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Enter American Farm Bureau’s #‎iAdvocate Photo Contest!

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 4, 2016 – Farmers and ranchers are invited to share their stories about advocating for agriculture with the American Farm Bureau Federation as part of the organization’s just-launched #iAdvocate campaign. Ten lucky contest winners will each receive a $100 Farm Bureau Bank gift card.

To enter, message a photo of yourself advocating for agriculture to the Farm Bureau Promotion & Education Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/FarmBureauPandE. Photo entries should include an #iAdvocate white board or sign with a brief explanation of what you’re doing.

Submissions will be uploaded to the “2016 #iAdvocate Campaign” album on the Farm Bureau Promotion & Education Facebook page. Once you have been notified that your photo has been posted, ask others to “Like” and “Share” it on Facebook. Contest winners will be determined based on the highest number of “Likes” received for pictures within the album.

Farm Bureau Approves Strategic Action Plan for 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C., – The American Farm Bureau Federation today released highlights of its 2016 strategic action plan, which addresses public policy issues in the coming year. The plan is a result of deliberations of delegates to the AFBF’s 97th Annual Convention in Orlando.
The board-approved plan focuses the organization’s attention on a number of key issues including:
•    Creating a more-positive dialogue with consumers about modern agricultural practices;
•    Protecting farmers’ ability to use biotech plant varieties and other innovative technologies;
•    Opposing unlawful expansion of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act; and
•    Moving forward with congressional approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

AFBF Delegates Elect New President and Vice President

ORLANDO, FLORIDA, – Delegates at the 97th American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention elected Zippy Duvall to serve as the new president of AFBF and Scott VanderWal as vice president.

Vincent “Zippy” Duvall is a poultry, cattle and hay producer from Greene County, Georgia, and served as president of the Georgia Farm Bureau for 9 years. Duvall has held numerous leadership positions in Farm Bureau and his local community. He is the 12th president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Scott VanderWal is a third-generation family farmer from Volga, South Dakota, and has been president of the South Dakota Farm Bureau since 2004.

Farm Bureau Elects Bingham County Farmer

Bryan Searle of Bingham County was elected to serve as the 14th Idaho Farm Bureau President during the organization’s 76th Annual Meeting held this week at Fort Hall.

Delegates from 36 county Farm Bureaus participated in the election. Frank Priestley of Franklin County served as Idaho Farm Bureau President for the past 18 years. Priestley was re-elected eight times and was the longest-serving president in the organization’s history.

Farm Bureau Delegates re-elected Mark Trupp of Teton County as vice president. Tom Daniel of Boundary County, Chris Dalley of Bingham County, Rick Pearson of Twin Falls County, and Tracy Walton of Gem County were re-elected to the State Board of Directors. Dean Schwendiman of Fremont County stepped down as a director. He was replaced by Stephanie Mickelsen of Bonneville County. Cole Smith of Bear Lake County was re-elected as the Young Farmer and Rancher Chairman.

WOTUS Guidance Would Result in Continued Confusion, Chaos

WASHINGTON, D.C., - If federal agencies are left the task of developing implementation guidance for the Waters of the U.S. rule, the result will be a continuation of the rule's "liabilities, confusion and chaos." Issuing guidance can't fix a broken rule, according to a letter the American Farm Bureau Federation and other farm groups sent to members of the Senate who voted to oppose bipartisan legislation (S. 1140) seeking to revise the rule.

The groups encouraged the Senators to support any new effort in the Senate "to direct the agencies not to implement this rule and initiate a new, more responsible, balanced and lawful rulemaking."

According to the letter, if the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers are allowed to issue guidance for the implementation of the WOTUS rule, such guidance will be of no assistance to address the rules flaws, since many stem directly from the language used by the agencies in the final rule.

Farm Bureau Asks Supreme Court to Stop EPA Abuse of Clean Water Act Powers

WASHINGTON, D.C., – The American Farm Bureau Federation and a coalition of agricultural and builder groups today asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a lower court ruling that allows the Environmental Protection Agency to micromanage local land use and development decisions under the guise of implementing the federal Clean Water Act. The lower court’s ruling, according to the petition, “opens the door for a dramatic expansion of federal power” and must be overturned.

The lawsuit arose in the context of EPA’s so-called “blueprint” for restoring the Chesapeake Bay, but Farm Bureau points out that the issue at stake is national in scope.

‘Bringing Biotechnology to Life’ Classroom Resource Launched at World Food Prize Symposium

DES MOINES, IOWA — The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture and the International Food Information Council Foundation announced the global launch of “Bringing Biotechnology to Life,” a free educational resource that aims to facilitate learning about agricultural biotechnology and its role in food production. The new curriculum was unveiled at the World Food Prize 2015 Borlaug Dialogue international symposium.

“‘Bringing Biotechnology to Life’ is a science-based classroom resource with applicable lessons related to agriculture,” said Julie Tesch, executive director of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. “This resource is fact- and research-based and has been reviewed by an array of scientists, so the science behind it is very sound.”

“Many consumers do not understand the impact biotechnology makes on agriculture and our lives,” Tesch said. “Our goal is to have this resource provide students with the tools they need to make informed decisions about the practical uses of biotechnology.

Court halts WOTUS rule enforcement

The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit today ordered the EPA to stop enforcement nationwide of the Waters of the United States rule. In doing so, the Cincinnati-based court recognized that this rule has serious flaws and cannot go forward until the courts have had an opportunity to understand its effect on farmers, ranchers and landowners of all kinds, American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman said in a statement.

“The judges expressed deep concerns over the basic legality of this rule. We’re not in the least surprised: This is the worst EPA order we have seen since the agency was established more than 40 years ago. The court clearly understood our arguments,” Stallman said.

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