From AFBF President Zippy Duvall:
Farm Bureau and America’s livestock and poultry producers got some great news late last week. A federal appeals court agreed with us in a lawsuit filed against EPA over the agency’s release of farmers’ and ranchers’ personal information—details such as home address, GPS coordinates, telephone numbers and email addresses. About three years ago, EPA released the information about farmers and ranchers in 29 states. The release was in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by three activist groups. Farm Bureau and the National Pork Producers Council objected and sued, calling the release “an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”
By Zippy Duvall
President, American Farm Bureau
Country roads are an important part of the route to public office. There’s no such thing as “fly-over country” in an election year–and some lawmakers have learned this the hard way. Farmers and ranchers are fully engaged in the political process. They know their businesses and families have too much at stake to take a back seat during any election.
While rural areas have gotten smaller over recent decades, lawmakers can’t ignore that America’s farmland and the people who live there are at the heart of what built this country, and what nourishes it still today. Our nation is run by people who show up and make their voices heard. Our friends in Kansas recently reminded us of this in the primary race for their first district. Many of the district’s farmers and ranchers felt that Congressman Huelskamp had forgotten his neighbors and the people who sent him to Washington, especially when it came to his lack of support for the farm bill that provides a safety net for farmers when prices plummet and ensures we can continue to feed ourselves. The Kansas Farm Bureau took a firm stance by calling out Huelskamp and endorsing his primary opponent Roger Marshall, to ensure agriculture in the first district would once again have a voice on Capitol Hill. Voters then stood up on primary day and called for a different approach to politics. Maintaining a healthy agriculture and strong food security requires a willingness to reach across party lines to find solutions that work. Huelskamp’s rural constituents are sending him home after his term ends this year. That’s what happens when a lawmaker becomes more beholden to groups in Washington than their own constituents.
The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture has awarded 13 $500 mini-grants to communities across the nation. The grants are awarded through the Foundation’s White-Reinhardt Fund for Education program.
The grants are allocated through county and state Farm Bureaus and are used to create new agricultural literacy projects or expand existing agricultural literacy efforts.
Criteria for selecting winners included: the effectiveness of demonstrating a strong connection between agriculture and education; how successfully the project enhances learner engagement in today’s food, fiber and fuel systems; and the processes and timelines for accomplishing project goals.
By Stewart Truelsen- http://www.fb.org/newsroom/focus/266/
It’s been almost 150 years since two men who had farmed squared off against each other in a presidential election, and it may never happen again. But candidates don’t need firsthand experience to understand the needs of farmers and ranchers or to appreciate the work they do. As President Eisenhower said, “You know, farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.”
What do the 2016 presidential candidates know about agriculture? Democrat Hillary Clinton attended school in Park Ridge, Illinois, where the general headquarters of the American Farm Bureau Federation once was located. Chances are she wasn’t aware of Farm Bureau or farm issues as a young person. Continue reading
The U.S. Senate last night voted 63-30 to pass Chairman Senator Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow’s bipartisan agriculture biotechnology disclosure solution. “Tonight’s vote is the most important vote for agriculture in the last 20 years. We worked hard to ensure the marketplace works for everyone. I mean everyone. Our legislation allows farmers to continue using sound science to produce more food with less resources, gives flexibility to food manufacturers in disclosing information, and gives access to more food information that consumers demand,” said Roberts. Read more here: http://bit.ly/29AFhBm.
In a statement released by the American Farm Bureau Federation, President Zippy Duvall said, “The Senate did the right thing by voting to move toward a full debate on the merits of the GMO labeling bill. The legislation is not perfect, but it does take critical steps to prevent a confusing 50-state patchwork of laws disclosing the presence of entirely harmless ingredients. It is time for the Senate to pass this legislation so the House can do likewise at its first opportunity.”
The Federal Aviation Administration has released the final Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Rule. AFBF submitted comments to the FAA during its proposed rulemaking last year, and while the final rule did not include all of AFBF’s recommendations, it does provide a path forward to integrate this emerging tool for American agriculture. “Farmers and ranchers can begin using a new tool in the toolbox, which allows their farming businesses to be more efficient, economical and environmentally friendly,” said AFBF director of congressional relations RJ Karney.
The new rule, which takes effect in late August, offers safety regulations for unmanned aircraft drones weighing less than 55 pounds that are conducting non-hobbyist operations.
AFBF President Zippy Duvall
A unanimous Supreme Court today ruled landowners may challenge the federal government whenever the Army Corps of Engineers tries improperly to regulate land with regulations designed to protect water.
Landowners have attempted many times to challenge Corps rulings known as jurisdictional determinations, but the government successfully argued that those determinations were not “final agency actions” and the lawsuits were dismissed. Now, when the Corps asserts jurisdiction over low spots that look more like land than water, it will have to do so with the knowledge that its jurisdictional determination can be tested in court. Continue reading