The leader of the American Farm Bureau Federation used his opening address to the group’s annual gathering to discuss the organization’s efforts to shape climate policy on Capitol Hill and through the regulatory process.
Speaking Sunday in Atlanta, AFBF President Zippy Duvall focused on the organization’s advocacy on issues ranging from working with food companies on sustainability targets to the group’s long-running involvement in efforts to define what constitutes a Water of the U.S. That involvement, he said, means producers can be “recognized for your achievements and treated as partners.”
In particular, Duvall said two coalitions AFBF co-founded — Farmers for a Sustainable Future and the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance — were being recognized as leaders in discussions that shape climate policy. FACA in particular, he said, has “established principles and made policy proposals to advance voluntary, market-driven approaches.
“And you know what? The alliance recommendations have not only guided climate discussions in D.C., they are the foundation of legislation and USDA programs that respect farmers,” Duvall said. “I personally cannot recall another time when I've heard so many leaders on both sides of the aisle acknowledge U.S. agriculture's leadership on sustainability.”
In addition to Farm Bureau, FACA counts ag groups like the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Farmers Union, and National Association of State Departments of Agriculture among its founding members. Several other ag and environmental organizations are members of the alliance.
Efforts through FACA and other alliances, Duvall told AFBF members, will “ensure you have the resources and respect you deserve.”
However, many of the environmental groups in FACA will likely stand opposed to AFBF’s lobbying efforts as the Biden administration seeks to define WOTUS. The organization was outspoken in its opposition to the Obama administration’s rulemaking and supported the repeal and replace efforts of the Trump administration. Now, Duvall says the Biden administration needs to produce an easy-to-understand rule.
“It is critical that this administration understands that we should not need a team of lawyers and consultants just to farm our land,” he said.
Duvall also plugged AFBF’s lobbying on behalf of infrastructure legislation, something he said was necessary to “invest in our roads, bridges, ports and waterways” as well as “bridge the great digital divide.”
“We are finally on our way to leveling the playing field for farmers, ranchers, rural hospitals, rural schools, and all rural Americans with a historic investment in broadband,” he said.
Farm Bureau’s convention runs through Tuesday, where the group’s delegates will comb through a long list of resolutions that will update the AFBF policy book.
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