In Massachusetts the equine industry makes up 2,300 farms with 26,000 horses, and as such is an important piece of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF). For example, MFBF published a survey (available at http://www.farmbureau.co/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/TheEconomicImpactoftheEquineIndustry-Ma.pdf), that totaled the equine industry’s economic impact in Massachusetts at $386.6 million. In addition, the survey found that the industry supports more than 7,000 jobs statewide and protects about 40,000 acres of land in the Commonwealth.
This type of impact does not go unnoticed by Farm Bureau, as such MFBF has advocated and supported the equine industry on numerous pieces of legislation. For example, many years ago, MFBF pushed to include equine in the definition of agriculture. This designation allows equine stables and boarding facilities to partake in some of the benefits that other livestock owners and producers enjoy, such as enrolling in Chapter 61a, which gives a tax break on land.
This past year, MFBF also fought for critical legislation that allows us to run profitable equine businesses. For example, the organization supported a bill that would change the Massachusetts horse riding instructor licensing program to be more in step with surrounding states’ licensing process. Currently, the licensing process includes a written test with questions focused on animal health, not on instructing riders. No other state has this test. The legislation that MFBF supported would require the licensing process be removed with CORI checks being made a requirement for all riding instructors.
You may be wondering what spurred MFBF to pursue these pieces of legislation and the answer is members. All of MFBF’s policy initiatives are set by members.
The process starts when a county member brings a resolution forth at the county annual meeting. The resolution is then voted upon at the county level and if passed, will be forwarded to the resolutions committee who prepares and forwards the resolution to MFBF’s annual meeting. During the statewide annual meeting, delegates vote on the resolutions that were passed by the counties. Any resolution adopted at the state’s annual meeting becomes one of MFBF’s policy priorities.
This means you can make a difference.
MFBF works for you but can’t work without you. While MFBF’s dues are less than 65 cents day, your membership also entitles you to a discount through Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. The 10 percent discount that you receive off your bill from Tufts will usually more than pay for your membership.
JOIN ONLINE TODAY: http://www.farmbureau.co/online-application/