Farmers gather to hear legislative updates

Staff Report

Yadkin County Farm Bureau, the county’s largest general farm advocacy organization, recently hosted its annual Legislative Appreciation Dinner at the Yadkin County Agricultural Center in Yadkinville. Farm Leaders from across the county gathered to hear legislative updates from Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, NC Senator Joyce Krawiec and Josh Ward, field representative for the Office of Senator Richard Burr. Ward’s territory is southwestern North Carolina, and was filling in for Mike Fenley, Senator Burr’s field representative for this area.

Updates were also given by Commissioner Marion Welborn, Sheriff Ricky Oliver and Dr. Todd Martin, superintendent of Yadkin County Schools. Over 65 farm leaders gathered for the meeting. Yadkin County Farm Bureau President Justin Somers and Jake Parker, state legislative director and legislative counsel for NC Farm Bureau thanked those gathered for their service to the state and for their support of NC’s number 1 and $86 billion industry, agriculture.

Somers spoke about Farm Bureau’s relationship with those elected to serve, and those elected to serve’s relationship with Farm Bureau.

“We must have relationships that are built on trust and respect, we can tout our numbers, our size and our influence, but if we do not have relationships that are built on trust and respect, then in the end we have nothing. This is the success of this organization, mutual respect and trust between Farm Bureau leaders and those elected to serve,” said Somers.

Parker spoke in detail about the numerous victories Farm Bureau had on behalf of NC Farmers at the General Assembly. Including the passage of 2017 Farm Act and passage of a bill the clarified North Carolina’s nuisance law, which the governor vetoed and the General Assembly overrode. He also spoke about issues important to farmers at the national level including: labor, health care and government regulation. Parker also echoed Somers comments by saying, “without trust you cannot have difficult conversations about bills and why you support them with legislators who may have a different view than you.” Parker also added, “that we have had a very strong session (in the NC General Assembly) for North Carolina agriculture.”

Foxx and Krawiec both thanked Farm Bureau and Yadkin County Farm Bureau leadership for their friendship, and providing them with reliable information that they needed to help make discussions that affect the agriculture and rural communities of North Carolina.

Krawiec reviewed the budget that was recently passed, discussed the 2017 Farm Act and gave a brief review of happenings in Raleigh. Foxx expressed her gratitude to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt for continuing to move forward with the repeal of the EPA’s 2015 WOTUS rule. Farm Bureau has long viewed the 2015 rule as federal overreach, a land grab and not a good common sense rule for American farmers. Farm Bureau has advocated for the repeal of the rule since it was announced. Foxx gave a brief review of current happenings in Washington, D.C.

Staff Report