There is an issue that transcends all levels of government in the United States. It is an issue that affects our security as a nation and our very livelihood as farmers: farmland and farm operation protection. To continue to feed and clothe the nation, farmers must have protection from urban sprawl and rural development including nonreciprocal setbacks, burdensome regulation, and reactionary economic policies.
The United States has had a long-standing public policy promoting the importance of agriculture as the foundation of a free and prosperous nation. The US public is generally oblivious to all the threats facing agriculture and we must depend on our elected officials to engage and save the farm.
We encourage all Farm Bureau members to become involved in county and local government, and to share their involvement and activities with the membership of other county Farm Bureaus and the state Farm Bureau office.
The 2021 Legislative Session is underway and the SCFB Government Relation’s team is hard at work to ensure our members’ issues are heard and addressed. These are just a few of the priority issues the team will work on this year:
Single agency water
Currently, water is managed by multiple government agencies. All the red tape (different for each agency) can lead to discrepancies in policy and efficiency, and also makes accessing this resource it difficult for farmers. SCFB believes water management should be handled by a single agency to increase transparency and reduce burdensome regulations for agriculture.
Feral hogs are responsible for an estimated $115 million in damage statewide each year. SCFB is working closely with legislators to ensure continued funding for the Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program administered by USDA that provides information on the options for controlling this invasive species.
As has been made abundantly clear as we have transitioned to a “virtual meeting society,” access to broadband in rural areas must be improved. SCFB is working with the General Assembly to increase funding and access to broadband for our rural communities.
On the federal level, SC Farm Bureau works closely with American Farm Bureau to advocate for policies benefical to farmers nationwide. This year’s Strategic Action Plan focuses on the following issues:
- Agricultural Labor
- 2023 Farm Bill
- Continued regulatory reform
- Rural Living
- Tax Reform