News - KFB approves policy and priorities for 2014
- December 11, 2013
Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) concluded its 94th annual meeting here today with its Board of Directors approving condensed lists of priority issues for 2014. The organization’s delegates adopted policy positions at its business session on Friday.
Most of KFB’s chief concerns are ongoing, including maintaining funding for the state’s agricultural development initiative and opposing any attempt to freeze the state real property tax rate. Kentucky’s rural road fund and hefty wildlife population were other topics given top attention.
KFB calls for continuing the 22.2 percent allocation of state gasoline tax revenue for rural roads. This longstanding policy has come to the forefront due to discussions about changing the formula.
“Our need to transport farm commodities to the marketplace safely and quickly has never been more vital,” explained KFB President Mark Haney, who operates an orchard, roadside market and cattle farm in Pulaski County. “The road fund also ensures that the economy of rural Kentucky remains a key component to the overall strength of the Commonwealth.”
The huge deer population has become a nuisance to Kentucky farmers, prompting KFB to explore legislative solutions.
“We’re going to take a more proactive approach during this legislative session,” said Haney. “We’re still developing a strategy, with the aim of getting something done to reduce the deer herd. It’s a statewide problem.”
Tax policies topped the list on the state legislative agenda, with emphasis on a statement expressing continued support for preserving the current property tax law which limits annual revenue from property taxes to no more than a four percent hike, plus new growth. This provision was a key part of House Bill 44 which KFB worked hard to see enacted in 1979.
KFB also wants to ensure that the state sales tax exemption for production agriculture is not impacted by any tax reform package. Additionally, it has policy to extend the exemption to production items used in the equine and poultry industries.
“The exemption is very important to the bottom lines of our farmers,” said Haney. “Another aspect to consider is the potential impact on the Kentucky businesses that sell these inputs to farmers. Eliminating this exemption would likely prompt many farmers to make their purchases from businesses in surrounding states.”
Tobacco taxes are on the radar, with opposition to any increases or regulatory requirements that would put Kentucky at a disadvantage with surrounding states.
Other fiscal priorities include continued funding of the Soil Erosion and Water Quality Cost-Share Program and new facilities for the Breathitt Veterinary Center in Hopkinsville.
Among the national issues is a farm bill plus reforms to the H-2A farm worker program to make it more reliable, economical and accessible.
With more than 475,000 member families statewide, Kentucky Farm Bureau is the state’s largest general farm organization. Approximately 1,500 members attended KFB’s 94th annual meeting, December 4-7, to recognize this year’s individual and organizational achievements as well as adopt policy for 2014. To view all the updates released from this year’s annual meeting, visit KYFBNewsroom.com.