Congressional Tour... Nearly 200 meet with state's delegationPosted on Mar 2, 2012
All eight members of Kentucky’s Congressional delegation were on hand for the legislative breakfast at the Holiday Inn Washington Capitol Hotel. Most made at least a brief mention of the election and what could (from their respective views) be at stake. There also was plenty of discussion about such pressing agriculture issues as the farm bill, the federal deficit and several regulatory proposals that could impact farm production.
The agenda included briefing sessions, tours to popular sites and visits to legislative offices on Capitol Hill. As is the tradition, the concluding event was a question-and-answer session with Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul. That session was dominated by a discussion about soaring fuel costs; the cause, effect and potential remedies.
Senator McConnell also reaffirmed his commitment to abolishing the estate tax. Paul reaffirmed his objection to burdensome government regulations that hinder businesses.
The KFB members were told it’s unlikely that a farm bill will clear Congress this year -- but much progress in the process is expected. Some of the Republican members of the delegation decried the Obama Administration’s proposals for regulating youth farm labor practices. “That’s going to be a big issue in the months ahead,” said KFB National Affairs Director L. Joe Cain, who described the overall tone of the lawmakers as “pretty upbeat.”
The youth farm labor issue involves the Department of Labor’s proposed rule mandating that those under 16 could only work on a farm if it’s “wholly owned” by a parent.
The Republicans also advised the farmers to keep an eye on several environmental regulatory issues, especially the Environmental Protection Agency’s effort to regulate all waterways under the Clean Water Act.
AFBF President Bob Stallman attended the breakfast to give a welcome address. Several AFBF staffers participated in the briefing session.
Among the attendees was the winner of KFB’s 2011 Communications Award for a print journalist, Kristi McCabe of The Farmer’s Pride. She provided excellent coverage of the event via a front-page story, sidebar article and a personal column in the March 7 issue of “The Farmer’s Pride.”