The American Goat Federation fills the serious need for a national trade association for goat producers. Using the input from its member organizations, AGF jointly develops policy on the industry’s top issues which are then voted on by an industry-wide board. The policies with broad support among producers allow leaders and lobbyists to speak to federal policy makers with one unified voice for the goat industry. As with all livestock industries, animal identification, animal health, promotion and marketing, land management and ownership, export opportunities and import protocols are all high-priority topics for policy.
AGF policy development enables the goat industry to be at the table with federal agencies when rules and regulations are developed. Similarly, when programs are established to support livestock production, the Federation relays the unique needs of goat producers through the policies that have been developed. A unified, national voice for the goat industry is invaluable when interacting with the agencies within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) – from market collection and national statistics information to ensuring that goats are eligible to participate in new programs and animal protection initiatives. Additionally, there are opportunities to be created with USDA agencies for grazing improvements, wildlife conflict management and water development of livestock. Membership in AGF gives goat producers a voice in the development of public policy and direct input to federal USDA agencies and the U.S. Congress.
Section 501(c)(5) of the IRS Guidelines provides for exemption of agricultural organizations. To be exempt, an organization must meet the following requirements: The net earnings of the organization may not inure to the benefit of any member; and the objects of the organization must be the betterment of conditions of those engaged in the pursuits of labor, agriculture, or horticulture, the improvement of the grade of their products, and the development of a higher degree of efficiency in their respective occupations.
Seeking legislation germane to the organization's programs is recognized as a permissible means of attaining its exempt purposes. A section 501(c)(5) agricultural organization may engage in some political activities so long as that is not its primary activity.