AFBF President Zippy Duvall Talks about What Farm Bureau wants in the Farm Bill and what is expected in 2023

At the National Association of Farm Broadcasters, Farm Director KC Sheperd caught up with American Farm Bureau president Zippy Duvall to talk about this year’s cost of Thanksgiving dinner, obstacles they have faced this year, and what they would like to see in the 2023 Farm Bill. Duvall says it seems like every year the cost of thanksgiving dinner goes up, but that this year, the price of everything has gone up, “Yeah, they have a lot of people across the country purchasing. I think 225 people were out buying stuff and comparing prices. I think this is 37th year doing that, so everybody looks forward to it coming out.”

Duvall said he doesn’t recall a year in which the prices went down, “You know, this one was about 20% higher this year. I think last year was 14% higher than the year before that. Duvall says that the prices reflect the trouble we are seeing with inflation, “The troubles we see in input costs, packing and transportation we see that reflected in the prices. When you’re a farmer, you’re concerned about whether it’s high in a grocery store. We don’t want those people to think we’re getting rich because we’re not really still only eight cents on every dollar that they spend at the grocery store ends up back at the farmer’s farm to be able to pay for all that stuff to produce.”

Looking ahead to next year Farm Bureau is thinking about its priorities and the challenges that come along with a new farm bill. Still, Duvall also considers this a bright spot, ” Coming out of the pandemic, everybody realizes that being able to afford food and have availability of food is important to every American. And maybe some of those families have never thought about they’re probably thinking about that now, and it’s often at the front of their minds. So when we go to Target congressmen and senators, they will be more aware of how important the farm bill is.”

Duvall said another challenge with the farm bill is that we will see over 100 congress members that have never written a Farm Bill. Still, he will be excited to see Congressman Frank Lucas back to help, “Mr. Lucas is a true American hero when it comes to Agriculture.” Duvall said Farm Bureau will be on Capital hill trying to help Lucas build relationships with those newly elected officials, “We want to make sure they understand that we’ll be a resource to them because we have the policy that comes straight from the farm.”

From his perspective, Duvall said the most challenging thing about writing a farm bill is the fight around nutrition and how that program is delivered, “Really and truly, a lot of times it’s not around the farm programs, but we’re going to be there to make sure that crop insurance stays intact, do no harm to it. Because it’s the cornerstone in the farm bill and gives risk management that all farmers need and deserve.” Duvall said they will also be talking about title one, “We’re looking forward to our convention to see whether or not delegates want us to ask for adjustments in Title one because of the increase in production costs.”

Duvall says they have always supported conservation and values that their farmers volunteer for programs to continue and move in the direction of climate-smart agricultural and conservation programs. However, he says the one thing they don’t talk about enough is the Research and development dollars, “These need to be in the farm bill to be able to be spent to discover those new technologies that we need to continue on that road of climate-smart practices.”

Duvall said he would like to see labor issues improve, “it is one of those issues that seems never to find a solution. It is time for Congress to realize this is not a political issue. This is an issue that affects the economy of our country, and especially in rural America, and agriculture.”

Duvall said if kids want to return to the family farm after college, there has to be a better solution for Labor, “The future of our industry and bringing young people back is going to be determined on whether or not we can have the labor there to get the work done.”

Duvall looks forward to AFBF’s annual convention, which is coming up on January 6-11th in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He looks forward to seeing delegates and hashing out the most critical issues. Click or tap to hear KC’s conversation with President Zippy Duvall.

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