Tag Archives: Policy Development

NHFB Young Farmer Committee Connects with Legislators Over Breakfast

NHFB Young Farmer Committee Vice-Chair Nicole Glines speaks at the annual Young Farmer Legislative Breakfast, held this year at Pearl & Sons Farm in Loudon.

The New Hampshire Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmer Committee held their annual Legislative Breakfast event at Pearl & Sons Farm in Loudon on Tuesday, March 26. Each spring, the group of agricultural enthusiasts between the ages of 16 and35 invites members of the NH House Environment & Agriculture Committee, federal lawmakers, and other movers and shakers in NH agriculture to join them for a hearty meal and an opportunity to hear concerns facing young farmers across the state.

“Implementing policies that still give farmers the necessary latitude to do their jobs well is critical to the stability of our local food system,” NHFB Young Farmer Committee Vice-Chair Nicole Glines said. “Less than 2% of the nation’s population feeds everyone else, and that gap widens more every day, making the agricultural community very much a voting minority. Combine that with the huge disconnect most people have from food production and we have a concerning situation where positive intentions can have negative results.  The annual Young Farmer Legislative Breakfast is a valuable networking event to connect young members of our ag community and our state’s decision makers. Our hope is that legislators will have new resources to turn to in the event a policy affecting agriculture crosses their desk.”

NHFB Young Farmer Committee members (left to right) Nicole Glines, Amelia Aznive, Joe Garcia, and Ben Davis at the annual NHFB Young Farmer Legislative Breakfast

This year, the event was hosted by Environment & Agriculture Committee member, and NHFB Treasurer, Representative Howard Pearl. Young farmers, legislators, and other guests networked inside Pearl’s heated shop during breakfast before Glines facilitated a group discussion on current bills and subjects of interest. NH Commissioner of Agriculture Shawn Jasper spoke about the Dairy Premium Fund, Representative Peter Bixby updated the group on the prospects of industrial hemp production in the state, Representative Sherry Dutzy asked about safety nets and retirement planning for farmers, and Representative Judy Aron touched on the importance of youth agricultural groups like the NHFB Young Farmers, FFA, and 4-H.

Also in attendance were staffers for Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Representatives Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas who all read letters recognizing the importance of young people in agriculture and the overall impact agriculture has on the Granite State economy.

All agricultural enthusiasts and producers between the ages of 16 and 35 are encouraged to participate in the New Hampshire Farm Bureau Young Farmer program. It is a terrific way to meet others with similar interests in agriculture as well as provides many opportunities to develop professionally and personally. The Young Farmers participate in farm tours, community service projects, and influence public policy affecting agriculture in the Granite State. To learn more, visit www.nhfarmbureau.org.

Holding Politicians Accountable Through Policy and Persistence

_mg_1232The 2016 growing season has brought its fair share of trials and troubles to the Granite State. We have all been experiencing, either first hand or through the countless news stories on television and on-line, the effects of a prolonged and fierce drought. The dairy industry may have been hit the worst as the unique combination of weather and low milk prices has led to twice as many New Hampshire dairy farms closing up shop this year than the previous four years combined. While no one can legislate enough rain to pull us out of the drought, our farmers have begun calling for legislative remedies to the dairy crisis looming over the state. As more and more folks speak up and challenge our elected officials to find a way to help, those officials have been forced to listen.

Politicians have been visiting farms and holding meetings to gather information. They are reaching out to lawmakers in Washington, D.C. and saying all the right things. But so far no action has been taken. Although a Milk Producers Emergency Relief Fund was established in New Hampshire in 2008, it has never been funded. The assurances and platitudes have borne no fruit.

While our legislators have had no choice but to pay heed to the challenges facing agriculture, moving forward it is up to us as individuals to hold them to their campaign promises. Listen to what your local and regional leaders are saying about how they will help agriculture. Get involved by calling or writing your Representatives and Senators. But don’t stop after you cast your vote in November. As an industry we must be sure the promises made in an election year are followed through when we need them most.

As a grassroots organization, Farm Bureau’s best gift to you is the confidence that thousands of other farmers, conservationists, and land owners stand behind you, but it is the power of individuals getting involved that makes the biggest difference. This time of year you have the opportunity to help write the policy that guides our organization by attending your County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting. Policies adopted at those meetings move along to the Policy Development Committee and finally the delegate session at NH Farm Bureau’s Annual Meeting in November. Through this policy development process, Farm Bureau’s members plot the course of action we will take as the voice of agriculture in New Hampshire.

-Josh Marshall, NH Farm Bureau Communications Director