On Sunday morning (Jan. 13), Bob Stallman, American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) president, took to the podium at the opening of the AFBF annual meeting carrying a long list of farm country issues — both tribulations and triumphs — to highlight.

2012 was not an easy ride for too many farmers who watched a vast swath of farmland burn up in drought, Congress dither over a new farm bill, and saw the unintended consequences of several states passing legislation aimed to deal with migrant labor problems. While pointing to better days ahead, Stallman addressed it all.

“Our issues are often complex and sometimes misunderstood by those outside Farm Bureau. For farmers and ranchers, they are not political issues. They are not ‘red’ or ‘blue’ issues. They are issues of survival! Farm Bureau must remain vigilant, always on guard, for policies or regulations that threaten us with real and substantial impacts on our ability to farm.”

Farm bill

While ruing the inability of Congress to, “take much concrete action during an election year” on a new farm bill, Stallman said, “after the election, it was time to stop campaigning and start governing.”

The extension of the 2008 farm bill “is not perfect but at least it gives us certainty for 2013. Now, we need the new Congress to show the leadership needed to pass long-term farm policy and enact the kind of reforms that the Senate and the House Agriculture Committee have approved.”

Congress’ intransigence must end, said Stallman. “We must let them know our nation can no longer afford political drama, manufactured crises and self-serving jackass stubbornness. We have grown tired of that ‘reality show.’

“Our economy has been taken to the precipice. And even after the ‘fiscal cliff’ debate earlier this month, we remain on a collision course with the true reality of our nation’s debt…