It’s important to show up on agriculture issues – February 2018
Welcome to the new year. 2018 came in without a lot of fanfare at our house. I discovered long ago that my staying up until midnight on December 31 didn’t make any difference on whether January 1 arrived or not. It just showed up when the sun came up and now I get up with a clearer head and a somewhat rested body.
Somethings you don’t have to show up for in order for them to keep happening. Other things, however, need people to show up. When it comes to public policy, the saying goes, that the world is run by those who show up. That’s true for a lot of things and we certainly have to thank our Farm Bureau leaders who show up to represent their fellow agricultural producers. The American Farm Bureau Federation also is run by those who show up and Wyoming has two voting delegates who vote on policies that become direction on the national level. Representation at AFBF meetings is based on membership numbers.
One thing that occurred at this year’s meeting that hasn’t occurred for a couple of decades was an address by the President of the United States. President Trump addressed Farm Bureau members and delegates on Monday after the closing session and mentioned that the last president to address the body was George H.W. Bush around 25 years ago. The fact that we have sitting presidents show up to our meetings speaks volumes about Farm Bureau’s influence on national issues. Particularly when AFBF’s trade concerns don’t necessarily align with the President’s as well as our concerns on immigration.
The President was certainly warmly welcomed by the members who were attending. The lines to get into the ceremony were looong!! Some folks stood in line for a couple of hours to ensure they were able to get a seat. The President reminded members about his Administration’s commitment to reducing regulations and struck a responsive chord with comments about rolling back the WOTUS rules that AFBF has been working hard to stop.
Talking about it is the easy part. People still need to weigh in on the WOTUS rules to let Washington, D.C. know how over-the-top the previous rules were. AFBF has started a social media campaign, with the help of some rubber duckies, which says “If you can’t #FloatUs, it’s not WOTUS.”
On the legal front on WOTUS the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS), in a unanimous decision, ruled that the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals cannot assert jurisdiction over the challenges to the rule. Wyoming participated in a legal challenge of the rules in the 8th which issued a stay of implementation for those parties which were represented in that case. With the SCOTUS ruling the 6th Circuit’s nationwide stay is going away, but I’m sure the parties in the 8th will ask to have the stay granted earlier reinstated. If memory serves me right, one of the attorneys with the Wyoming Attorney General’s office that argued that case was recently confirmed as the Assistant Administrator in the Office of Water at EPA. Getting people into that agency with experience on how things were working can’t hurt.
This issue, and many other issues, will continue to require work to ensure that they don’t penalize agriculture. It’s still important that agriculture have folks who “show up” to keep our way of life going.
By Ken Hamilton, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation Executive Vice President