Archive for the ‘AFBF 2011’ Category

Let’s Play: New and Improved Ag Online Game Launched

The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture launched its new and enhanced version of “,” a free online interactive gaming platform, that focuses on third- through fifth-grade students. The new version offers more agriculture-related games and activities for kids coupled with additional educator resources.

“My American Farm” was developed to engage millions of youth, teachers and parents through unique educational experiences, educator resources and fun family activities in an online environment.

“One of the main things we tried to do was not only provide these games, but also provide resources and ways to search the site so educators can find information easily by subject matter and agricultural themes and topics,” said Curtis Miller, director of education for the foundation. “We also have fun family activities for when kids come home from school and they have that time on the computer.”

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Foundation for Agriculture Presents Awards

Colorado was one of six state Farm Bureaus that were recognized for outstanding financial support of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. The awards were presented during the Flapjack Fundraiser, a pancake breakfast at AFBF’s 92nd annual meeting last week.

State Farm Bureaus receiving the Scholar Award, a new award, are: Alabama, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Indiana and Nebraska. The Scholar Award is given to the six state Farm Bureaus with the highest total donations within their membership levels.

CFB Policy a Success at AFBF Annual Meeting

CFB President Don Shawcroft, Vice President Carlyle Currier, delegates Mike Mitchell and Phyllis Snyder capped a successful policy session at the annual American Farm Bureau Federation meeting on Tuesday.

The four successfully argued for policy forwarded to the delegate body by CFB delegates in November. CFB policy in the areas of elected officials, regulatory review and reform pertaining to the EPA, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Immigration was approved by the AFBF delegates.

Direct Payments Remain in Policy Book

It was supposed to be one of the biggest and most controversial issues in Farm Bureau policy this year. The showdown between states that supported the elimination of direct payments and those that favored keeping them was supposed to take up much time on the delegate floor.

Except that’s not what happened.

The much anticipated squabble over direct payments never really developed. The discussion  passed quickly with most delegates in favor of keeping them in the mix of farm programs in the next farm bill. The delegates easily passed a resolution that called for ” a strong and effective safety net that consists of  direct payments, crop insurance, and a simplified ACRE program.”

While the delegates refused to pull their support for direct payments, they did pass a policy stating that farmers must purchase crop insurance if they wish to be eligible for farm program benefits.

Yuma County Farm Bureau authored Colorado’s policy rejecting direct payments. President Nathan Weathers is not pleased with the short shrift given to that position as the delegate session.

“I’m really disappointed,” he said. “I think we missed a great opportunity to show both politicians and the public that we are committed to doing out part in helping to climb out of debt.”

Weathers says he heard from many producers at the Annual Meeting that still did not see the negative light that commodity payments put farmers and ranchers in.

“I heard so many people tell me that they ‘weren’t giving up their government payments’ I couldn’t believe it,” he said.

Iowa and Colorado Farm Bureau were two states that favored the elimination of the payments. Most southern suggested retaining them.

Heritage Foundation Warns Against Enviro Alarmism

When you take a big-picture view of the philosophies that are affecting environmental legislation and policy in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world, something really sticks out, said Robert Gordon, senior advisor for strategic outreach for the Heritage Foundation, speaking at an issues conference at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 92nd annual meeting.

The basic, underlying rationale driving much of the policymaking is that human beings are a blight on the Earth, and that the only way to preserve the planet is to make sure people are actively prevented from using resources, Gordon said. Otherwise, or so this viewpoint dictates, humans will inevitably “degrade and destroy those resources.”

But what should also stick out, he said, is that this rationale is deeply flawed.

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Delegates Urge Congressional Oversight of EPA

Asserting that the  Environmental Protection Agency is “implementing an aggressive regulatory program that burdens the nation’s farmers and ranchers,” delegates at the American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting today urged Congress to “pursue vigorous oversight” of the agency.

They cited a recent expansion in EPA regulatory actions aimed at agriculture that ignores farmers’ and ranchers’ “positive contributions to environmental protection.”

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Sec. Vilsack Adresses AFBF Members

In a surprise visit to the AFBF Annual Meeting, Ag Secretary Vilsack drew applause from the nation’s farmers and ranchers when he commented on his departments goals for the deregulation of Roundup Ready Alfalfa.

He said, “We’re trying to figure out, as difficult as it might be, is there a way in which we can assure that we have less interference with the capacity for folks to do what they want to do on their land? If you want to grow GMO crops you ought to be able to do that. If you want to grow identity preserved conventional you ought to be able to do that. If you want to be an organic farmer you ought to be able to do that.”

Vilsack also commented on the importance of estate tax reform in the recently passed tax extenders legislation.

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