Ag Policy Blog

More Farm Bureau Policy Highlights From the Notebook

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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Delegates at the American Farm Bureau talked about an array of issues on Tuesday, ranging from climate change to feral hogs. (DTN photo by Chris Clayton)

Farm Bureau delegates on Tuesday held a marathon session on their policy book. Beyond the changes highlighted in Top Stories, here were some other policy changes Farm Bureau added to its policy book.

Market Changes

In recommendations to the board, Farm Bureau delegates also encouraged AFBF to examine alternatives to the poultry "tournament system in an effort to provide improved pay that would met the realistic needs of poultry producers and still reward exceptional performance."

They also called for looking into the impact of non-.U.S. origin cattle on the CME Feeder Cattle Index and the delivery procedures. Support adding a division to mandatory price reporting for "foreign born, domestically fed live cattle in addition to "domestic and "imported" divisions.

Grain Inspection

In a long debate, delegates eventually voted to requiring all grain elevators to have graders who are certified and licensed to USDA GIPSA standards. The pushback on that provision came from delegates who operate small grain elevators and argued they might not be able to afford to having federally-certified graders on site all the time.

Climate Change

Under renewable fuels, Farm Bureau supports "legislative" and regulatory approval for the use of higher ethanol blends in "low-carbon", high octane fuels to help automobile manufacturers meet fuel efficiency standards.

Farm Bureau added language that it supports science-based, peer-reviewed research to determine the causes and impacts of global climate change. Delegates also support initiatives, research and education that promote soil health, water quality and soil and water conservation, as long as they are implemented on a voluntary basis. Farm Bureau also added a policy provision supporting compensating farmers to encourage them to plant crops and trees as a means to reducing carbon-dioxide emissions in the atmosphere.

The group also backs ongoing educational campaigns emphasizing the positive impact agriculture can have on the climate. Another resolution opposes any laws or policies that implicate agricultural activity of any kind as a cause for climate change without empirical evidence.

And another provision opposes state-by-state patchwork of climate change policies.

Ag Policy

Farm Bureau delegates support access to a cotton replanting provision in crop insurance as an added coverage program.

They also would like to be able to update base acres and yields on a voluntary basis, using a five-year average.

Further, in a change to payment provisions, Farm Bureau added resolution to support allowing individual farm -program payments for any actively engaged farmer, regardless of the farm's organization structure. Each individual involved in a farm should be entitled to a payment.

The delegate would also like to see federal assistance payments determined by a farmer's individual production history and not the total agricultural production in the county.

Animal ID

Farm Bureau supports USDA implementing a comprehensive educational system for producers to transition from the National Uniform Ear Tagging System to an 840-prefix radio frequency identification system for nationwide identification requirements for cattle and bison.

The group also added a resolution supporting USDA efforts to investigate recent beef and pork margins to determine if there is any evidence of price manipulation, collusion or restrictions of competition or other unfair practices.

Feral Hogs

In a resolution added on feral hogs, Farm Bureau stated that feral hogs are "an unacceptable risk to humans, livestock, crops and property." Farm Bureau supports the eradication of all feral hogs as the ultimate goal.

To support eradication all feral hogs, Farm Bureau backs increasing efforts by states and federal agencies on public lands closed to allow feral hog hunting and also allow incidental takes of feral hogs on public lands even if it is closed to feral-hog hunting.

Etc.

Highlighting the potential boost in export values through shipping, delegates also voted to support dredging the lower Mississippi River to accommodate post-Panamax ships.

Farm Bureau delegates would like to make it a criminal offense for someone to willfully harass another person's livestock using a drone or any other means.

They also support additional funding to U.S. Customs and Border Inspection, and USDA APHIS inspectors to prevent the importation of animal and plant diseases. As well as sufficient fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border in the permanent quarantine zone to help stop the inflow of livestock and wildlife that are potential carriers of cattle fever ticks from entering the U.S.

Under issues such as hours of service, Farm Bureau supports allowing producers and livestock haulers being able to complete delivery of cargo if they are within 300 miles of their destination even if it exceeds the DOT maximum hours of service rules.

Delegates also called on changes to how GPS software routes vehicles through rural areas. They would like to see GPS mapping services to designate the difference between a primary commercial route and other secondary roads to increase safety and decrease the pressure on secondary roads caused by the shortest distance mapping routes. A delegate said this is causing problems in rural areas, especially when larger trucks are routed onto secondary roads that cannot handle larger loads.

On organic standards, FB delegates also voted to keeping all certified organic production "in the soil." An argument about new practices, such as warehouse production, etc., did not sway delegates.

Delegates also called for updating banking regulations to allow banks to do business with entities whose income is derived from hemp and/or legal cannabis.

When it comes to air quality, Farm Bureau added a provision stating that U.S. agricultural equipment should not subject to any more strict emission standards as countries where the U.S. exports equipment.

Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN

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