2023 KFB Presidents and Vice Presidents ConferencePosted on Mar 21, 2023
A capacity crowd received updates from state and national leaders as part of this annual tradition.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Every February, Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) county volunteer leaders make their way to the Derby City for the annual KFB Presidents and Vice Presidents Conference.
“For many years we’ve held this conference as a way to update our county leaders, get to know new local presidents and vice presidents, and hear from a variety of speakers who come to inform us, inspire us, and give ideas that can be taken back to our communities across the state,” KFB President Mark Haney said. “Having been a county president myself, I know how valuable this conference can be to the success of our local Farm Bureaus.”
The two-day event included a keynote address from renowned Christian singer/songwriter/comedian Mark Lowry, legislative updates from KFB Public Affairs personnel, breakout sessions featuring discussion panels with local leaders, district breakout meetings, and organizational updates from all the KFB Federation and Insurance leadership team.
The conference often includes an update from the American farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). This year, AFBF Executive Vice President Joby Young spoke to the gathering on day-two of the conference. He said he grew up as a member of Farm Bureau due to his family’s involvement, something that gave him a great perspective of the organization.
“I was so interested in this position when the opportunity came along because of the unique nature of Farm Bureau as a locally led, grassroots organization from the counties to the state to this national network that we have,” he said. “My family has been Farm Bureau members my entire life, and I was exposed to how the organization works over the years and as a policymaker in Congress and then at USDA with Secretary Sonny Perdue.
Those governmental experiences helped him in knowing just how robust and how unique and powerful Farm Bureau is across the country, Young noted.
“It starts at the county level, when you visit from an advocacy standpoint and a policy standpoint, whether that's a county leader in local government or a state leader, a federal office holder or official,” he said. “Having that authentic story to tell is really the secret sauce of Farm Bureau that makes the organization so influential, unique and special.”
Young spoke on a number of key issues during the conference including the progression of a new farm bill.
“The big issue right now, as we move further into 2023, is the farm bill,” he said. “I think that's the question on most people's minds. That's something we're working on in concert with our state Farm Bureau leaders and the folks involved in federal affairs at the state level, including Kentucky.”
Young emphasized how essential it is that all members across the country are engaged on farm bill efforts, taking advantage of the opportunities to talk to Congressional members, their staff, or other stakeholders, discussing how important those farm bill programs are and how they make an impact for a farm family and a farm business.
He also noted how recognized Farm Bureau is to government leaders at all levels when it comes to advocacy efforts.
“I can tell you from my prior professional experience as a policy maker and in a variety of leadership roles that Farm Bureau and its members, at all levels, have a lot of credibility and influence,” Young said. “That's something which has developed over decades of being a high-performing, dedicated, passionate group of people about agriculture and rural issues that affect their rural communities.”
In closing, he said it is critical to continue to be a strong and effective voice and share the organization’s perspective in an active way.
“We live in a very dynamic time right now, and there's a change in landscape, socially, culturally, economically, and on a lot of fronts which impact agriculture, and rural communities,” Young said. “I think that the future is bright, and the key strength of the Farm Bureau family is the dedicated and talented grassroots structure along with the leadership and membership that we have. Continuing that legacy is going to be important for us to build on the success that we've had in being the collective voice of agriculture.”