WyFB sets policy for coming year
Irrigation infrastructure, taxes, private property rights, and migration corridors were among the many topics included in policies adopted at the 100th annual meeting of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation. Held Nov. 13-15 in Laramie, Wyo., the meeting is an important step in the grassroots policy development process of Farm Bureau.
“County Farm Bureau members start the policy development process at the local level,” said Ken Hamilton, WyFB executive vice president. “The process continues through the district, state and national levels as members discuss a wide variety of policy issues that are of concern to them.”
Infrastructure at all levels is critical to agriculture production. “The collapse of the irrigation tunnel in Goshen County this summer brought the discussion on emergency funding to the forefront,” Hamilton said. “Farm Bureau members recognized the importance of managing our water resources and addressing aging irrigation infrastructure through policy calling for the creation of a funding mechanism to utilize in emergency irrigation infrastructure situations.”
Regarding taxes and state expenditures, Farm Bureau members spoke out against tax increases when they supported a policy to oppose any new fuel taxes. “In addition to opposing new fuel taxes, our members expressed concern over state expenditures on school capital construction,” Hamilton said. “Our members know education costs and school capital construction costs are a large item and they feel the state should work diligently to ensure school buildings are only updated or replaced when necessary.”
Concern about eminent domain use by county, state or federal governments led to policy calling for the limit of this use within the state to protect property rights. “Farm Bureau members are always concerned when entities use eminent domain to take property,” Hamilton said. “They approved policy that would support amending the Wyoming State Constitution to limit the use of eminent domain within the state for state and county government projects.”
Farm Bureau members weighed in on discussions surrounding migration corridors in the state and what points they feel should be considered. The policy highlighted the need for: local involvement on decisions; a risk analysis process to be used; protection of existing economic and planned activities as well as private property rights; consideration of any funding increases to the state; and if there are any state mandates, they must be paid for by the state.
In other issues, members reiterated their concern of the need for a humane slaughter facility for horses in America. “Additional policy specified that U.S. horse meat should be used to feed animals in U.S. zoos and game parks rather than importing horse meat,” Hamilton said.
Farm Bureau is dedicated to the principles on which our nation was built. Farm Bureau members reiterated their support for the Second Amendment again this year with discussions surrounding Red Flag laws. “Several resolutions were discussed on this issue and members eventually settled on a policy that does not support these types of laws,” Hamilton said.
Regarding brand inspection issues, discussion looked at eliminating brand inspections for crossing county lines. “This idea was rejected by the voting delegates because they feel brand inspection provides protection and they expressed the desire to retain the ability to have a brand inspector look at movement across the county line,” Hamilton said.
“This policy discussion is the reason we hold our annual meeting,” Hamilton concluded. “By the time a resolution makes it to our state policy book, it has been discussed by our members at three different levels. This grassroots policy development guides the work of our organization and we are proud to have just completed that process for the 100th year of the organization.”
“Our policy continues to support strengthening private property rights,” said Brett Moline, WyFB director of public and governmental affairs. “These policies will be added to our policy book to help guide the federation in the work we do to protect private property rights.”