AFBF president: 2018 a great year for ag policy

President Zippy Duvall outlines Farm Bureau's successes during the organization's 100th Annual Convention in New Orleans.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall delivers his annual address to thousands of farmers Sunday in New Orleans. (AFBF photo)

By Deana Stroisch

Although it was a tough year on the farm, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said 2018 was one of the most productive agriculture policy years in the organization’s history.

Duvall pointed to successes in tax reform, regulatory reform and passage of a new, five-year farm bill.

“You know who made it happen? It was you. It was the emails and phone calls. It was the trips to Washington. It was going to town hall meetings. … You are the power and strength of this organization,” he said.

Duvall’s remarks came during his 45-minute annual address at the 100th AFBF Annual Convention in New Orleans.

Duvall said the Trump administration has undone 28 regulations – almost half of which were related to agriculture. He said 50 more remain in the works.

“WOTUS was a big one,” Duvall said, noting the five-year battle to reverse the rule proposed and finalized under President Barack Obama’s administration. “

He urged farmers to submit comments on the new Clean Water Rule. 

Video: Duvall says 2018 will go down as one of the most productive agricultural policy years in U.S. history. 

Looking ahead to this year, Duvall cited farm labor trade, infrastructure and ag research as some key issues AFBF will address.

“With all this discussion about the wall and all this discussion about immigration reform, we’re going to try to seize the moment,” Duvall said. “We’ve got to solve the biggest problem that faces American farmers – that’s farm labor.”

He said the trade war with China “is going to be a long one.” AFBF continues to support the president’s efforts.

“The runway of our patience is going to be determined by the financial situations on our farm. And we went into this battle very weak,” Duvall said. “We’re going to hang with him. We encourage him to get a fast solution to it.”

He said farmers appreciate the trade mitigation package, although it “in no way makes us whole.”

Duvall also reminisced about how AFBF got its start in 1919.

“We always talk about this organization working from the bottom up. It started from the bottom up,” he said. “The most important people in Farm Bureau are the county Farm Bureaus and their boards of directors.”

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