Farm Bureau delegation heads to D.C.

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By Steve Doyle

John Wills of Shelby County Farm Bureau will be one of approximately 200 KFB members who will be in Washington next week to meet with the state’s elected leaders. Farm Bureau’s annual Congressional tour is Monday through Thursday and includes individual question-and-answer sessions with Republican senators Mitch McConnell and Jim Bunning and others. “We will meet with Congressman [Brett] Guthrie [R-Bowling Green] then both senators for group Q&A sessions, and other FB members will meet with their congressman,” Wills said via E-mail. “Our group from Shelby County will also have some time for a one-on-one with Congressman Guthrie and his ag legislative assistant, some time with Neil Chatterjee, Senator McConnell’s ag legislative assistant and maybe with Senator Bunning and his ag legislative assistant. We haven’t got that put together yet, but we have been able to do that in the past.” Farm Bureau said in a statement that members would be focusing on topics such as the budget deficit, energy policy and health-care reform along with federal livestock regulations, renewable fuels, foreign trade, estate taxes and revisions to the H-2A guest worker program for agriculture. “Everything that affects agriculture is open for discussion, [such as] animal rights and the way that affects the cost of production of eggs, beef, pork, chicken, any animal protein,” Wills said. He said changes in the H2A (the legal worker) program, which the USDA released recently, and rulings by the EPA and how these will effect the cost of American grown food to the consumer are also keen topics for review. Basically, Wills said, anything to do with factors that affect the cost of food are of paramount importance – even energy policies and estate taxes. “Everything that affects the farmer affects the consumer,” he said. “We make the trip, we set down with our legislators, put a face with our problems, try to bring there thought back home. “That the goal. That’s our mission.” On Tuesday, the Kentuckians will receive an issues briefing from American Farm Bureau Federation staff along with reports from some national agriculture officials.

A breakfast with Kentucky’s Congressional delegation, office visits and an afternoon meeting with the senators are scheduled for Wednesday.