“Our delegates approved a policy that is flexible enough to work within the funding constraints we, as a nation, are facing, and the fiscal challenges we have a duty to address,” Stallman said. “Our delegates recognize we need to move beyond the policies of the past and to move toward programs to help producers deal with risk.”

One of the big advantages of the new AFBF farm policy position is that it offers a much simpler approach to farm program design than other farm policy proposals, according to Stallman.

The AFBF farm policy also encourages farmers to manage their farms using available risk management tools. According to Stallman, farmers should be allowed and encouraged to make individual management decisions to purchase crop insurance coverage that suits their farms and individual levels of risk.

Another positive aspect of the Farm Bureau farm policy proposal is that it can be applied to specialty crops.

“Our new farm policy position also includes the possibility of providing a farm bill risk management program for producers of fruits and vegetables,” Stallman said. “This is just one positive aspect of the proposal that we believe not only will broaden its utility to all farmers but will also appeal to an American public that is more interested in the wholesomeness, safety and variety of our domestic food supply.”

In a related discussion on dairy policy, delegates voted to move away from the current dairy price support and Milk Income Loss Contract programs and toward a program that bases risk protection on milk prices minus feed costs. This takes production costs into consideration, as well as recognizes the dairy industry’s regional differences, according to Stallman.

On renewable fuels, the delegates reaffirmed support for the federal Renewable Fuels Standard by defeating an amendment to strike that support

“The RFS remains critical to the viability of ethanol as an alternative to imported petroleum fuel,” explained Stallman, “and the delegates felt that continuing to support production and use of domestic renewable fuels was a national security issue.”

The delegates opposed the Labor Department’s proposed expansion of the list of jobs deemed too hazardous for minors.

“The proposal has raised serious concerns in farm country about our ability to teach our children how to farm and instill a good work ethic,” Stallman said.

“There is a great deal of concern about federal regulatory overreach, but few issues have piqued farm families more than this. It goes to the very heart of how agriculture works, with farmers and ranchers, who were taught by their parents how to do farm work safely and responsibly, training the next generation to follow in their own footsteps.”

The delegates also supported a moratorium on new regulations on small businesses and agriculture.

At the AFBF annual meeting, 369 voting delegates representing every state and agricultural commodity deliberated on policies affecting farmers’ and ranchers’ productivity and profitability. The policies approved at the annual meeting will guide the nation’s largest general farm organization in its legislative and regulatory efforts throughout 2012.