The following priorities will set the course for Arizona Farm Bureau's Government Relations team in 2018.
Food Safety: As the Federal government becomes more involved in day-to-day farming operations through the Food Safety Modernization Act, we will continue to prevent Federal overreach into Arizona operations. Together with the Arizona Department of Agriculture (ADA), we will support legislation giving the ADA authority to conduct inspections under the federal Produce Safety Rule, which will help us avoid unnecessary federal intervention on our farms.
Water: We will continue to be agriculture’s voice in discussions about water management across Arizona. As our state leaders work to improve the ways in which Arizona’s water is managed, we will work to make sure the value of water to agriculture, and the value of agriculture to Arizona, is not overlooked. We oppose attempts to manage water that impose undue burdens or uncertain futures on agricultural operations.
Wildlife Management: We believe that no one is better situated to manage Arizona’s wildlife than the people of Arizona. We will fight attempts of outside special interests to make our management decisions for us, especially when those interests are committed to thwarting agriculture’s success.
The Arizona Department of Agriculture: For our industry to work effectively, our regulatory arm must be adequately funded. We will work with the Department and the legislature to ensure there is enough money to fund all necessary programs and mandates, including livestock brand inspection.
Farm and Ranch Liability: We support liability protection for farmers and ranchers from frivolous lawsuits. There are unavoidable risks inherent to agricultural operations, and agriculturalists should not be subject to liability because of these risks.
Farm Bill: Agriculture is an industry worth protecting. We will advocate for a 2018 Farm Bill that creates and maintains a sufficient agricultural safety net. We must empower American farms and ranches to continue producing safe, affordable, and abundant food, regardless of market uncertainties, an unfair international playing field, or the threat of natural disasters.
Labor: No farmer should have to watch a crop rot in a field because no one is available to harvest it. We will continue to advocate for labor reform that is sufficient and effective for all of agriculture.
Tax Reform: As Washington attempts to reform the tax code, we will continue to express that agricultural producers only benefit from tax reform if the effective tax rate is reduced. This means getting rid of overly burdensome tax measures, repealing the Estate Tax, and maintaining important provisions such as like-kind exchanges and the interest deduction.
Trade: More than 95 percent of our potential product consumers live outside of the U.S. Unburdened trade is essential for tapping agriculture’s full potential as an industry. As NAFTA and other trade deals are renegotiated, we will remind Washington of the importance of maintaining open agricultural markets. A healthy agricultural trade economy equals a healthy America.