Convention Headlines

Farm Bureau’s purpose ‘not complicated,’ just critical, Stallman tells Virginia farmers

The president of the American Farm Bureau Federation commended Farm Bureau producer members in Virginia for working together to benefit U.S. agriculture.

Bob Stallman spoke at a Nov. 28 breakfast at the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention in Chantilly. The event has as its theme “Freedom to Farm: Cultivating the American Dream,” and Stallman focused his remarks on “Cultivating the Farm Bureau Dream.”

“It’s not complicated, folks,” the Texas cattle and rice producer said, noting that the purpose of Farm Bureau is “to work together to do collectively what, individually, we would not be able to do. It’s clear to me that all of you here today are doing just that, day in and day out, even when things get a little heated.”

Stallman also congratulated Farm Bureau members on their work in support of a recently passed amendment to Virginia’s constitution to protect private property rights.

On the national scene, he said the AFBF looks forward to working with the Obama administration during the president’s second term and working with the 113th Congress. “Farm Bureau has a 90-year record of successfully working with both sides of the aisle to accomplish our policy goals, and we continue to pursue that success. The good thing about politics is that, regardless of party affiliation, everybody likes to eat.”

Of some concern during the lame-duck Congressional session is the need for a new farm bill. “I’m not certain about the prospects,” Stallman said, noting that representatives have said federal farm policy will be brought up. “When they say the issue will be brought up, it doesn’t mean they’re going to pass a five-year farm bill.”

Of greater concern, he said, is that the federal estate tax exemption stands to drop from $5 million to $1 million and that the tax rate could be 55 percent on Jan. 1 if lawmakers do not act soon.

AFBF continues to address federal regulatory disputes that stand to affect U.S. farms, Stallman said, citing the organization’s ongoing lawsuit regarding U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations for the six states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. AFBF attorneys delivered oral arguments last month about EPA violations of the Clean Water Act.

Supporters of the EPA’s total maximum daily load, or “pollution diet” for the bay watershed have alleged that farmers do not care about water quality in their communities or in the bay. That’s not true, Stallman said, and it’s not what’s driving the lawsuit. “This lawsuit is about the EPA exceeding their authority under the law.”

Stallman was elected AFBF president in 2000 and has served on the AFBF board since 1994. He is chairman of the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance and a past president of the Texas Farm Bureau.

With nearly 150,000 members in 88 county Farm Bureaus, VFBF is Virginia’s largest farmers’ advocacy group. Farm Bureau is a non-governmental, nonpartisan, voluntary organization committed to protecting Virginia’s farms and ensuring a safe, fresh and locally grown food supply. View more convention news as it becomes available at VaFarmBureau.org/NewsVideo/ConventionNewsroom.aspx.

Contact Greg Hicks, VFBF vice president of communications, at 804-241-4633.

 

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