Home Farming’s future is bright, but challenges lie ahead

Farming’s future is bright, but challenges lie ahead


newspaperIt’s a great time to be a part of agriculture, according to American Farm Bureau Federation Vice President Barry Bushue, and U.S. farmers have access to numerous new technology and trade opportunities.

Bushue, who also is Oregon Farm Bureau Federation’s vice president, spoke Dec. 3 at the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation’s 2015 Annual Convention in Norfolk.

“Despite an overall aging population, young farmers are starting up new enterprises or joining their families’ farms,” Bushue said. “There is tremendous opportunity ahead.”

Bushue noted that agriculture is the foundation of many rural communities and gives those communities a sense of stability. But he also cautioned that the industry still faces many challenges.

With federal agencies like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency overreaching their boundaries, he said, farmers “need to stay on course. But it’s the passion and resilience for agriculture that made our future so bright.” And through Farm Bureau, he said, the nation’s farmers and ranchers are able to engage with Congress and regulatory agencies and courts to help protect their businesses.

It was through a Farm Bureau campaign launched earlier this year that producers began working to share factual, science-based information about genetically modified organisms. The campaign was driven, in part by recent GMO product bans and attempts in some states to mandate labeling of foods that contain GMO ingredients.

“Biotechnology should not be a county-by-county or a state-by-state issue,” Bushue said. “These products are tested for safety by federal agencies. The bottom line is that this is a national issue, and we need a national solution.”

He said the most potentially damaging issue American farmers currently face—and the biggest overreach by a federal agency—is the EPA’s “Waters of the United States” rule.

“Virginia Farm Bureau has been an aggressive and reasoned voice against the rule,” Bushue said, calling it “the biggest land grab in the history of the agency.”

Enforcement of the rule was halted in October by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. Bushue said that helps farmers’ cause, but he said it won’t help forever. “Cases will go through the courts for years, but it can be stopped now” if the Senate passes S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act. That act would nullify the “Waters” rule. The House of Representatives passed a similar bill in May.

Bushue said farmers should be “proud of where we are and be unapologetic for what we have accomplished. … By nature we are particularly passionate people for our farms. The biggest reason for Farm Bureau’s success is … all of you.”



Have a guest column, letter to the editor, story idea or a news tip? Email editor Chris Graham at [email protected]. Subscribe to AFP podcasts on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPandora and YouTube.

Latest News

missing person

Police: Charlottesville family concerned about 23-year-old man last seen in May

college world series

Live Coverage: UVA, UNC tied at 1-1 in the fourth in 2024 College World Series opener

UVA (46-15), the #12 national seed, faces North Carolina (47-14), the #4 national seed, in the opening game of the 2024 College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha.

elijah gertrude

Breaking News: UVA finally confirms Elijah Gertrude out for 2024-2025 season

It’s finally official: UVA Basketball announced Friday, in a conveniently timed news dump, with the focus of the UVA Athletics fan base on the College World Series, that Elijah Gertrude is out for the season after a scooter accident on April 30.

family concept two boys IVF twins
Health, Politics, U.S. & World News

‘How dare you?’: Senate Republicans reject legislation to protect IVF access

woman inside her home with hand fan
U.S. & World News

Beating the extreme heat: Funds available for AC for families in public housing

richard sanders and weapons seized

Charlottesville: Man arrested with machine gun in Tonsler Park

road work

Traffic alert: Travel lane shifts in Harrisonburg on westbound Route 33 begin June 18