United States Capitol building at sunset.

AHC releases bi-annual Congressional Scorecard

United States Capitol building at sunset.

The United States Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

AHC releases bi-annual Congressional Scorecard

AHC President Julie Broadway announced the top ten “Champion” Members of Congress who have supported legislation significant to the equine industry. Acknowledging the many challenges confronting the current Congress, Broadway said, “The pace of legislating is slow, money is tight, and it is an election year. It is a trifecta of troubles, yet we’re pleased to announce our Champions in Congress who continue to advocate for the equine industry. It’s been a particularly tumultuous period, and our Congressional Scorecard is more important than ever to help our members sort through all the noise that has enveloped the political discourse.”

The following are the top five ranking members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives:


  1. Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia)
  2. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota)
  3. Roger Marshall (R-Kansas)
  4. John Thune (R-South Dakota)
  5. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)


  1. Don Bacon (R-Nebraska-2)
  2. Jimmy Panetta (D-California-19)
  3. Andy Barr (R-Kentucky-6)
  4. Dan Meuser (R-Pennsylvania-9)
  5. McGarvey Morgan (D-Kentucky-3)

The scoring does not consider party affiliations. “The integrity of the scorecard is based on performance, not politics,” said Broadway. “We have a strong track record of working with both sides of the aisle. It’s the work product that matters, not the letter after their names.”

The Congressional Scorecard identifies legislation that draws consensus among the AHC’s diverse membership in areas such as animal welfare issues arising under the Horse Protection Act, labor flexibility, tax reform, public trails access, federal resources for equine-assisted services, USDA resources to promote equine programs and others that may emerge as the legislative, process moves forward. In addition to the legislation, points are awarded to members of the U.S. Congress who support the AHC through their membership in the Congressional Horse Caucus, who participate in AHC events, and who are accessible and responsive to AHC members and staff.

The methodology used to construct the Congressional Scorecard can be accessed here.

Fire Code: NFPA 150 Proposed Revisions

Fire Code: NFPA 150 Proposed Revisions

In 2019 the National Fire Protection Association updated NFPA Code 150: Fire and Life Safety in Animal Housing Facilities Codes to include “Chapter 12 Category 2: Horse Facilities”. The updated code requires fire sprinklers to be installed in all “horse facilities used for temporary or permanent housing for horses….where horses are housed for general board and care in a small commercial or professional facility greater than 5000 ft2.”

This year NFPA has further revised NFPA 150 to include requirements for fire sprinklers in all medium CAFOs as well as horse facilities. This would essentially require any horse operation not currently covered under NFPA Chapter 12 Category 2 that exists on CAFO properties with other livestock (medium beef CAFOs consisting of 300 or more cattle) to install sprinkler systems in their barn.

States, counties, and towns adopt fire codes at will; however, the language chosen comes directly from NFPA codes. Several states currently enforce NFPA Chapter 12 Category 2 for horse facilities.

If your locality has adopted a fire code related to horse facilities, you could be at risk of having your business shut down until the property meets the appropriate code. Further, localities often have steep fines for operating outside of their legal fire codes.

Many agricultural facilities are unable to install sprinkler systems due to water access and availability issues, as well as lack of access to equipment inspectors. Further, installation comes at a great cost that is often unobtainable for many family-owned operations.

The revision is currently in review. AHC has submitted comments to NFPA recommending the updated language requiring medium CAFOs to install sprinkler systems to be struck. You can learn more about NFPA 150 at: https://www.nfpa.org/codes-and-standards/nfpa-150-standard-development/150

Do horse farms qualify for USDA Funding?

Head of the thoroughbred horse looking over the wooden stable doors. 

Do horse farms qualify for USDA Funding?

The USDA announced a historic amount of funding recently made available through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). But what is this funding for and who qualifies?

USDA and NRCS have many programs available to agriculture operators and those living in designated rural areas. These funding programs include grants for sustainable energy improvements (like solar panels), forestry and pasture management plans (time for a pasture upgrade?), and water accessibility (how were you planning to get water to that backfield anyway?).

Operators typically have to produce an “agriculture product,” for horses, this includes breeding products such as semen, embryos, and foals. If you are an operator with a mixed species property, or one who grows crops, food or fiber production also qualifies you.

Funding comes from the Farm Bill and the Inflation Reduction Act. It “will help farmers save money, create new revenue streams, enhance natural resources, and tackle the climate crisis.”

Investment in climate-smart agriculture has been a key goal of the Inflation Reduction Act and the upcoming Farm Bill. The most recent funding announcement will be disseminated through the RCPP Classic and Alternative programs through the NRCS. Opportunities to apply for funding are available to small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and more.

The RCPP promotes the coordination of NRCS conservation activities with partners that offer value‑added contributions to address on-farm, watershed, and regional natural resource concerns. Through the RCPP, NRCS seeks to co-invest with partners to implement projects that provide solutions to conservation challenges thereby measurably improving the resource concerns they seek to address. RCPP promotes collaboration with partners, stakeholders, and various communities, which is paramount to achieving equity in NRCS programs and services.

RCPP is a partner-driven approach to conservation that funds solutions to natural resource challenges on agricultural land. By leveraging collective resources and collaborating on common goals, RCPP demonstrates the power of public-private partnerships in delivering results for agriculture and conservation.

RCPP projects may include a range of on-the-ground conservation activities implemented by farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners. These activities include:

  • Land management/land improvement/restoration practices
  • Land rentals
  • Entity-held easements
  • United States-held easements
  • Public works/watersheds

A single RCPP project application can propose to employ any combination of these eligible activity types as part of an RCPP project. RCPP projects must be carried out on agricultural or nonindustrial private forest land or associated land on which NRCS determines an eligible activity would help achieve conservation benefits (i.e., improved condition of natural resources resulting from implementation of conservation activities).

If you don’t have a project that qualifies to apply for RCPP funding, there may be other opportunities for you! Reach out to your local USDA office to learn more: https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app