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.
For the 2022-2023 Legislative Session, South Carolina Farm Bureau will focus on protecting farmers’ “Right to Grow,” with emphasis on these key issues:
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 difficult for farmers. SCFB believes water management should be handled by a single agency to increase transparency and reduce burdensome regulations for agriculture.
Rural Broadband- 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.
Agricultural Funding - The pandemic has magnified the challenges and obstacles for our agricultural industry. Securing equitable funding to alleviate the pronounced disruptive impact on agriculture will allow our farmers resiliency to shine locally and globally while continuing to serve our population.
Loss of Agricultural Land – Continued urbanization of agricultural land is shifting South Carolina’s rural landscape. This puts tremendous pressure on farmers, making farming responsibilities harder to accomplish through reduced access to farm land, negative external influences and the competition for land. SCFB is committed to working with local, state and national elected officials to ensure agriculture is part of the conversation as our rural lands become more and more desirable.
National Legislative Priorities:
- Rising production costs (I.e. fertilizer)
- Ag labor reform
- Waters of the U.S.
- 2023 Farm Bill
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.