Something to Think About
Don Michael, WVFB Director of Governmental Affairs
Farm Bureau members from
across West Virginia gathered
for their annual meeting at
Flatwoods, November 13-15
at the Days Inn and Suites.
The event provided great
fellowship through a showcase
focusing on educational forums,
policy development, insight
from lawmakers, member and local organization
recognition, competitive events, women’s activities,
young farmer leadership development, and the election
of leadership for the year ahead. Thanks again to
our “STP” (Stability, Trust, Performance) Legislative
Insights Panel – Senator Bob Williams (D-Taylor)
and Delegates Bill Hartman (D-Randolph), “Woody”
Ireland (R-Ritchie) and Amy Summers (R-Taylor).
This group of dedicated public servants offered candid
insights regarding potential legislation and budget
issues impacting the 2016 WV Legislative Session.
Sunday’s programming featured the vocal talents of
Farm Bureau’s Brenda Snyder, as members and guests
had the opportunity to worship with the Dean Family
– what a blessing! As the annual meeting concluded
Farm Bureau leadership met to finalize legislative
priorities for the year ahead. Major priorities include:
• Promote strategies/activities to confront the
ongoing regulatory challenges posed by an ever
aggressive EPA to ensure strength and continued
growth in WV’s agricultural economy.
• Maintain adequate funding for the predator control
• Promote reasonable and responsible legislation
regulating oil and gas exploration that will protect
private property/surface owners’ rights and the
environment, while encouraging the development
of our resources. Farm Bureau supports the
rights of land and mineral owners to negotiate
with other parties to achieve the desired use of
• Support legislative action to direct necessary
financing to Local Education Agencies for
facility maintenance, as well as new construction.
• Support legislative action to ensure local control
on Sunday hunting, with approval only by local
option at the ballot box.
• Farm Bureau recommends an investigation of
individual budget items rather than across-theboard cuts to address budget shortfalls.
• Farm Bureau supports reinstating the food tax as a
• Promote action to ensure county assessors
adhere to the approved formula for appraising
A complete listing of legislative priorities and
Farm Bureau policy will be featured in the January
issue of West Virginia Farm Bureau News.
President Wilfong, Executive Secretary Butler
and I want to thank Delegate Amy Summers for
affording us an opportunity to participate in her
December 1st Town Hall Meeting in Grafton. The
meeting focused on draft legislation addressing the
Horizontal Well Unitization and Landowner Protection
Act of 2016. The meeting was well attended and
included six state lawmakers – Senators Dave Sypolt
and Bob Williams, and Delegates “Woody” Ireland,
Amy Summers, Patsy Trecost II and Terry Waxman.
Thanks again to House Energy Chair Ireland for his
tireless efforts with stakeholders and the excellent
overview presented at the meeting.
Thanks for the Memories – I want to express
my sincere appreciation to the Farm Bureau family for
giving me the opportunity to serve as your Director
of Governmental Affairs for the past nine legislative
sessions. As I said last month, it has truly been a
treat...and my wife and I have been richly blest! After
considerable thought and prayer I have decided it is
time to pass the torch to a newcomer. But rest assured
I will always be faithful to Farm Bureau and our
industry of agriculture. Until our trails cross “under
the Dome,” at a Farm Bureau or agricultural event, or
perhaps in your neck of the woods – KEEP SMILING
FRIENDS, God bless you and your loved ones, and
God bless America. MERRY CHRISTMAS!
West Virginia Farm Bureau News 5