President's Column for February

We Need Every One of You

Hello from sunny Southern California!  Well not quite but I did recently return from the 96th Annual Meeting of the American Farm Bureau Federation, and it was a terrific conference.  From sessions focused on the Food Safety Modernization Act to a keynote speech by Navy Seal Rorke Denver, the gathering was entertaining and educational.

What I found most inspiring however was AFBF’s President Bob Stallman’s remarks during the opening session.  He reminded us that the federal government has a huge impact on the success, or failure of agriculture and that AFBF has several policy priorities for this coming year.  These  include finding a solution for immigration reform to bring stability to the agricultural work force, revising endangered species rules so that they take into account the human element, amending tax laws so that families who inherit farms and ranches are not penalized with exorbitant financial burdens due to the Death Tax, eliminating barriers to trade to encourage more markets for our agricultural products, and perhaps most important – ditching the rule by blocking the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Waters of the U.S. regulation.

As the New Mexico legislative session heats up, New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau has legislative priorities at the state level as well.  These include defeating GMO labeling attempts that confuse consumers and cast some agricultural products in a negative light, amending the Right to Farm Act to provide stronger protections for New Mexico’s food producers, and curtailing potential legislation stemming from the opinion Gary King issued when he was Attorney General that would allow trespassing on private lands by anglers and hunters. 

In all of these things, we need you.  We need you to comment when the United States Fish and Wildlife Service wishes to list another species as endangered.  We need you to call your local lawmaker when worker’s comp laws are proposed.  We need you to call your congressman when over-reaching federal agencies attempt to restrict your private property rights.  We need every one of you.  Every alfalfa grower, chile farmer and dairy owner.  Every rancher, winery manager and pecan producer.  We need everyone on board so that we can be as effective as possible.  Renew your membership, invite a neighbor to join, and recruit members at the feed store!

I’d like to close with a quote from Mr. Stallman’s speech that closely reflects the goals we have at NMF&LB:  “Farm Bureau has a vision for the future.  Central to that vision is a strong farm economy. That vision includes abundant, nutritious food. A vision where consumers understand modern farming is a business that includes huge risks and tough choices, and they trust you to do it right.   And it’s a vision in which American agriculture is positioned to feed the billions more people who will join us on the globe over the next couple of decades.”