This year, many farmers used newly developed seed and crop protection technologies using Dicamba as a way to successfully control the pigweed problem in soybean and cotton crops. However, there were some reports of Dicamba damage to tobacco, non-tolerant soybeans, and peanuts. NCFB continues to work with state regulators to determine whether it was a result of: off label use of older Dicamba products, failure to follow label directions on the new Dicamba formulations, or if off target movement of Dicamba occurred due to drift or volatilization. NCFB also facilitated a meeting of commodity groups, university specialists, and industry to discuss possible causes and proposed solutions.

Seed and Pesticide Companies "Mega Mergers"

The Syngenta-ChemChina merger is complete and was the first "mega merger" to gain approval from regulatory agencies earlier this year. In addition, the Dow-Dupont merger has been completed. DuPont sold part of their crop protection business to FMC for $2.5B in order to gain regulatory approval. The new company will be called DowDupont. The Bayer-Monsanto merger continues to move forward following an announcement by Bayer that they will sell their Liberty Link technology and field crop seed business and Liberty herbicide business to BASF.

NC Forever

A diverse alliance of businesses, conservation groups and non-profits has formed NC Forever, a 501(c)(3), to advocate for increase funding for programs that preserve and protect land and water resources. NCFB is a founding member of NC Forever. NC Forever can be used as an additional advocate for more funding for the NC Ag Cost Share and AgWRAP programs.

Federal Regulatory Reform

Farm Bureau has taken a stand against regulatory overreach and is working to reform the federal regulatory process and preserve farmers' and ranchers' landuse and water rights. NCFB is supporting federal legislation to ensure that the federal rulemaking processis transparent and fact-based, respects the will of Congress, and observes the separation of powers in the Constitution. Also, NCFB is asking the Administration for changes to specific regulations imposed by several federal agencies, such as EPA and US Department of Agriculture (USDA), in order to provide common sense regulatory relief for farmers.

Produce Safety Rules Implementation

Regulations that implement the Food Safety Modernization Act are in the process of phasing in. NCFB is partnering with NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS), NC State University (NCSU), NC Cooperative Extension, NCA&T State University and other public and private entities to conduct statewide and local in-person meetings for produce farmers, association executives and influential policy makers to shape how the rules will be implemented in the state. NCFB also coordinates regular conference calls with stakeholders at the state and national level to keep partners and farmers apprised of implementation progress. NCFB is working with partners at NCSU and NCDA&CS to frame a plan to leverage costshare funding when appropriate to help farmers comply with produce safety rules.

Farm Bill

In preparation for the upcoming Farm Bill, American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) established a Farm Bill Advisory Committee to help prioritize farm bill policy where needed, provide Farm Bureau feedback, and participate in the field hearings. NCFB served as a representative on the AFBF Farm Bill Task Force that prepared policy development materials and advised the AFBF Board on matters relative to the Farm Bill.

Disaster Assistance

NCFB worked with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) in the wake of hurricane Matthew to assist in the documentation process for flood losses and implementation of disaster assistance.


The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is currently being renegotiated to protect the gains achieved in agricultural trade and to remove remaining barriers to trade with Canada and Mexico. Priorities for a modernized NAFTA include updated, science-based sanitary and phytosanitary rules; improved dispute settlement procedures for fresh fruits, vegetables and horticultural products; eliminated or reduced Canadian tariff barriers to dairy, poultry eggs and wine, as well as the recently implemented barriers to ultra-filtered milk; addressing the misuse of geographical indicators; and developing a consistent, science-based approach to biotechnology.

Tax Reform

Efforts are being made for replacing the current federal income tax with a fair and equitable tax system that encourages success, savings, investment and entrepreneurship. Tax reform should embrace the following principles: be comprehensive, reduce effective tax rates, allow cost recovery, repeal estate taxes, and lower capital gains taxes. The new tax code should reduce tax rates and be simple, transparent, revenue-neutral, and fair to farmers.

Rural Entrepreneurship

North Carolina's growing population is a fertile market for farm direct agricultural consumption. Farmers engaging in on-farm entrepreneurship benefit the state and their neighbors through stewardship of natural resources, by creating local economic value, fostering a sense of community, and preserving North Carolina's cultural heritage. Among the types of businesses North Carolina's rural and farm community develop are experiential businesses such as agritourism, product-based businesses such as farm-made foods, value-added products and crafts, and production businesses such as services offered to the public or other farmers. NCFB is partnering with AFBF to extend the national Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge to North Carolina. A subset of national applicants was offered the opportunity to compete for prize money at the NCFB Annual Meeting in December where members will vote on their favorites.

Sentinel Landscapes

Sentinel Landscapes is a formal public/private partnership focused on preserving the working and rural character of our private lands that are important for national defense, agricultural, and conservation priorities. Through the Sentinel Landscapes partnership, NCFB and other partners work with willing landowners on land improvements and maintenance in overlapping priority areas near military installations to preserve favorable environments for military training. The NC Sentinel Landscape Partnership will plan and execute mutually beneficial programs, projects, activities, and strategies to: preserve, enhance, and/or protect open space, habitat, working lands, and associated agricultural and forest production in areas identified as priority areas for the military; reduce, prevent, or eliminate restrictions that inhibit military testing and training; and thereby forestall incompatible development for a holistic approach to conservation.

Feed the Dialogue NC Foundation

In 2017, the Foundation brought on its first Executive Director and Social Media Coordinator. Redesigns in the Feed the Dialogue NC website and social media sites resulted in a significant increase in followers on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Numerous presentations were made to commodity leaders encouraging greater involvement in the Foundation. A successful chef and blogger event was held in September that included 25 bloggers, four farmers, a chef and the Director of Cooperative Extension. The Foundation is continually identifying additional opportunities to bring farmers and consumers together to discuss questions and concerns they have about the food they eat and the farmers who grow it.

Emergency Relief/CR

The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 601 by a vote of 316 – 90, a bill that includes emergency funding relief, extends the debt ceiling and funds a continuing resolution (CR). The bill contains $15.2 billion in emergency funding relief. Additionally, the bill extends the debt ceiling and funds the government through Dec. 8. The bill now moves to the president who said he would sign the bill into law.


The Health Insurance Tax (HIT Tax) increases health insurance costs for farmers and other small businesses by imposing a levy on the net premiums of health insurance companies. This added yearly cost of about $500 per family is passed on to consumers who obtain their health insurance through the fully insured market. There is currently a one-year moratorium on the collection of the HIT. Repeal of the HIT tax was contained in the House passed bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Now that the path to ACA repeal is blocked, hill efforts have turned to extending the moratorium of the collection of the HIT Tax. Action is needed soon because insurance companies are in the process formulating their premiums for next year. Several legislative vehicles are being considered but tax reform legislation is not one of them because action is not expected quickly enough. The "Stop the HIT" coalition of which Farm Bureau is a member is organizing in-district round tables in strategic districts with the goal of boosting support for action on the HIT tax.

Congressional Scorecard Online

In order to share the voting record of members of Congress on the key issues affecting farmers, ranchers and rural communities, Farm Bureau recently launched a Congressional Scorecard and Voting Record website application. The custom website application will track key issues and congressional votes. As key votes are recorded, AFBF will maintain scores and calculate the percentage at which each member voted in favor of AFBF's position on key issues.

NC's Blacklands Treasure

A new book available now highlights North Carolina's Blacklands Treasure by telling "the story of the determined, steadfast and downright stubborn pioneers who turned this seeming wasteland into a bountiful breadbasket." Northeastern North Carolina's Blacklands are home to some of the most productive farmland in the USA. Throughout much of its history, however, this region's murky swamps and impenetrable wilderness defeated many who tried to tame it. (252) 480-0755. www.pamlicoandalbemarle.com