LINCOLN, Neb. – Delegates at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) 100th annual meeting approved a number of resolutions that will provide the organization with authority from its grassroots members to push Congress toward the goal line on issues like trade policy, cell-based food products, and livestock antibiotic use, Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) President Steve Nelson said Jan. 22.
“Securing victories on those issues is critical to our competitiveness as individual farmers and ranchers and considering resolutions on these topics originated from NEFB. Nebraska once again is looking to push for agricultural success both locally and abroad,” Nelson said.
AFBF delegates laid out a set of principles highlighting NEFB’s very clear support for the U.S. re-entry into the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) with the current 11 countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. They also added language supporting a multinational approach, including World Trade Organization (WTO), to pressure China to address unfair trade and business practices.
“CPTPP was projected to be a boon for Nebraska agriculture, increasing agriculture cash receipts by more than $378 million per year when fully implemented, with much of that gain attributed to increased trade with Japan,” Jordan Dux, NEFB director of national affairs said Jan. 22.
As far as putting pressure on China to speak to unfair practices, the delegates laid out three specific items that must be addressed. “We need to hold China accountable when and if they fail to meet WTO import quotas and obligations; if intellectual property theft takes place; and if there are forced technology transfers before doing business with Chinese companies,” Dux said.
On other issues, AFBF delegates adopted Nebraska’s resolution addressing livestock and poultry health, adding language to support, not require that veterinarians physically examine each animal before writing a prescription. Nebraska also proposed language related to Federal Drug Administration’s (FDA) announced plans to require veterinary prescriptions for all medically important injectable antibiotics.
“Our Nebraska delegates reiterated existing language to oppose any attempt to reclassify over-the-counter, non-prescription injectable antibiotics to prescription-only status. Nebraska’s resolution was passed stating if injectable antibiotics are reclassified FDA should not: require prescriptions on a per animal basis, require additional record keeping for producers outside of regular production records, or hinder use of telemedicine or digital prescriptions,” Nelson said.
AFBF delegates also approved significant language dealing with the controversial subject of lab-produced protein products. Language Nebraska submitted last year opposing the use of meat industry terms when labeling the new products remained the basis for how the organization views this new technology. Policy from Nebraska this year offered support for the new industry adhering to some level of antibiotic regulations, similar to livestock producers.
The AFBF delegates also supported Nebraska’s request to add language supporting continued research on virus survival in imported livestock feed ingredients.
“Given the growing concern about the spread of devastating livestock diseases, including African Swine Fever, our delegates supported a standard hold time being established for livestock amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and soybean meal produced in nonbiosecure or unknown conditions to prevent contamination,” Dux said.
“Overall, we were extremely pleased to see 100 percent of our Nebraska resolutions make it through the process to help guide our now 100 year old national organization,” Nelson said.