2024 Priority Issues

The Arizona Farm Bureau is committed to finding opportunities to embed our policy into legislation and regulation. Over the next year, we will focus our lobbying and government relations efforts on the following priority areas:

Protecting Agriculture’s Access to Water and Power: Water Use is not Water Waste

    • Colorado River: Continue outreach on and surface solutions for challenges faced by shortages on the Colorado River, we will:
      1. Remain engaged in the post 2026 consultation.  
      2. Equip irrigation districts and other eligible entities to participate in funding programs through the Bureau of Reclamation, USDA, and other available resources.
      3. Advocate for funding programs that will keep agricultural economies and communities afloat.
      4. Oppose efforts to transfer on-river agricultural entitlements of the Colorado River to off-river municipalities. 
    • Rural Groundwater: Lead the way in bringing together rural water users to find proactive solutions to Arizona’s rural groundwater challenges, upholding the principles set forth in our policy as articulated by the Rural Groundwater Working Group report.
    • Find ways to encourage responsible water use consistent with the needs of agricultural and other economic drivers in rural Arizona. 
    • Management Areas: Advocate for improvements to the subsequent Active Management Areas and Irrigation Non-Expansion Areas regulatory framework. AZFB will work through the legislative process advocating for improvement to both AMA’s and INA’s and ensure subsequent AMA’s and INA’s are user friendly.  
    • WOTUS: Continue to advocate through the appropriate venue to mitigate the impacts of WOTUS.  We will stay engaged and informed as WOTUS is challenged in the courts and ensure our membership remains informed.  

    The Farm Bill 

    • Overarching Principles:
      1. Maintain current funding levels and a unified farm bill that includes nutrition programs and farm programs together; 
      2. Prioritize risk management tools that include federal crop insurance and commodity programs;
      3. Expand crop insurance to cover more specialty crops
      4. Ensure adequate USDA staffing and resources to provide technical assistance.
    • Making Risk Management Work for the West: When revising disaster assistance programs, advocate for safety net programs that recognize regional differences such as ongoing drought, widespread use of irrigation, and specialty crops. 
    • Wolf Act: As part of the Farm Bill, pass the Wolf Act legislation that increases wolf depredation compensation and establishes a pay for presence formula so that it adequately addresses the impacts that introduction of this species has had on cattle and the continued success of Arizona’s ranchers.

     Arizona Department of Agriculture

    • Resources: Advocate for a department with adequate staffing and resources to fulfill its critical mission of keeping agricultural products safe for consumers.
    • Meat Processing: Continue to find opportunities to expand livestock producer access to locally based State and USDA inspected processing facilities, including through the Cooperative Interstate Shipping Agreement. 
    • Bovine Trichomoniasis: Work in coordination with the Arizona Department of Agriculture to address industry concerns consistent with Arizona Farm Bureau policies. 
    • Agricultural Seed Standards: Work with the Arizona Department of Agriculture to support testing and germinating standards of all agricultural seeds.  

     State and Federal Lands: 

    • State Land Leases: Work with the State Land office and Office of the Governor to protect agriculture leases on state land. 
    • Public Lands Grazing: Continue communication with federal agencies about the need to protect and facilitate grazing for optimal resource management and food security.
    • Fire Response: Develop a strategy to work with state and federal agencies to optimize wildfire response by moving away from “managed fire” strategy and toward full suppression. Improve recovery programs that minimize the financial and physical burdens of fires on ranches.
    • Recreational Damage: Continue to work closely with the newly established OHV legislative study committee, the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the US Forest Service, the State Land Department, and other land management agencies to promote good neighbor etiquette, prevent damage to public lands, and improve the public’s relationship with public lands ranchers. 

     Ag Labor

    • Visa Reform and H-2A: Work with our Congressional delegation to bring forth reasonable and meaningful reform to agricultural labor visas. Oppose legislation that does not provide for a reasonable competitive wage, exposes farm employers to extensive additional legal liability, fails to include year-round visas, or unfairly imposes E-Verify to the competitive disadvantage of agriculture. 

     Ballot Initiative Reform:

    • Support efforts to pass a geographical distribution requirement for voter-led ballot initiatives.
    • Lead the way in promoting grassroots engagement on the ballot measure that give Rural Arizona a voice in deciding what qualifies for the ballot.