Five-Year Farm Bill with True Reform
The nine-month extension of the 2008 Farm Bill until September 2013 leaves consumers and producers with little long-term security or stability. The work done by the previous Congress indicates true reform is attainable and programs can focus on providing a strong safety net while minimizing the potential for farm programs to affect production decisions. Farm Bureau will continue to work toward passage of a five-year bill that allows farmers the flexibility to plant acres in response to market demand; allows for insurance that is available for all crops to be purchased to protect individual risk; consolidatesbut maintains conservation programs; and retains ag research and specialty crop programs. In addition, a new direction in dairy policy is needed to protect against milk price volatility. Recent years have seen both historical but short-term highs and devastating longer-term lows in milk prices. Farm Bureau recognizes that dairy price support and the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) programs have not worked and the organization will look for new policy options that will better serve farmers.
Food Quality and Safety
Food safety is an important national priority and Farm Bureau will continue to engage on this issue as the Food Safety Modernization Act is implemented. OFBF will work to ensure all rules dealing with the growing, harvesting, packaging and holding of produce are based on sound science. The nation’s food safety system should ensure an abundant, safe supply of fruits and vegetables to consumers while minimizing the burden to farmers and producers. Farm Bureau will engage our members during the rulemaking process to ensure that Ohio farmers’ needs are considered.
Labor and Immigration
Comprehensive immigration legislation that creates a market-based, flexible agricultural worker structure remains a priority for Farm Bureau. The reform, which ideally would replace the H-2A temporary and seasonal agricultural worker program, must offer protection and stability for employers and portability and fair wages for workers.
Reduce Additional Regulatory Burdens
As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency continues to push a series of new regulations regarding pesticide use as well as air and water quality standards, Farm Bureau will work to ensure a minimum impact and burden on Ohio farmers. Attempts by U.S. EPA to increase authority over navigable waters through guidance will continue to be opposed. In addition, if the U.S. Department of Labor attempts to revisit on-farm youth labor standards, Farm Bureau will work cooperatively with them to ensure the rules protect our young farmers without restricting their ability to actively engage and be employed on farms.