SEATTLE, Wash. — In his annual keynote address Jan. 10, American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman issued a call to action to Farm Bureau members and a stern warning to critics that farmers and ranchers will no longer tolerate opponents’ efforts to change the landscape of American agriculture.
Stallman spoke at the organization’s annual meeting in Seattle, Wash., which runs through Jan. 13 Calling on Farm Bureau members to rally as one during these challenging times, Stallman said there are already too many external forces tugging at agriculture’s seams without farmers and ranchers being divided amongst themselves.
Stallman said that Farm Bureau continues to represent all farmers and ranchers, no matter their size of farm, commodity raised or political philosophy. Farmer’s missions of feeding the nation and the world, caring for the environment and respecting neighbors’ rights has not changed from when AFBF was founded in 1919. But the ways in which farmers and ranchers carry out their mission have changed, said Stallman, which is not understood or respected by critics of modern agriculture.
Stallman said curtailing such “power grabs” has never been as critical as it is now because of the poor economy, a growing population and legislative and regulatory efforts that threaten agriculture’s ability to feed the world. “At the very time we need to increase our food production, climate change legislation threatens to slash our ability to do so,” said Stallman.
Climate legislation currently in Congress would shift as much as 59 million acres of food production into forestry, which is equivalent to setting aside every acre of land used for crop and food production in California, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, according to Stallman.
Stallman concluded by recalling a quote by General George Patton: “Make your plans to fit the circumstances.” “Our adversaries are skillful at taking advantage of our politeness. Publicly, they call for friendly dialogue while privately their tactics are far from that,” said Stallman.