Presidents Column | Our Advocacy Efforts Serve as the Strongest Tool - Kentucky Farm Bureau

Presidents Column | Our Advocacy Efforts Serve as the Strongest Tool

Posted on Feb 16, 2024
Kentucky Farm Bureau President Eddie Melton

Our Advocacy Efforts Serve as the Strongest Tool

As we move forward into 2024, a lot is going on from an advocacy standpoint. A new General Assembly session is in full swing, and we have just finished adopting policies and priorities at the American Farm Bureau Federation annual convention.

We are also looking to keep our priorities at Kentucky Farm Bureau in front of lawmakers and leaders within our agricultural industry to support our farm family members, the rural communities they call home, and an industry that feeds us all.

In doing so, it takes all of us, as one collective organization to make our voices heard when it comes to issues on the farm and challenges agriculture continually faces.

Being a budget year during this current legislative session, there are many wants and needs from an untold number of organizations looking to get a piece of the budgetary pie.

And while we respect that, there are those situations that we feel require immediate attention.

A good example of that is the need for more riverport funding, which is one of KFB’s top priorities in 2024.

Kentucky is home to more inland navigable waterways than any other state in the continental U.S. Because of this tremendous waterway system, numerous industries, not just agriculture, have a unique advantage to move goods in and out of the state in a more economical way that is more environmentally friendly.

The riverport system is the lifeblood of these water highways and keeping them updated to handle the volume of goods coming into the state and out to locations throughout the country and around the world is quite simply critical to our economy.

We need to view riverport funding as an investment that will pay long-term dividends to the state’s economy.

Many of these riverports haven’t had major renovations or expansions in decades and we feel, as an organization, the time is right to support their infrastructure needs. It would benefit the entire state in one way or another.

Aside from the budget, another important KFB priority is the support of lowering the acreage requirement for establishing an agricultural district.

These districts are designed to protect our best agricultural land for production purposes and to keep it from being used for nonagricultural purposes.

The current minimum acreage to establish an agricultural district is 250 acres. By lowering these acreage requirements, our organization feels it will level the playing field for young or beginning farmers to get started in their industry.

We need to support, in any way, this next generation of farm families if we are expected to continue to produce the needed food, fuel, and fiber needs of this country and the world.

One other issue that is a priority for all of agriculture is the need to get a farm bill passed early in the year. This piece of legislation is the single most important bill for the ag industry and while we are grateful for the extension passed late last year, a new bill is a must for farm families.

At the end of the day, our advocacy efforts serve as the strongest tool we have in getting the needed support for farm families, rural communities, and our entire agriculture industry; an industry none of us can do without.

Eddie Melton, President

Kentucky Farm Bureau


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