Although I do not talk much about politics (as far as candidates and what should or shouldn’t be endorsed) I’d like to take a moment to discuss what happened in the November mid-term election. A wave of blue was seen not only in California but across the nation, and although it was not as polarizing as some would have predicted, it was significant enough to potentially impact several pieces of legislation that effect agriculture.
November 13th was the beginning of a ‘lame duck’ session in Congress. Over the next few weeks, Republicans will attempt to make the most of this short session and Farm Bureau will be actively monitoring several pieces of legislation that could see swift action including the Farm Bill, immigration and the WOTUS rule.
With the Farm Bill already in a Conference Committee, House Republicans will be looking to bring that legislation to a final vote to ensure their priorities are maintained, including conservation, commodity policy and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). If there is no compromise made, House Democrats could choose to start from scratch next year and present a bill that favors amendments to decrease subsidies and adjust federal crop insurance, among other things. On the Senate side, it remains to be seen whether they will join in the rush to pass the legislation or advocate for a one-year extension to work on a more bi-partisan bill.
Immigration is also expected to be addressed during these next few weeks. The current proposed legislation, H.R. 6417 (Goodlatte), includes provisions for a mandatory E-verify program and a new H-2C program. MCFB and CFBF, as well as many other counties, have been actively advocating against the proposed mandatory E-verify and the H-2C program, as they do not address many areas of concern related to our Ag labor issues.
The MCFB board has set immigration and labor as a priority along with SGMA and other water related issues, so I anticipate that it will be a busy end of the year. As members, I encourage you to contact me or any of the board members with your immediate concerns so that we can address them as we meet with legislators and their staff to try to find solutions.
As the holiday season approaches, I’d like to thank everyone for their continued support and wish all of you a Christmas filled with lots of love and laughter, and a Happy New Year!