Priority Issues

Priority Issues

The following priorities will set the course for Arizona Farm Bureau's Government Relations team in 2019.

Flagship Issues

Arizona Issues

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.

Federal Issues

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.

Policy Priorities*

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)

Taxes:

  • 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)

Arizona Department of Agriculture

  • 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)

Removing Transportation Burdens:

  • 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 Environmental Regulations:

  • 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)

Right to Farm:

  • 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)

Liability Protection for Farms and Ranches:

  •  We will work to help our members protect their operations from unnecessary and frivolous lawsuits. (AZFB p. 128)

Farm Policy:

  • 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)

Ag Labor

  • 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)

Trade

  • 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)

FDA Oversight:

  • 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)

*Page and policy numbers refer to the 2018 edition of the Arizona Farm Bureau policy book (AZFB) and the American Farm Bureau policy book (AFBF).

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