News - National Issues Loom Large
- December 22, 2009
Pressing national issues such as health care reform, climate change legislation and immigration reform are prominent on KFB’s policy agenda for 2010. The organization concluded its 90th annual meeting on December 5, with voting delegates adopting policy for 2010 and the Board of Directors approving condensed lists of priority issues.
KFB opposes the cap-and-trade legislation under consideration in Congress because its mandates would adversely impact the farm economy by driving up the cost of energy and inputs. The approved policy states “climate change mandates, such as carbon taxes and cap-and-trade policies must not adversely affect agriculture.”
Kentucky’s largest farm organization continues to advocate health care reform that will stabilize the market, encourage competition and increase consumer choice. The organization supports policies that allow association health plans and contain costs through tort reform.
KFB also continues to place a high priority on reforming the H-2A program for migrant workers.
At the state level, the list of priorities includes maintaining the funding level for Kentucky’s historic agricultural development initiative that utilizes tobacco settlement funds, ongoing implementation of energy policy that encourages the use of renewable fuels, plus the creation of a Livestock Care Standards Board which would establish livestock care guidelines. The latter issue is to assure consumers that livestock and poultry producers continue to operate under approved practices.
Animal care, in fact, was a prominent topic of discussion both during the business session and during a special conference conducted by KFB’s Animal Care Issues Task Force. This movement is in response to continuing attacks on the animal agriculture industry from radical animal rights organizations.
Other state legislative priorities include:
*Funding for Murray State University’s Breathitt Veterinary Center.
*Continued funding of the Soil Erosion and Water Quality Cost-Share Program.
*Ensure that steep increases in property taxes are subject to voter referendum.
*Protect the rights of landowners when dealing with regional planning issues, eminent domain laws or smart growth initiatives.
*Support the rural secondary and county road aid programs and continuation of the 22.2 percent allocation of the state gasoline tax revenue for rural roads.
KFB President Mark Haney noted the enormity of some of the tasks at hand.
“We have some very crucial issues on our plate as we move into the new year” he said. “Some issues focus on protecting our farm economy; others relate to strengthening the farm economy. These are issues at the very core of our organization.”