ATLANTA — Farmer and rancher delegates to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 103rd convention have adopted policies to guide the organization’s work in 2022.
Key topics ranged from milk pricing and beef market transparency to urban agriculture.
“Delegates from all 50 state and Puerto Rico agricultural offices came together to demonstrate the power of grassroots leadership,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “The stated policies will guide Farm Bureau in its mission to champion farmers and ranchers and build a sustainable future of safe and abundant food, fiber and renewable fuels for our entire nation and the world.”
Delegates re-elected Duvall and Vice President Scott VanderWal to their fourth terms.
Longstanding frustration over imbalances in the meat industry has led to calls for greater transparency in livestock markets. During this complex discussion, it was determined that while government should play a role in increasing the share of negotiated sales while respecting regional differences, government mandates setting cash sales percentages should not be used to achieve this objective, as it would have a negative impact on cow/calf producers.
As farmers’ union struggles continue, delegates approved additional policies that build on existing AFBF policies regarding the need to stabilize employees and reform the guest worker program.
Delegates updated the biofuels policy to include renewable diesel. The addition recognizes the innovation and potential that sustainable biofuels provide environmental benefits while creating opportunities for American farmers.
As farmers and ranchers continue to increase their reliance on digital technologies, delegates voted to support raising the standard for federal broadband projects to at least 100 Mbps for uploads and downloads.
Montana Farm Bureau pushed three policies through the process. The policies addressed predator depredation on livestock, the necessary mitigation and prevention of coal seam fires, and state property taxation.
Next year, MFBF intends to bring back an improved version of its resolution dealing with increasing USDA research funding levels for US-grown organic foods.
“The 2022 policy session went very well and Montana’s policy proposals were successful,” said MFBF President Cyndi Johnson, who represented Montana with Vice President Gary. Heibertshausen. “There were 350 delegates representing 50 states and Puerto Rico, and we were all excited to once again work together in person to shape American Farm Bureau policies. We had several opportunities to meet and network as presidents and vice presidents around the world.We often find common ground in problems and develop lifelong friendships.