2011 Federal Legislative Priorities

Maintain a Strong Safety Net for Farmers

For a small investment, family farms have a safety net, the environment is improved, specialty crop growers and livestock producers gain new opportunities and rural communities are helped with development projects. As Congress begins to draft a new farm bill later this year and in 2012, Farm Bureau must advocate in support of extending many of the concepts from the 2008 farm bill, which has worked well for farmers. Farm program baseline funds should not be diverted outside the farm bill. A new farm bill should maintain a strong safety net.

A New Direction for Dairy

A new direction in dairy policy is needed to reduce milk price volatility. Recent years have seen both historical but short-term highs and devastating longer-term lows in milk prices. Farm Bureau has recognized that dairy price support and the Milk Income Loss Contract programs have not worked and that the organization will look for new policy options that will better serve farmers. Farm Bureau will seek to change and improve dairy policy either as part of a new farm bill or as stand-alone legislation.

Grow Agricultural Trade Opportunities

Three important trade agreements negotiated several years ago have not been approved by Congress. These three agreements with South Korea, Panama and Columbia, are important for American and Ohio agriculture. It is time to move these trade agreements forward.  The U.S. government must also continue important talks with otherpotential trade partners to expand additional trade opportunities.

Regulatory Oversight and Reduce Additional Regulatory Burdens

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency currently is pushing a series of new regulations forward which will impact Ohio farmers.  These pesticide, air and water quality proposals will place new costly rules on farmers and rural communities. Farm Bureau will engage with the agency to reduce the impact of any new rules if possible or legally engage if other options fail.

Tax Policy and Budget

With successful passage of legislation late in 2010 to extend estate tax exemptions for two years, Farm Bureau will need to continue to educate Congress on the importance of this tax relief and ask for these exemptions to be made permanent. We support elimination of the estate tax. Its impact on succession planning for family farms isdevastating.

Food Quality and Safety

Food safety is an important national investment with many benefits.  With the passage of new food safety legislation late in 2010, Farm Bureau will engage to assure the implantation of this new law will not adversely burden farmers. We will continue to work to improve our food safety system based on sound science, and must educate consumers to increase understanding of the factors that impact food price and quality. We have the safest, most abundant food supply in the world; let’s keep it that way.

Energy and Transportation

We support improvements to our nation’s transportation infrastructure and a national comprehensive energy policy. We must work to control energy costs; promote energy-related technologies that provide opportunities for agriculture and expand U.S. energy investment in off-shore drilling, nuclear, clean coal technology, renewable energy, biofuels and more.