Farm broadcasters now have more clout in their lobbying efforts to keep AM radio in vehicles. Delegates of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) this week adopted policy to support the continued inclusion of AM radios in cars and trucks.
AFBF delegates from state and county farm bureaus across the country approved language “that gives us firm footing in supporting legislation that would make sure that AM radio stays in automobiles as they are manufactured,” says AFBF VP of Public Policy Sam Kieffer.
The organization, made up of farm and ranch families, set its 2024 policy direction at the conclusion of the 2024 Farm Bureau annual convention in Salt Lake City this week. The resolution gives the organization additional firepower when advocating with lawmakers on the AM radio issue.
Kieffer says Farm Bureau delegates rely on AM radio to remain informed and to stay safe during severe weather events. “Agriculture is done where the land is. For a lot of our members who live in rural areas, some of which are very remote, FM is certainly not as reliable and sometimes cell phone service isn’t even available,” he told the National Association of Farm Broadcasters (NAFB) News Service. “Usually AM is, and it's a great opportunity for them to stay abreast of very important things like weather and news and it keeps them connected. In many ways it’s a safety issue,” he added, pointing to tornadoes or hurricanes that are prevalent in agriculture centers such as Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and other states.
“The adoption of this policy language means that we can get behind members of Congress who want to make sure that these communications capabilities and mechanisms are not restricted moving forward, either by government edict or by manufacturing trends,” Kieffer told NAFB News Service Editor Micheal Clements. “What we've seen is some of the manufacturers have reacted and responded and we want to make sure that that remains a priority.”
Adopting the policy is the latest effort by the agricultural industry to keep the legacy radio band in cars and trucks. In December, a coalition of 25 agricultural groups threw their support behind the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act (H.R. 3413/S.1669). In addition to AFBF and the NAFB, the coalition includes Agricultural Retailers Association and American Dairy Coalition.
During its annual Washington Watch conference last spring, NAFB laid out to a group of lawmakers what the removal of AM from vehicles could mean in rural areas. Last summer NAFB released research showing 74% of farmers and ranchers listen to ag radio five or more days a week. The average time spent listening is just over an hour, with listenership highest in the early morning hours.