Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Farmers from 50 states and Puerto Rico got down to business Tuesday and considered policy positions brought to the American Farm Bureau convention by Illinois Farm Bureau and others. See what's now on the books.
Ellis Grove farmer Richard Guebert Jr., president of the Illinois Farm Bureau, addresses fellow delegates participating in the AFBF business session Tuesday. (Photo by AFBF)
By Chris Magnuson and Mike Orso
Voting delegates at the 99th annual convention of the American Farm Bureau Federation, including 21 delegates from across Illinois, addressed several of the state organization’s priority issues.
“Our delegates successfully introduced several submittals on farm policy, Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), seed protection, property rights, environment and conservation issues,” said Richard Guebert, Jr., Illinois Farm Bureau president. “We expect Congress to debate and pass a farm bill in 2018. The policies adopted will better position us for those deliberations.”
In a press conference that closed out the AFBF Convention, Zippy Duvall, a Georgia farmer re-elected to another two-year term as AFBF president, told reporters delegate action "gives us the flexibility" to work with Congress on new multi-year farm and food legislation.
"We feel real good about where our policy book is," said Duvall, who reiterated his call for referring to a federal farm bill as a "food security bill."
IFB delegates also succeeded with adoption of new AFBF language to provide a floating conservation-oriented commodity loan program that increases loan rates, addresses conservation goals and satisfies the credit needs of beginning farmers.
“Farmers don’t utilize marketing loans like we previously did because the price levels are too low to be helpful,” said Dennis Green, an IFB delegate from Lawrence County. “The floating loan price, based on a five-year Olympic average, should make it more attractive for farmers as a cash-flow tool.”
IFB delegates also opposed any increase in the federal CRP acreage cap unless additional acres are tied to continuous sign up practices and the most environmentally sensitive ground. AFBF delegates adopted the Illinois amendment.
Additional Illinois polices adopted by national farmer-delegates included:
- Allowing farmers to sign up once for the duration of a federal farm bill assuming no changes in a farming operation
- Requiring seed for government program acres to be free of invasive species of weed seed, such as Palmer amaranth
- A new section on solar energy designed to protect the property rights of farmers and other landowners
AFBF delegates also approved a change to the organization’s bylaws that increases national organization dues by $1.00. Members will now pay $5.00 to AFBF.
“The additional revenue from a dues increase will provide resources to allow AFBF to maintain its prominence as the leading voice for agriculture,” said Guebert, who serves on the AFBF Executive Committee from the organization’s Midwest region.
The last AFBF member dues increase took place in 2002. The new AFBF dues structure begins in 2019.
Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.
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