Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) was recently honored by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) for winning four President’s Awards in the areas of Leadership Development, Member Services, Policy Development and Implementation, and Public Relations and Communications. The awards represent outstanding achievement in areas fundamental to building and maintaining a strong organization. For the fifth year in a row, MFBF was presented with the Pinnacle Award — the highest award a state can earn for program achievement.
MFBF’s Leadership Development program aims to develop future leaders by teaching them valuable skills and giving them the opportunity to put the skills to use. A demonstration of this principle in action was the “Livestock on the Common” event organized by the MFBF Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) committee. The group organized the event which brought an assortment of farm animals to graze on the Boston Common, and provided an opportunity for open dialogue with legislators about the challenges of raising livestock, and how proposed legislation could affect them. The event also gave many urbanites their first up-close contact with farm animals, and a chance to ask questions and learn how farmers care for their animals.
A recent example of MFBF’s success in the area of Policy Development and Implementation is the extension of investment tax credits to non-incorporated farms, fishing and manufacturing operations. Farm Bureau pushed for changes to existing law to provide a 3% tax credit on purchases or leases of tangible property such as livestock, equipment, boats and some buildings.
“We’ve seen about a 30% increase in the number of small farms in the last decade, most of which aren’t incorporated and will benefit from the credit,” said Dr. A. Richard Bonanno, President of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation. “These farms and jobs aren’t going to be outsourced overseas; they’re a part of the community and the tax credits will be reinvested in the local economy.”
The MA Department of Revenue estimates the new law (which goes into effect in April) will put between $400,000 and $1.2 million back in the pockets of these businesses annually.