From the Field: Time for a Legislative Tune-Up

From the Field is a bi-monthly column written by Mark Campbell, Farm Bureau Field Services Director for the Central District. He writes about Farm Bureau member benefits and County Farm Bureau activities.

This is one of the busiest times of the year for farmers and ranchers.  Whether you raise row crops or livestock, the longer hours of daylight are a blessing.  There always seems to be plenty of work to do.  When things were a bit slower over the winter, I bet some of you prepared your equipment while still parked in the sheds and shops.  You greased all of the fittings, changed the oil, inspected for leaks or needed repairs to make sure that everything was ready to go.
I urge you to consider the same philosophy to legislative matters now.  If you have been actively involved in Farm Bureau programs; you are well aware that legislative action requests are almost a weekly occurrence in the winter months.  But now, things are a bit slower since the Virginia General Assembly is not in session.  But I call your attention to the national level by contacting your congressman and senators.  One easy way to do it is to go to their website and type your comments.  Another is to go to our website at www.vafarmbureau.organd click on the “Policy & Action” tab.  There you can see the issues and detailed information on the topics.  While Congress is in session throughout the year with some recesses here and there, this time of year is an opportune time to contact them.  Farm Bureau has three topics than we think need to be addressed.  They are Immigration reform, Farm Bill, and Clean Water Act.

The IRS scandal that was recently discovered is an example of an increasing number of government agencies that are becoming activist in nature.  EPA for the past few years has placed an increased burden, or some may say harassment, on anyone that works with natural resources such as farmers and ranchers.  From water quality and dust regulations to oil and coal; several industries have come under the gun of the EPA.  Just two summers ago, the Department of Labor (DOL) proposed regulations that would in essence prevent any children from working on farms and ranches.  It wasn’t until a huge outcry from rural America; that DOL decided to rescind the proposal.
Citizens like you taking action in government policies and laws is critical.  In order to restrain the over reach of these agencies and burdensome regulations; you must act by contacting your legislators.  I leave you with these quotes from two of our country’s founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.  Their commentary on a limited government rings as true today as it did in their time.
“There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”  James Madison, June 16, 1788.
“A wise and frugal government…shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.  This is the sum of good government”  Thomas Jefferson, March 4, 1801.
Until next time,

Mark

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