The following priorities will set the course for Arizona Farm Bureau's Government Relations team in 2019.
Water: Farm Bureau will continue to be agriculture’s voice in discussions about water management across Arizona. As our state leaders work to improve Arizona’s water management, we will work to make sure the value of water to agriculture, and the value of agriculture to Arizona, is not overlooked.
Taxes: Farm Bureau will protect agricultural businesses by fighting to keep taxes low. Whether it is the tax classification of agricultural property or the sales tax treatment of agricultural products and inputs, tax rules should continue to recognize the unique value of agriculture and its contribution to our State’s economy.
Transportation: Farm Bureau believes that deregulation of all phases of Arizona’s transportation industry, exclusive of safety and licensing requirements, is essential to the continued success of our industry. We will support streamlined inspections and oppose unnecessary regulation, fighting to make a free, fair, and competitive playing field. We also recognize the importance of our transportation infrastructure in getting our products to market and keeping our rural communities vibrant. We will work to ensure appropriate resources are dedicated to building and maintaining our transportation system particularly in rural areas.
Trade: More than 95 percent of our potential product consumers live outside of the U.S. Unburdened trade is essential for tapping our full potential as an industry, and as our highly integrated agricultural markets prove, agriculture has been the shining star America’s free trade agreements. Farm Bureau will work closely to identify and cultivate new trade opportunities for Arizona’s agricultural products.
Labor: No farmer should have to watch a crop rot in a field because no one is available to harvest it. Farm Bureau will continue to advocate for labor reform that is sufficient and effective for all of agriculture.
Farm Policy: Agriculture is an industry worth protecting. America’s farm policy must empower our farmers and ranchers to continue producing safe, affordable, and abundant food, regardless of market uncertainties, an unfair international playing field, or the threat of natural disasters.
Land Use and Environmental Regulations: Farmers and ranchers are the best stewards of this nation’s precious natural resources. We will make sure that they continue to have access to land and water without having to navigate an impossibly complicated or burdensome set of rules and regulations.
Fighting for our Water:
- We will work with all parties to find a way to mitigate the
losses to Pinal County Agriculture that result from Arizona’s participation in
the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan (DCP). Entering into DCP without
adequate ag mitigation is unacceptable. (AZFB p. 51)
- We will continue to support southern Arizona water users as
they fight to maintain their historic water rights along the Gila and San Pedro
rivers. (AZFB p. 45-46)
Arizona Department of
- We will support legislation that clarifies and solidifies
the already-existing tax exemptions for crop protection chemicals and
fertilizer. (AZFB p. 96)
- We will work to protect agricultural land from being
over-taxed by uninformed or overzealous County Assessors. (AZFB p. 93-96)
- We will support a budget that includes money for the cost of
moving the State Agricultural Laboratory.
(AZFB p. 101)
- We will continue to work with the Department of Agriculture
to find an acceptable path forward for duplicate brandholders. (AZFB p. 115)
- We will support flexible, realistic, and practical rules for
hauling livestock and perishable agricultural commodities, and oppose the
mandatory use of electronic logging devices and hours of service restrictions
on these haulers. (AFBF 125.1.34)
- We will publish an updated version of the Farm Bureau
Transportation Handbook to better inform and assist our members. (AZFB p. 161)
Land Use and
Right to Farm:
- We will work with Realtors and landowners to better inform
the public about their responsibilities under Arizona’s “open range” laws.
(AZFB p. 6)
- We will continue to fight for meaningful reforms to the
Endangered Species Act. (AZFB p. 41-44)
for Farms and Ranches:
- In light of the rash of nuisance lawsuits being filed
against large farming operations, we will examine Arizona’s Right to Farm
statutes and look for opportunities to strengthen and improve the protection
they offer. (AZFB p. 10)
- We will work with our congressional delegation to prevent
federal agencies, specifically the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease
Registry, from overstepping their jurisdiction by investigating and pursuing
nuisance claims against farming operations. (AZFB p. 119-121)
- We will work to help our members protect their operations
from unnecessary and frivolous lawsuits. (AZFB p. 128)
- We will work with our congressional delegation to pass a new
Farm Bill. We will continue to fight to make sure that key agricultural
programs, including crop insurance, key conservation programs, and commodity
titles, are not sacrificed on other political altars. (AZFB p. 156; AFBF 239.7)
- We will continue to work with federal agencies to protect
and improve the Pasture, Rangeland, and Forage Insurance Program for western
states ranchers. (AFBF 225.2)
- We will continue to work with our delegation to encourage a
vote on the AG Act, creating an H-2C agricultural visa to replace the H-2A
program (AZFB p. 132-133)
- We will support US participation in the US Mexico Canada
Agreement (USMCA) and other free trade agreements. (AFBF 252.1)
- We will devote time and resources to exploring new, emerging
markets for Arizona agricultural products, including pursuing membership in the
Arizona/Mexico Coalition and Western United States Agricultural Trade
Association. (AFBF 252.2)
policy numbers refer to the 2018
edition of the Arizona Farm Bureau policy book (AZFB) and the American Farm
Bureau policy book (AFBF).
- We will work with Congress to ensure that regulatory
agencies like the FDA do not overstep the bounds of their authority during an
investigation. There must be accountability when FDA prematurely releases
damaging information about a grower or producer without adequate verification.
(AFBF page forthcoming)