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American Farm Bureau president addresses Delaware meeting

January 3, 2018

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall was special guest speaker at the recent Delaware Farm Bureau annual meeting in Dover. In his visits to every state and Puerto Rico, Duvall said he has seen three common issues facing farmers: ag labor, trade and regulatory reform.

Duvall said, "Labor is the hardest issue to bring attention to because the subject always veers off to immigration or border control.” He understands the enormity of all the regulations hanging over the heads of farmers. "Every time you move in the field, you feel you have to look – are you breaking a regulation? There are a lot of people watching, especially regulations around water control," he said.

“Trade is important because one-third of ag income depends on foreign trade. If we don't do bilateral trade, we'll get behind more and more, and other countries will jump in [and supply the needs]," he said.

Duvall encouraged farmers to stay engaged, particularly as Congress takes on consideration of the new farm bill. In conclusion, he said, “Be united, engaged, persevering, with a belief that things will be better. Ag is strong, tough. We always find a way through. If we can do these three things, we will lay the groundwork for a bright future for agriculture and for America."

Delegates to the annual meeting, representing the three county farm bureaus, expressed concern about the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act. Don Parrish, AFBF senior director of congressional relations, said, “AFBF is being very sensitive to reporting private information. Security in general and biosecurity specifically are critical to our families, farms and our food supply."

In her report, DFB President Kitty Holtz said, "We have heard your desperation about damage from an increasing large deer population. We are currently working on a resolution."

At DFB's annual banquet held two days later, the Cannon/Knutsen family of Kent County was named DFB 2017 Farm Family of the Year.

Marty Ross, farmer and chairman of the Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission, was honored as recipient of the DFB 2017 Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award. A lifelong resident of Sussex County, Ross has served on the Governor's Advisory Council for State Planning Coordination since its inception and was a member of former Gov. Ruth Ann Minner's Delaware Energy Task Force. He has represented Mid-Atlantic soybean producers on the National Biodiesel Board and as a director of the U.S. Soybean Board.

Ross is well known for his support of agriculture, his respect for rural property and his thorough understanding of land-use issues. He has represented Delaware Farm Bureau on several land-use and wetlands committees for legislators and the governor.

The Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee recognized the King sisters – Jackie, Nancy, Donna and Bonny, whose parents started King Crop Insurance Agency in Georgetown 50 years ago – as YF&R Supporter of the Year.