On Thursday at the 24th Annual Joint Commodity Conference, Ray Starling, General Council and Sr. Policy Advisor for Agricultural Issues for NC House Speaker Thom Tillis, will be moderating a panel on legislative issues affecting agriculture. Starling explains that this will be a great opportunity to hear from folks that are actually part of the action:
“One thing I think the ag community is doing better is staying involved in the policy debate at both the state and federal levels. I think this is a neat opportunity for the farmers in the room to hear from the folks who are leaders in each of the chambers and who will be making the decisions that matter on significant issues like tax reform, regulatory reform, economic growth and things like that.”
The country as a whole just dodged a huge bullet with the fiscal cliff legislation that also resolved the estate tax situation. Starling says there’s also issues to be addressed within our own borders, and part of the goal of this panel to is show the ag community that these elected officials are accessible:
“Part of the conversation is to remind them that they have access to these folks and they can make their concerns known. Secondly, be aware that this group of people is only trying to do what is best for NC and what is best for business. Part of this is also about alleviating fears and making sure folks know the door is open.”
Starling says the tides have turned in downtown Raleigh, from recognizing agriculture as the state’s number one economy, to the desire to help the ag sector grow in North Carolina:
“How can we take this strong industry, this staple, and grow it even a small percentage. In doing so the dividends are huge. If we can grow the businesses that are already here that seems like a smart way to grow our economy. Its important to note that the conversation has turned from lets appreciate ag to what can we do to help it grow as a sector.”
Also scheduled to be on the panel are Michael Hannah, Legal Counsel to NC Senate Finance Committee, David Lewis, member of the NC House, and Bob Rucho member of the NC Senate. The roundtable discussion that starling will be moderating is at 1:00 pm on Thursday during the Joint Commodities Conference at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in Durham.
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