During the 2018 Montana Farm Bureau Annual Convention November 7-10 in Billings, county Farm Bureau delegates met at the Resolutions Session to set policy for the coming year. The policies discussed were first developed during county Farm Bureau’s annual meetings in September. Those policies were then sent to the Montana Farm Bureau to be compiled for the Resolutions Session. This year’s Resolutions Session brought together 150 voting delegates from counties across the state to voice their opinions and vote on the proposed policies. A broad range of issues were covered within those policies – everything from broadband to livestock to taxation.
“The delegates passed multiple policies directed towards the “fake meat” debate, taking a stance on labeling and regulation of such products,” noted Liv Stavick, MFBF State Affairs Director. “Voting delegates confirmed their opposition to a mandatory statewide fire-preparedness assessment fee – a subject that will be considered in the upcoming legislative session. Another issue likely to breed legislation in the upcoming session is the eligibility for agricultural valuation of land parcels less than 160 acres. Farm Bureau members passed policy that states our support of eligibility be contingent on generating at least $1500 annual gross revenue from agricultural products produced on the land with no minimum size of acreage.”
Multiple policies concerning water were discussed and finalized, including two policies that specified the funding of aquatic invasive species as a statewide issue to guarantee the long-term water quality of the State of Montana. Another discussion regarding water issues centered around the water rights change process. Delegates voted in favor of supporting efforts to simplify the lengthy, complicated process while protecting senior water rights.
One resolution approved to be sent to the American Farm Bureau Policy Development Committee concerned MFBF’s support of the immediate and total repeal of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.
The voting delegates considered 83 policy resolutions this year; 73 to add new policy to the MFBF Policy Book and 10 amending or deleting existing policies. Additionally, there were five resolutions proposed for submission to the American Farm Bureau Federation and two inter-organizational resolutions. Inter-organizational resolutions are an opportunity for a county Farm Bureau to communicate directly with the MFBF Board of Directors and ask for the support of an idea or program.
“Now that the policy resolutions have been approved, they will be printed in the 2019 Montana Farm Bureau Policy Book,” said Stavick. “Farm Bureau is thankful for the grassroots process that makes our organization so powerful. We have the collective voices of Montana’s farmers and ranchers written on those pages. MFBF is guided by each of the policy decisions and stances that our farming and ranching members make and gives true testament to the statement, “We are the Voice of Agriculture’.”
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