks and dams; sea ports; and agricultural research.
- Regulatory Reform: Work for reform of the rulemaking process to ensure that federal rules are supported by science and created in a transparent manner, while identifying specific regulations and regulatory opportunities that improve the ability of farmers and ranchers to remain productive and competitive.
- Trade: Defend and expand trade opportunities for U.S. agriculture.
The AFBF board also approved a set of “watch-list” issues at the New Orleans meeting. AFBF will monitor these issues as part of its ongoing strategic planning process. These include:
- Animal Agriculture: Increase efforts to defend animal agriculture production and promote meat consumption, as well as work for policies to enhance animal ag producers’ productivity and profitability, such as transportation issues unique to livestock and poultry production, aquaculture and apiculture.
- Energy: Ensure policy that enhances the availability and affordability of energy for farmers and ranchers and encourages the growth of renewable energy production. Monitor climate legislation to ensure it does not unduly burden or restrict agriculture.
- Farm Policy: Monitor implementation of the 2018 farm bill to ensure farmers’ and ranchers’ needs are met.
- Labeling: Monitor rules and practices dealing with labeling of food and agricultural products, including milk and milk substitutes, cell-based food and food containing ingredients that are products of biotechnology.
- Mental Health: Promote resources for farmers and their families who are struggling with substance addiction, depression and other mental health challenges.
- Taxes: Continue working to eliminate the estate tax, promote other tax policies that benefit farmers and ranchers, and preserve the Unrelated Business Income Tax exemption that allows Farm Bureau to be a voice for farmers and ranchers.
The priorities and watch-list issues are only some of the topics the organization will address in 2019. AFBF continues to identify opportunities to take action consistent with the policies set forth by the organization’s farmer and rancher delegates from across the country.