The significance of American Farm Bureau policy discussion this year is that there are few changes, and the organization’s leader is fine with that.
Closing the group’s annual meeting, Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, told reporters that delegates decided to take a familiar approach to policy.
“We basically reaffirmed support for the position we had,” said Stallman, to begin the news conference that followed the close of the American Farm Bureau policy-setting session.
Referring to renewed farm bill debate in Congress, Stallman said the organization wants farmers to have as many choices as possible.
“We changed a few words, but we retain a lot of flexibility to adjust to whatever the process comes up with, and at the same time I think we can influence the process,” he said.
To maintain a labor force, Farm Bureau members want Congress to consider immigration reform soon.
“That’s figuring out a way to replace and/or streamline the current seasonal and temporary program and at the same time bring a lot of those that have been in the shadows with false documents and are not here legally out of the shadows and provide them opportunity through a visa to work,” Stallman explained.
Delegates reiterated their desire for federal agencies to avoid legislating through regulation, and in that regard, “all federal agencies should be held to the strictest interpretation of the law,” Stallman said.
Reiterating their continued call for an effective farm safety net, delegates also made clear they wish to see no caps on crop insurance premium subsidies.
Stallman downplayed the fact there was not much change to policies.
“The fact that we reaffirm policy that’s in place is just as important, because every year it’s a fresh slate; we start over every year, in essence,” said Stallman. “We may keep the same policies, but the fact that they’re reaffirmed is an important statement in itself.”