Each January, voting delegates from all around the country gather at American Farm Bureau’s (AFBF) Annual Convention. Appropriately themed “New Frontiers,” this year’s gathering was held in Salt Lake City, Utah, last week. The convention is always an exciting opportunity to network with other farmers and ranchers from across the country. Year after year, I am amazed at how much we can learn about agriculture from our peers in other regions of the country. Although each state has a unique agricultural landscape, at the end of the day we always come away with a renewed sense of unity and passion for our industry.
At Farm Bureau, we’re incredibly proud of our grassroots policy development process, which is unlike any other organization in the world. This process is a deliberate, year-long exercise that results in sound priorities for our organization. The policies adopted by voting delegates at our state and national conventions will guide us as we navigate legislative and regulatory proposals in 2024.
This year brings a new slate of opportunities and challenges in the agricultural policy space. During the national convention, voting delegates took a deep dive into strengthening our energy and property rights policies. We continue to see an onslaught of green energy policies and incentives from the Biden Administration that seek to make America less energy independent, and our members have serious concerns about the rapid retirement of dispatchable energy sources, such as coal and natural gas. They believe this unrealistic reliability on intermittent energy sources such as wind and solar will decrease grid reliability, ratepayer affordability and economic vitality and consume prime farm and ranch land.
Property rights are also fundamental to our values at Missouri Farm Bureau. Time and again, we see landowner’s rights come under attack, and MOFB stands ready to defend them. Along with AFBF and other state Farm Bureaus, we are pushing back against proposals from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Department of Energy (DOE) that usurp state authority and fast-track federal permitting for mega transmission line projects to fulfill the Administration’s green energy goals.
While we are grateful Congress approved a one-year extension to the farm bill late in 2023, passing a modernized farm bill is critical this year. Since the 2018 Farm Bill was passed, the world has changed. Conflicts around the globe, rampant inflation, and the pandemic brought significant challenges and changes to the agriculture supply chain. Food security is a critical part of our national security, and the farm bill helps ensure the United States continues to enjoy a safe and abundant food supply.
MOFB is proud to carry the priorities of our members to the AFBF Annual Convention, and this year was no exception. We look forward to working alongside AFBF to advance these and other priorities in the coming year.