KFB Comment Column: "Advocate, Educate, and Generate"

Posted on Dec 16, 2019

As we come to the end of the year, there’s a lot to be thankful for. This organization has celebrated its centennial throughout 2019 and we look forward to the opportunities a New Year and decade hold for us on the farm and in our rural communities.

While we faced challenges on the farm, we did see corn and soybean yields remain relatively strong, the 2019 winter wheat crop was up 27 percent from last year, and livestock production continued to be a very strong part of our ag economy.

We will likely maintain the $5.9 billion level of farm cash receipts, and net farm income is expected to rise, nationally, by 10 percent in 2019, according to the USDA.

In recognizing the positive side of the passing year on the farm, it is often much easier to see problems rather than opportunities. But farm families have always been optimistic.

However, concerns still remain related to trade, lack of adequate broadband connectivity in many rural areas, ag labor reform and the coming budget session of the General Assembly, to name a few.

But we will remain diligent in our efforts to advocate for farmers when it comes to these issues and anything related to the ag industry that betters our way of life and ability to meet the food, fuel and fiber needs of this state, and our nation.

It’s important, as we look to the future, that we remember these three words; “Advocate, Educate, and Generate.”

As Kentucky’s largest ag organization, it’s critical that we continue to be strong advocates for our industry in order to keep our farms sustainable for future generations. We must educate a growing number of people, who are far removed from the farm, and share with them the correct information about agricultural production and where their food comes from. And we must help to generate new opportunities to encourage farm families and a new generation to stay on the farm.

As the KFB Annual Meeting came to a close, our Board of Directors approved our priority issues for 2020.

We take these priorities very seriously as we meet with legislative leaders, at all levels, to let them know where our organization stands on these issues and all that is important to agriculture.

It’s imperative that we get trade agreements passed and find new market opportunities to generate the revenue needed to keep the family farms across this state in business.

Equally as important is the need to have adequate broadband service reach all points throughout Kentucky, to shore up rural development efforts and bring advanced technology to all citizens of the Commonwealth.

We must move forward with acceptable ag labor reform if we are expected to keep a valid workforce on the farm.

And we have to impress upon our legislators the importance of maintaining our agricultural tax exemptions and the importance of an adequately funded Department of Agriculture, as they move through the budget process in the coming session.

The coming year will no doubt bring its share of challenges, but if we work together, we can face these concerns with the kind of optimism inherent to farm families.

 

Eddie Melton, First Vice President
Sharon Furches, Second Vice president
Kentucky Farm Bureau