Jan. 10, 2017 in Phoenix: OFB’s delegates doing important grassroots work on American Farm Bureau Federation Policy. From right to left are OFB 2nd VP Sharon Waterman, 1st VP Peggy Browne, board member Carol Marie Leuthold, and President Barry Bushue.

Just like at the OFB Annual Meeting, at the heart of the AFBF Convention is the policy work done by the House of Delegates, a body comprised of hundreds of family farmers and ranchers who raise a vast array of crops and animals, come from many different operation sizes in all 50 states, and utilize every type of farming method available.

These volunteers gather annually to revise and vote upon AFBF Policy, which guides Farm Bureau’s legislative efforts at the national level.

Joining OFB President Barry Bushue in Oregon’s delegation at the 2017 AFBF House of Delegates, which convened on Jan. 10 in Phoenix, were OFB 1st Vice President Peggy Browne, 2nd Vice President Sharon Waterman, and OFB Board member Carol Marie Leuthold.

“I love the grassroots policy development process,” said Bushue, who served as AFBF vice president from 2008 to 2016. “It’s an honor to be an integral part of that.”

Following are some highlights:

Antiquities Act: Policy to revise the Antiquities Act so that only a vote by Congress has the power to designate a national monument – not the president. (Take action here against a monument in the Owyhee Canyonlands in Oregon!)

Public lands: New language was approved to require the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and other federal agencies to coordinate and cooperate in a meaningful way with state and local governments in making land management plans and decisions as required by Congress.

Demand regulatory reform: Created a special resolution urging Congress to enact swift, meaningful, and bipartisan regulatory reform. Learn more here.

Human needs over Endangered Species Act: Prioritized humans’ needs for food, fiber, shelter, and energy over restrictions on the productive use of land and water for the benefit of non-human species.


OFB President Barry Bushue stands to make a point on a policy proposal involving retail agriculture.

Farmer & rancher support in Farm Bill: Reaffirmed support for risk-management and safety-net tools in the Farm Bill to defend against volatile commodity markets.

Conservation, nutrition in Farm Bill: Maintained commitment to conservation standards as a requirement for crop insurance. Approved language supporting efforts to fund nutrition programs, including food assistance and school lunches, through the same, unified Farm Bill.

Locally grown food in schools: Called on Congress to support incorporating all types of domestic fruits and vegetables into the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for schools. Supported the use of fresh and locally grown product when available.

Big Data: Reaffirmed support for the protection of proprietary data collected from farmers; farmers should be compensated when their data is used by third parties.

Access press releases, videos, and photos from the AFBF Convention here

Story by Oregon Farm Bureau

The state’s largest general farm organization, Oregon Farm Bureau (OFB) is a grassroots, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing the interests of the state’s farmers and ranchers in the public and policymaking arenas. First established in Oregon in 1919, Farm Bureau is organized in all 36 counties and has 7,000 member families that are professionally engaged in agriculture.