MFBF President Kevin Paap
Many have started planting this year’s crops and are busy caring for their newborn animals. No matter who you are, what your occupation is or where you live, spring is a wonderful time of year. In agriculture, it is a time of excitement; a time to put in place the plans thought about all winter; a time to put your seeds in the ground and put your faith in God to provide the weather to produce a bountiful crop.
With spring comes more vehicles and machinery on our roads. Farm equipment is much wider and slower than automobiles. Drivers, please watch out for our farm equipment on the roadways, allow plenty of space and be aware of those sudden left turns into farm fields.
Farmers, please make sure that the slow moving vehicle emblem is clean and bright, turn on your head lights and safety flashers, use your turn signals and help watch out for the other vehicles. When handling seed and crop protection products, please read and follow all safety precautions on the label, including wearing the proper personal protection equipment.
Many of you have already participated in planting the Farm Bureau policy implementation seeds. County presidents and key county leaders attended the Council of County Presidents meeting to discuss our legislative priorities and upcoming programs. Many of you attended our Day on the Hill events at our State Capitol to engage on buffer clarification, property taxes, transportation infrastructure and other Farm Bureau issues.
Farm Bureau has been active in Washington, D.C. discussing the lower commodity prices and the greater need of a safety net and risk management tools. Lower prices will affect the net farm income for all farmers and ranchers, but will have an even greater impact on new and young farmers who have not built up equity, are renting a significant portion of their land and have equipment to make payments on. We have reminded our elected officials that approving the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will raise overall farm income without adding to government spending, that the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule and Endangered Species Act puts additional costs and burdens on property owners and the importance of establishing a nation-wide labeling standard for genetically modified food to avoid a patchwork of individual state laws which will increase food costs to consumers.
We must continue to engage with our policy makers through town hall meetings, letters, emails and especially those cell phone calls from the tractor seat while in the fields! I encourage you to share your personal stories so that they gain a better understanding of how the laws and regulations can or are impacting your farms and communities. We all need to work together to implement our Farm Bureau policies at the local, state and national level.
Thank you for your time, our Farm Bureau presence has been noticed in Washington, D.C. and in St Paul! Remember to be safe on the roads and on your farms and ranches.