Voting delegates to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 95th annual meeting concluded this week by approving resolutions that will provide the organization with its marching orders in 2014 on unfinished business like the farm bill and immigration, as well as setting policy on new issues such as drones and agricultural data.
“Congress is still haggling over dairy policy, but for the most part, they are very close to completing a five-year farm bill,” said AFBF president Bob Stallman. The Farm Bureau delegates reaffirmed policy supporting changes to the dairy safety net, including margin insurance programs.
When it comes to drones, delegates adopted new policy that supports the use of unmanned aircraft systems for commercial agricultural, forestry and other natural resource purposes. They also supported the requirement for drone users to gain the consent of the landowners, if operating below navigable airspace However, delegates opposed federal agencies’ use of drones for regulatory enforcement, litigation or natural resource inventory surveys.
Delegates approved new policy supporting the protection of proprietary data collected from farmers and maintaining that such data should remain their property. Delegates also voted to support efforts to educate farmers regarding the benefits and risks of collaborative data collection systems. They also approved policy stating that farmers should be compensated if companies market their propriety information, and that farmers should have the right to sell their proprietary data to another producer, such as in the case of a land sale. Delegates voted to oppose farmers’ data being held in a clearinghouse or database by any entity subject to the Freedom of Information Act.[wpaudio url=”http://zimmcomm.biz/afbf/afbf14-stallman-close.mp3″ text=”Stallman closing Press Conference”]