Political Action & Education Committee
The Farm Bureau Political Action and Education Committee (PAEC) focuses on a variety of local, state and federal issues that affect agriculture. The educational component provides information to the public so that the story of agriculture can be heard and understood. The political component works on numerous topics that include: land use, water, local government, taxes, air quality, state policy and federal legislation. The issues are dynamic and new topics are never in short supply.
Political Action & Education Committee Report
Reported by Peter Bradford, Committee Chair
Presidential election-Supervisors elected
COVID may be ongoing but the Presidential Election that took place on November 3, 2020 is over, the ballots are counted, and the results are tabulated. It may be years before the discussions about the election and the national results are over, but for county results, Mendocino County has two new county supervisors. We welcome First District Supervisor Elect Glenn McGourty and Second District Supervisor Elect Maureen Mulheren and congratulate them on their victory. The Mendocino County Farm Bureau (MCFB) has always sought to work with our county supervisors in supporting agriculture and our members and the Mendocino County Political Action and Education Committee (PAEC) looks forward to continuing that relationship with both new supervisors. The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors are key to the future prospects for agriculture and our members in Mendocino County. Below are several examples.
Cannabis as an Agricultural Activity
On December 8, 2020, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors (BOS) met and one of the agenda items was:
Agenda item 5i) Discussion and Possible Direction to Staff Regarding the Cannabis Cultivation Permitting Program Priorities from September 22, 2020 and Direction to Staff to Review Additional Options for the Program Including Potential Consideration of Cannabis Cultivation as an Agricultural Activity.
This discussion may have been initiated as an alternate to the current CEQA process for Phase 1 permit conversions. The BOS is continuing the discussion from that meeting and MCFB is on record as stating that cannabis is defined under the Business and Professions Code (BPC Div. 10. Section 26069 (a)) as an agricultural product, and not defined under the Food and Agricultural Code, by state legislation. Since cannabis is not defined as an agricultural commodity, cannabis is not eligible as a qualifying use under the Williamson Act, and is not covered under various other state agricultural doctrines. MCFB also noted that cannabis is still federally illegal, and until that designation is changed, it is premature for Mendocino County to call the production of cannabis an agricultural activity.
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Farm Pac & Farm Team
Working to Protect Your Bottom Line
The biggest threat to farming is not an act of nature. The cumulative burden of increased taxes and regulations has a direct affect on your profitability.
No one person can face such obstacles alone. However, with Farm Bureau you have the tools to weather the storm.
Farm Bureau has two programs that directly impact your bottom line – the California Farm Bureau Fund to Protect the Family Farm (FARM PAC®) and the FARM TEAM.
These programs compliment each other and work to achieve one common goal – to protect people like you – California’s family farmers and ranchers.
FARM PAC is Farm Bureau’s political action committee, the muscle and voice representing farming interests in the political arena.
Farm Bureau does not utilize membership dues for making political contributions. This is why Farm Bureau created FARM PAC more than thirty years ago.
The voluntary contributions of members like you, allows Farm Bureau to make political contributions to candidates who are committed to working in the best interests of the state’s farmers and ranchers, regardless of their party affiliation.
When deciding whether or not to support a candidate’s re-election campaign, FARM PAC allows Farm Bureau to hold those lawmakers accountable for their actions while in office.
In addition to being able to make political contributions, Farm Bureau also saw the need for California’s family farmers and ranchers to tell their story, while weighing in on legislation and regulations.
FARM TEAM allows you to contact the lawmakers who make the decisions that impact your farming and ranching operations.
As a web-based program, you will receive email Action Alerts from FARM TEAM that enable you to send letters and participate in activities that influence public policy and the outcome of elections.
In a matter of minutes, from the comfort of your own home and at your own convenience – you can take part in the political process and ultimately work to protect California’s rich agricultural heritage.
There are many issues before lawmakers this year that will impact how you do business. A water bond intended to provide additional water storage and conveyance, eminent domain fixes, food safety regulations and legislation to reduce metal theft are all on the table.
Remember, Farm Bureau’s strength is in its numbers and you have the tools to contribute to that strength. Regardless of how you participate, it benefits agriculture, and ultimately, it benefits you.
“If I were running a business that grossed $10,000,000 per year, I would probably have my own attorney on staff or maybe more than one. However, much to my dismay, I do not gross even a fraction of that. So why is this relevant your ask? Our team of state and federal law makers has nothing better to do than make new and exciting laws for us to try and follow. Then let’s add ballot measures that seek to force us to cut dead trees down. Many of these laws and measures are thousands of pages of drivel and technical jargon. I run a one man freak show (some would call it a business) and it’s all I can do to get the work done that needs doing on a day to day basis. So when there is measure X on the ballot that is a 1400 page measure that might affect my business, how do I make an informed decision? I look to Farm Bureau. CFBF has a legal department whose job is to look out for the well being of agriculture. They read all 1400 pages of drivel and boil it down to something I can understand with a minimal amount of research.”Member since 2003
“Being a Farm Bureau member is important for many reasons, but to me the most important reason for being a member is that the people who often times are making decisions about what happens on my farm, elected officials, have no basis for those decisions other than preconceived ideas or what they are being told by individuals who don’t have my best interest in mind. Farm Bureau provides a strong, focused voice on my behalf to educate and influence these elected leaders so that I can continue to operate my business and support my family.”Former President and member since 2006
“Living in a state where the political power is concentrated in a few big cities, we need political clout, there is no stronger more supportive ally than Farm Bureau. Whether the issue is local, statewide or national, no one represents rural interests like Farm Bureau.”Former President and member since 1992