NEFB Newspaper

President’s Column – February/March 2024

As the last remnants of winter thaw away, and we feel the first warmer temperatures of the year, there’s a palpable sense of anticipation in the air – a feeling shared by farmers and ranchers across the countryside. After months of an especially hard winter with feet of snow, sub-zero temperatures, threats knocking at the door, braving the elements to ensure the well-being of their animals, farmers and ranchers are now busy with preparations in their shops and barns, on the cusp of a new season. It’s the time when plans for the season start coming together. As days grow longer and the temperatures begin to rise, optimism is at its height. We return home from meetings with our heads full of new ideas and techniques learned, ready to implement them in our operations.

As we saw this past winter, and we see year after year, farmers and ranchers are the epitome of resilience, confronting challenges in their operations with unwavering determination every single day. Yet, amidst their resilience, there are threats looming on the horizon that require more than individual resolve to overcome. This is where the Farm Bureau steps in. As president of the organization, it is my privilege to advocate for those who till land, leaning into the big conversations and pushing for policies that safeguard their livelihoods. Over the last few months, we have encountered challenges arising from a regulatory standpoint, the most recent being a court decision pulling over-the-top dicamba for soybeans from the shelves. In response to the court ruling, Nebraska Farm Bureau wrote a letter to the EPA asking for an existing stock order, and we are thankful dicamba can remain in the toolbox for the 2024 planting season. However, it is imperative that further actions are taken to permanently address and eliminate this looming threat.

As members of the agricultural community, we often find ourselves at a crossroads, facing challenges that not only impacts our bottom line but also our way of life. One such threat is California’s Proposition 12. In May 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge to Prop 12 filed by American Farm Bureau and the National Pork Producers Council. The state law bans the sale of pork, veal or eggs unless the animals involved were housed in compliance with California’s arbitrary production standards, even if the animals were raised on farms outside of California. In December, our members met to strategize how Farm Bureau can tackle challenges out of an individual’s control and can effect change by working together. As the president of the organization, I am grateful for the authority entrusted to me which enabled Nebraska to shape the national strategy based on our discussions. With a push from Nebraska, a congressional fix to Prop 12 is a policy priority for American Farm Bureau. Without a solution to the law, consumers will face increased costs for goods and services as businesses grapple with varying state business standards. The longer it takes Congress to address the matter, the higher the likelihood of irreversible damage from state laws that interfere with commerce throughout the country. Which is why as Nebraska Farm Bureau, we are pushing for a legislative fix to be included in the next Farm Bill. Because 80% of the Farm Bill is food related, it is a logical place to include a fix to this law that allows one state to dictate business practices for the entire nation.

In the face of daunting challenges, agriculture and Farm Bureau remains resilient, buoyed by the spirit of innovation and collaborations that defines rural communities. As we navigate the complexities of dicamba restrictions and the looming implications of California’s Proposition 12, it’s clear that solutions are in reach. I am privileged to represent you by engaging in proactive dialogues and unwaveringly advocating for the unified voice of agriculture. Together, we can overcome any challenge that comes our way and cultivate a future filled with prosperity.

Until next time,

Mark McHargue

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