A Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) resolution focused on excluding shellfish aquaculture workers from the term “seamen” under the Jones Act (Section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act), has made it into 2021 American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) policy. The resolution provides that while looking for this exclusion, the worker needs to have state workers compensation insurance available.
“We estimate if this policy is enacted that it would save our aquaculture members about $1,500 per year per covered employee,” said MFBF President Mark Amato. “Those savings would be huge for an industry that has been hard hit from COVID as they depend on restaurant sales for income.”
This is just one example of how a local Farm Bureau member can make a difference – even at the federal level. This resolution was submitted to MFBF from its newly formed Martha’s Vineyard Farm Bureau. After being adopted by the MFBF delegates at its annual meeting, it was submitted to AFBF for consideration. AFBF delegates adopted the proposal at their annual meeting on January 14th and it is now included in AFBF’s policy. AFBF will look for opportunities to make the necessary changes in the law over the coming months.
“We always stress that Farm Bureau is a grassroots organization and that all of our policy comes from our members,” Amato said. “We work for our farmer members to ensure their businesses can be successful even in challenging legislative environments.”
The resolutions process will begin again in the late summer/fall when county Farm Bureaus begin to host their annual meetings. MFBF is looking forward to more thoughtful input from its county farmer members on policy.