WASHINGTON, Jan. 13, 2016 - More than 350 delegates of the American Farm Bureau Federation gathered in Orlando, Florida, Tuesday to formalize policy positions for the nation’s largest agricultural organization. One of the most contentious debates during the meeting came on a cotton issue that has been making headlines for a few months, with delegates officially supporting a proposal to make cottonseed eligible for farm price supports. On other issues, delegates voted:

  • To support a voluntary country-of-origin labeling program, so long as it is compliant with WTO regulations.
  • Against an organic checkoff that is not commodity-specific.
  • To support voluntary risk management products for poultry growers that would provide assistance during disease outbreaks.
  • Against transportation of feral hogs. Landowners were encouraged to “eradicate feral hogs on their land by any means possible.”
  • In a not so thinly veiled jab at EPA’s efforts on the WOTUS rule, delegates voted to establish a new policy opposing governmental attempts to sway public opinion regarding rules that are open for public comment, by social media or other tactics.
  • To reaffirm their support for flexibility in the H-2A program that would allow workers to seek employment from more than one farmer and called on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
  • For a higher priority to be placed on ag science, passing a resolution "calling for moving agricultural research to the forefront of American science." They also came out in support of an increased investment in research both in amount and style of funding - grants, government assisted financing, public-private partnerships, etc. 

Three recommendations were sent to the Farm Bureau board of directors: a resolution of opposition to an animal rights bill in Massachusetts; one calling for a study on the Dairy Margin Protection Program to help shape future dairy policy; and another calling on Congress to limit federal entities, including the Department of Interior, from employing charges like terrorism against producers using accepted management techniques.

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