By Colby Ferguson, Director of Government Relations
Maryland Farm Bureau held it’s 104th annual state convention on December 7-10 in Ocean City. Nearly 200 voting delegates and more than 450 total attended the convention to review, discuss, and vote on state and national policy resolutions.
Here are some highlights of national policy resolutions that were sent to the American Farm Bureau Federation for policy review and potential discussion at AFBF Convention in January:
Training for Commercial Truck Drivers
Policy: We oppose the federal Department of Transportation requiring professional truck driving schools as the only certified training for new commercial truck drivers. The private in-business training programs that have been approved for many years should be recognized as well.
Rationale: Starting in February 2020, Department of Transportation is going to require all new commercial truck drivers go through professional truck driving schools. Many of these schools train the drivers on automatic transmission vehicles, which is not the type of transmission primarily used in agriculture. This requirement will generate new CDL drivers that aren’t qualified to drive standard transmission trucks.
Federal Milk Marketing Order Reform
Policy: We support federal milk marketing order reform. Specifically, the following initiatives:
Rationale: Dairy farmers are struggling, and one of the reasons is that the farmer has lost the ability to dictate how their milk is priced and sold. This milk market reform is an attempt to recapture the ability.
USDA NASS Reporting
Policy: We support an external audit and review of the procedures and methodology used in the acreage and yield projection reports released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service as it relates to field corn and soybeans.
Rationale: Inaccurate reports were made available this summer that affected the futures market and grain farmer’s bottom line.
Highlights of state policy that were adopted into the 2020 Maryland Farm Bureau Policy book include:
Maryland Farm Bureau is ready to move into 2020 with a renewed purpose, serving as the unified voice of Maryland agriculture. The 2020 legislative session is expected to be an interesting one with so many changes to leadership. Maryland Farm Bureau will be there to make sure Maryland farmers have a seat at the table. For more information on Maryland Farm Bureau policies, contact Colby Ferguson at firstname.lastname@example.org.