President's Column: Preparing Ourselves to Be Effective AdvocatesPosted on Mar 4, 2021
The 2021 KFB Presidents and Vice Presidents Conference was the first in-person gathering we have experienced as an organization in nearly a year. And to say it was a great day when we all first met is an understatement.
While we followed all required COVID-19 protocol to ensure safety, just having those volunteer leaders present was so gratifying to me.
Each year during this meeting, we try to relay valuable information to these county leaders that will be a benefit to them as they go back to their communities.
The strength of our organization lies within those individual counties that collectively make up the strongest ag advocacy organization in this state, and one of the biggest in the country.
With that said, having a handle on the issues that affect our agriculture industry and rural communities is critical to our mission. Having policy to stand on fortifies our message. It allows us to have a seat at the table when these issues are discussed at all levels of government.
Because of that importance, I conveyed to this gathering that we have some work to do. As a new administration gets settled in Washington, we are already seeing some issues to address. It’s not that we don’t have a handle on these concerns or have a say in the game, but there are some areas where our policy is vague or absent altogether concerning some of the ag-related matters we are about to face.
An example of that are the discussions taking place over climate change and some of the ideas that are being touted to address this issue. We simply need more supporting policy to fully advocate from an agricultural standpoint, and it starts with discussing it with each other.
That is how we build policy in Farm Bureau. We bring forth ideas of how we will support our industry, our rural communities and the members who will be affected by any governmental actions that might come our way, whether it’s about climate change or any other matter.
In doing so, having clear and concise policy will benefit our advocacy efforts in a major way.
I don’t have to remind you that, when it comes to climate change discussions, we have heard for years how much damage the ag industry does to the environment. But we all know that isn’t true. In fact, the agriculture industry already plays a major role in controlling our carbon footprint on the environment through such practices as no-till and minimal-till production, crop biotechnology, the use of cover crops, and water resource management. Farm families remain the true good stewards of the land.
We must have our voices heard on this and other topics that are related to our farms and rural communities. Having policy that leaves no doubt of where we stand gives us a foot up when making our case.
As we move forward through the coming weeks and months, we will keep you informed of these types of issues, and as we continue our policy development efforts, let’s keep in mind what areas we need to shore up, and what we need to create altogether. Our organization and industry will be better for it.
Mark Haney, President
Kentucky Farm Bureau