In an effort to better understand Arizonaborder issues, American Agri-Women (AAW) heard from several speakers on the topic at its annual agricultural policy review meeting held recently inPhoenix.
Sue Krentz, wife of rancher Rob Krentz who was murdered by anillegal alien as he checked cattle on his southern Arizona ranch inMarch 2010, and Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, just back fromtestifying before a Senate committee hearing in Washington, D.C., spokeabout the hardships they face because of the "porous" border.
Barbara Jackson, current vice president of American NationalCattleWomen from Tucson, Ariz., described ANCW's new "animal well being"educational program and suggested that people check the internet and goto RestoreOurBorder.org to learn what the Arizona Cattlemen's Association recommend on improving the border situation.
Anna Marie Knorr, representing Western Growers Association, echoedprevious speakers but emphasized that it is imperative forfarmers, ranchers and growers to have access to legal foreign workers through newlegislation.
AAW President Chris Wilson, Manhattan, Kan., explained that the borderissue was only one of many issues discussed at the meeting.
The meeting was comprised of 58 women from 20states who updated last year's legislative positions in preparation fortheir annual trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with congressional leaders in June.
"Since its beginning in 1974 American Agri-Women has strived toobtain a legal workforce so that we can continue to harvest perishablecrops and enable dairies and cattle operations to produce food for ourcitizens, " Wilson said. "Without a change in our country's immigrationpolicy we will lose the ability to feed our own people, much less theworld, and we will depend on foreign sources of food which may not haveour high quality standards or inspection requirements.
"In addition to ag jobs and securing the border,"Wilson continued,"we also put at the top of our priority list overregulation by the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and loss of private propertyrights.There are two particular concerns we have as detailed by ourspeaker, Karen Budd-Falen, an attorney from Cheyenne, Wyo. Budd-Falendiscussed the Open Equal Access to Justice Act, which was firstintroduced in Congress last year and urges members of Congress torequire an accounting of how much money is paid out by the federalgovernment to environmental groups who sue government agencies."
Budd-Falen also pointed out the possible danger of losing grazing rights whenBureau of Land Management acres are designated as "Wild Lands." This change is being supported by the present administration.
A dozen Arizona women leaders in agriculture were guests of honor at an AAW reception held inanticipation of a new state affiliate being organized there.Groups represented included the Cowgirls Historical Foundation, ArizonaCowBelles and Arizona Farm Bureau.
For more information on American Agri-Women and the upcomingJune 12 - 15,Washington, D.C.,Legislative Fly-In visit AmericanAgriWomen.org.