American Farm Bureau President: Your Contacts Have Made A Difference

AFBF President Bob Stallman
Farm Bureau does a lot of things right. But one thing we need to do better, or just more often, is acknowledge our achievements.

An accomplishment on the policy front is all the testimony we’ve given at congressional hearings this year, to get our message in front of lawmakers and on the record. Volunteer leaders and staff have testified concerning water rights for public land ranchers, EPA’s abuse of the federal rulemaking process on the “waters of the U.S.” rule, our analysis of what the final WOTUS rule means for landowners, reauthorization of the Federal Grain Standards Act, the importance of Trade Promotion Authority to expanding global markets and, before the week is out, repeal of country of origin rules to prevent retaliation by Canada and Mexico. We have been especially visible and vocal on the hearings front in the first six months of 2015.

Farm Bureau’s leadership on the big issues of the day has been visible in the media. We’re getting our message out like never before. A notable example was a front-page story in the New York Times in May, by a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, about EPA’s misuse of the WOTUS comment period to conduct a lobbying and public relations campaign. That story led to AFBF’s general counsel, Ellen Steen, appearing on Fox News. EPA criticism of the Times story only gave it more visibility. Checkmate!

Even in this tough political environment, Farm Bureau is advancing its priorities. A key Senate committee recently passed a bill, S. 1140, to force EPA and the Corps to take a mulligan on WOTUS. The House has passed a Trade Promotion Authority measure that is now up for a vote in the Senate. House committees will hold hearings soon on the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act to establish a national approach to GMO labeling, and we expect the House to vote on the bill in July. Endangered Species Act reform and immigration reform are long games, but we see opportunities to move both issues forward. And we are developing a tool for farmers to evaluate how seed and agricultural equipment companies handle and secure farm data.

I’ll end with two simple words: THANK YOU. Because these achievements are due to the commitment, vision, leadership and hard work of the entire Farm Bureau family. I look forward to celebrating more victories with you.

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