Stuart S. Janney III:
Jay Hickey served with distinction as the president of the American Horse Council for more than 20 years. He retired in late June, and Julie Broadway has succeeded him. Julie knows the workings of the Horse Council well from her nine years as executive director of the American Morgan Horse Association and Educational/Charitable Trust.
She brings experience, enthusiasm and energy to her new post, and she's here today to share her thoughts on the priorities of the Horse Council. Julie, thank you for being with us.
Thank you, and good morning.
The American Horse Council was formed in 1969, just shy of 50 years ago, for three specific purposes: To ensure the longtime viability of the equine industry by presenting its interest to Congress and regulatory agencies, to unify the equine industry by educating and informing the industry on legislative and regulatory matters, and to keep the industry and its contributions at the forefront of everyone's mind.
If you're not familiar with the American Horse Council, it's composed of over 300 individual members and over 150 organizational members. They range from The Jockey Club and the NTRA to the Polo Association to Pro Rodeo.
We also include breed organizations and the Coalition of State Horse Councils, so it's a very diverse organization.
The reason the American Horse Council is critical to the long term success of the industry is because what happens in Washington affects you, your sport and the horses that you love. We need to influence what happens to prevent adverse effects, and because we need to influence change in a positive way that leaves open avenues and opportunities for the industry.
The way that the council goes about this is by providing a number of programs and services, which I'll briefly touch on, but please feel free to see me afterwards if you'd like to learn more.
Let me start with the most important thing we do, which is advocacy. The American Horse Council works at every level in Washington to ensure policymakers in conference, the administration, and federal agencies are aware of the needs of the industry and how legislation and regulations will impact the industry.
A few examples of those things that have impacted the Thoroughbred racing and breeding industry that the American Horse Council has worked on recently include the three year depreciation of race horses, H-2B legislation, the Market Access Program, which, if you're not familiar with that, provides funding for overseas marketing and promotional activities to build commercial export markets for U.S. agricultural products, which of course includes horses.
Funding for equine health. This is to ensure critical positions are filled at the USDA to be able to respond effectively to equine disease outbreaks, and the USDA Disaster Program which ensures horse breeding farms are eligible for emergency funding and technical assistance after natural disasters.
The AHC also serves to facilitate close working relationships with a number of organizations. Some examples of recent initiatives include the APHIS Equine Infectious Anemia Discussion Group, the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act, the Horse Protection Action, and the National Equine Health Plan.
An essential part of the National Equine Health Plan is the equine disease communications center. This is an industry-ide program to help improve horse health, decrease the risk of disease spread, and prevent economic losses from infectious diseases.
The center is now fully operational, and you can access it at the website.
Next, I'd like to speak about the Unwanted Horse Coalition which strives to educate the public on responsible ownership and reduce the number of unwanted horses by partnering with programs like Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and through our program, Operation Gelding.
Next, the AHC serves as a clearinghouse for equine tax information. We publish our very popular tax handbook and tax tips which are invaluable to horse owners and certified public accountants as they include changes in the tax code and updates on recent court case decisions. If you're interested in a copy, I have several with me.
Looking ahead, there are three areas that I'd really like to touch on. First is a program that is seeking to grow the industry and the love of equestrian sports, Time to Ride, which is sponsored by our marketing alliance. Now in its third year, the program has exposed over 60,000 new people to horses and is very successful. We are also pleased to have partnered with the U.S. Olympic Committee and their Let's Move campaign with a goal to expose 25,000 youth to equestrian activities.
In 2017, the American Horse Council will embark on a new economic impact study. It's been 10 years since the last study, which captured not only economic effects of all segments of the horse industry and also provides invaluable demographic data and insights into professions and related industries that are impacted by equine ownership.
The study enables the equine industry to educate the public, the media and elected officials in Congress and at the state level regarding the industry's economic size, impact, and importance, and I will be calling on you for financial support to help us underwrite this endeavor.
Last, but certainly not least, the American Horse Council takes very seriously its role in providing education and leadership development. This ranges from providing news and legislative updates to information sessions and educational content through webinars and partnering with the American Youth Horse Council to grow our leaders of tomorrow.
Lastly, there is our annual conference. If you have not attended the conference in the past, I invite you to join us next year in Washington June 11 to 14th. We have already got some great topics taking shape, including animal health and bio security, a congressional panel discussion, and a panel on equine research, which will include the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation.
Thank you for your time and your support of the American Horse Council, your voice in Washington.