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AFB’s Moore addresses Delaware Farm Bureau attendees
By CAROL KINSLEY
DOVER, Del. (Dec. 16, 2014) — Dale W. Moore, American Farm Bureau Federation’s executive director for public policy, spoke at Delaware Farm Bureau’s annual meeting on Dec. 2 at the Modern Maturity Center.
Moore opened with a brief biography, including his work for Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, who needed someone familiar with farming.
On his first day on the job, Moore was awestruck by the interior of the Capitol Building. Roberts told him, “When the hairs on the back of your neck are no longer standing up when you’re in the Capitol, you’re not doing anyone any good.”
Bringing 30 years of public policy and Capitol Hill experience to the job, Moore replaced Mark Maslyn, who retired in February 2013. Moore served as the USDA’s chief of staff under four secretaries of agriculture.
Moore drew a parallel between Congress and the Delaware Farm Bureau today.
“The founding fathers meant for it to be difficult to pass legislation,” he said. AFBF President Bob Stallman “has empathy for the challenges Congress faces. He must find a balance between all who need help without impacting some other part of our farming family.”
Moore continued, “There are issues at some federal agencies that if not reined in, could not just affect your bottom line but put you out of business.”
The EPA’s proposed rule regarding the Clean Water Act is an example. As of the end of November, 700,000 comments had been filed, roughly 16,000 of them “unique” comments, not just opposing or supporting the rulemaking.
A significant number of those unique comments came from Farm Bureau members, Moore said.
Farm Bureau’s “Ditch the Rule” campaign has been met with EPA’s “Ditch the Myth” efforts. “Seldom have I seen an agency work so hard to oppose a single advocacy effort,” Moore said.
He noted while there have been many House hearings on the rule, but it is not anticipated the Senate will get to it before the end of the year. It is highly likely that Sen. Roberts will be the new chairman of the Senate Ag Committee, and he will “kick (the rulemaking) up to the next gear” to get the Senate to catch up with the House,” Moore said.
He observed that the EPA is strategic when pushing for an issue. It gets attacked for the effort and pulls back, only to bring it up again several years later.
This time AFBF is fighting back through litigation.
“We’re starting to seeing that when we threaten to sue and follow through, it forces the agency to stop and think.”
Farm Bureau is also going after EPA in Minnesota where, in response to a FOIA request, the EPA released all kinds of data on CAFOs, including personal data. “Providing personal information is just flat wrong,” Moore said.
Immigration, of course, is another hot issue. “This year we must really push for a comprehensive immigration bill,” Moore said. With workers given a pathway to legal status by President Obama’s Executive Order, the challenge is that rules and processes have not yet been published. Moore said AFBF has been cautioning farmer/employers of potential problems if one of their workers admits having been working illegally but now he or she is going to take advantage of the executive order. “What is your legal responsibility?” Moore asked. AFBF’s attorneys are working with other groups to get that sorted out.
Naming more issues such as state or even county-level initiatives opposing the planting of GMO crops and a continuing debate over Country of Origin Labeling, Moore said farmers and ranchers certainly have their work cut out for them in the coming year.