Livingston addresses the Wyoming Farm Bureau meeting about concerns
Cheyenne – “We do have an influence on American Farm Bureau,” said Perry Livingston, president of Wyoming Farm Bureau (WyFB).
Livingston spoke at the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation 2014 Legislative Meeting in Cheyenne on Feb. 27, giving an update about the meetings he has attended and informing members about upcoming issues that need to be watched.
Livingston attended the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) annual convention that was held in San Antonio, Texas on Jan. 12-15. A total of 373 Farm Bureau delegates were present at the convention, and the Resolutions Committee passed four of the resolutions that Wyoming had submitted.
Livingston also attended an Advisory Committee meeting for Farm Bureau that took place Feb. 9-15 and was assigned to the tobacco committee.
“Surprisingly 67 to 70 percent of tobacco raised in the U.S. is exported all over the world,” described Livingston. “They use American tobacco for flavoring, and its primary use is for cigarettes.”
The exporting of tobacco keeps the American tobacco industry alive and will for years to come, stated Livingston.
“The U.S. is cutting back on their consumption of tobacco all the time, but there’s still a market out there for that product,” he added.
Livingston also told the WyFB members that the IRS is proposing to modify rules to strengthen the way they review non-profit organizations. The last day for comment was Feb. 26.
“That has a direct effect on Wyoming Farm Bureau,” said Livingston. “Be fore-warned that the IRS is going to take a long hard look at our organization and other non-profit organizations.”
“There is no way to know what their motivation is,” he added.
Livingston also reminded members that last summer the Department of Labor tried to install regulations that would not allow children to work on farms and ranches.
“American Farm Bureau, along with other agriculture organizations around the U.S., put a tremendous amount of pressure on Congress,” reassured Livingston. “Congress, in turn, leaned on the Department of Labor, and last fall, they pulled their regulations.”
“We have to meet federal agencies head on,” stated Livingston. “We have to continue to do that.”
In October 2013, the president of the Oregon Farm Bureau spoke to American Farm Bureau about a petition that was placed on Oregon’s Jackson County ballot that would eliminate the use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) in that county.
“We might think it is not a big deal, but around 90 percent of sugarbeet seed is raised in Jackson County, Oregon,” explained Livingston. “It is very important for Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota.”
WyFB did send money for the campaign to fight the GMO petition.
“It is important that we reach out because there are not a lot of people in that county,” said Livingston. “It’s going to be very important to the state of Wyoming and general agriculture across the U.S.”
“We just have to continue to monitor and keep our eyes open,” said Livingston. “It is imperative that WyFB and American Farm Bureau continue to stand out there in front of the ball and take on the federal government and their agencies that are against private enterprise.”
Madeline Robinson is the assistant editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.