Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation sets policy for coming year
Corner crossing trespass, aging irrigation infrastructure, social governance scores, and foreign ownership of land, water and minerals were among the many topics included in policies adopted at the 103rd Annual Meeting of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation. Held Nov. 10-12, 2022, in Casper, Wyo., the meeting is an important step in the grassroots policy development process of the Farm Bureau Federation. The need for the protection of property rights resonated through the discussions as Farm Bureau Federation members developed policy.
“County Farm Bureau Federation members start the policy development process at the local level discussing policy issues of concern to the members and their families,” said Ken Hamilton, WyFB executive vice president. “The annual meeting is the final step at the state level for the grassroots policy development process. Policies with national implications will proceed to the national convention for consideration.”
Farm Bureau Federation members thoroughly discussed and emphasized the need for government agencies to prioritize and simplify land trades for landowners looking to establish contiguous blocks of private land thus improving access to public land.
“If the federal government would make it easier to conduct land trades we could avoid a lot of the issues we are currently dealing with now as it relates to corner crossing,” Hamilton explained. “The whole issue is to make the private/federal land trade process easier and reduce the cost the federal government has to go through to get to the point where the land trades can happen and benefit both parties.”
Irrigation water is vital to agriculture in Wyoming. Irrigation infrastructure was constructed by the United States Bureau of Reclamation decades ago and in many cases over 100 years ago. “Policy was passed that points out our members continued concern over aging irrigation infrastructure,” Hamilton stated. “We certainly think there is more to be done to try and solve some of the problems.”
The irrigation infrastructure policy calls for congress and the state of Wyoming to explore the possible transfer of title, funding and policy in order to address the irrigation infrastructure needs. In addition to the possible transfer of title, voting delegates asked for state and federal funding sources to be explored to offset the rehabilitation, replacement or repair costs.
Concerns for the economic, social and military security of the United States led to policy asking the Wyoming Legislature and the U.S. Congress to introduce legislation to prohibit foreign ownership of land, water and the mineral estate within the United States of America.
“Voting delegates voiced their concern and passed this policy in an effort to curb the foreign ownership of land, water and mineral estate in America,” Hamilton stated.
Regarding the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees, voting delegates passed policy asking for the trustees to be elected by party and by region. “Our members feel like there needs to be a more direct representation of Wyoming’s taxpaying citizens on the UW Board of Trustees,” Hamilton said. “By directly electing trustees our members feel they would receive more representation.”
Voting delegates expressed their opposition to the implementation of Environmental Social Governance scores for banking. “Our members are very concerned about using nebulously defined criteria to drive social policy instead of relying on economic information for decision-making,” Hamilton said.
The Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation has always stood on the principles of individual freedoms and constitutional government. “Our members strongly believe individual freedoms and constitutional government are vital,” Hamilton concluded.