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News - KFB concludes 92nd annual meeting with adoption of new policy

  • December 06, 2011

Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) concluded its 92nd annual meeting with voting delegates adopting policy for 2012 and the Board of Directors approving condensed lists of priority issues. Federal legislative issues such as farm commodity programs, environmental regulations and farm labor laws were prominent on the list.

Kentucky’s largest farm organization has placed a high priority on the federal farm bill which is on the Congressional agenda for 2012. Kentucky farmers are calling for a policy that will continue to provide an economic safety net for agriculture with an emphasis on crop insurance, conservation, rural development and research and education.

KFB continues to advocate healthcare reform that will stabilize the market, encourage competition and increase consumer choice. KFB also continues to place a high priority on reforming the H-2A program for migrant farm 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 and maintaining sales tax exemptions for production agriculture.

Other state legislative priorities include:
*Funding for the Breathitt Veterinary Center in Hopkinsville
*Continued funding of the Soil Erosion and Water Quality Cost-Share Program
*Ensure that steep increases in property taxes are subject to voter referendum
*Support for the state’s career and technical education programs

“2012 promises to be another busy year for our public policy program of work,” said KFB President Mark Haney, a Pulaski County farmer. “Our broad range of policy positions are aimed at strengthening our farm economy and providing farm families with essential programs and services. But with a difficult economic climate at both the national and state levels of government, it’s extremely important to set priorities.”

In regard to national farm policy, KFB will be working to protect from budget cuts conservation programs on working farmland along with other federal programs that directly impact farm production. And it joins with American Farm Bureau Federation in opposition to the U.S. Labor Department’s proposed changes to youth farm labor regulations. The proposal, which currently is under review, could prohibit many youth from working on a farm.

Speaking at KFB’s business session earlier in the day, U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell was sharply critical of the Labor Department’s proposal, saying the new regulations “defy common sense.” He noted that the proposed guidelines could go so far as to prohibit a teenager from mowing the lawn or operating an electric drill on a farm.

KFB also is hoping to preserve full funding for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQUIP) that provides financial and technical assistance to help farmers reduce soil erosion and protect water and air quality. The popular program is administered through the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“Environmental programs like EQUIP and our state water quality cost-share program have been instrumental in improving our farming operations and protecting our natural resources,” Haney said. “The results affirm their effectiveness.”

With more than 500,000 member families statewide, Kentucky Farm Bureau is the state’s largest farm organization. Approximately 1,700 members attended KFB’s 92nd annual meeting, November 30 through December 3, to recognize this year’s individual and organizational achievements as well as adopt policy for 2012.

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