Kentucky delegates help set national agricultural priorities at American Farm Bureau Federation annual convention

Posted on Jan 15, 2015
San Diego, CA (January 13, 2015) – Voting delegates from Kentucky and other Farm Bureaus around the country are weighing in on the nation’s top agricultural issues and identifying priority topics for 2015 as the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) 96th annual convention comes to a close in San Diego, California.

Members of the Kentucky Farm Bureau Executive Committee – KFB President Mark Haney (left), KFB First Vice President Eddie Melton (center) and KFB Second Vice President Fritz Giesecke (right) – prepare to vote on the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 2015 policies and priorities during the 96th AFBF annual convention in San Diego, CA.

Interests of the Bluegrass State’s farmers were represented by Kentucky Farm Bureau’s (KFB) 24 voting delegates as the AFBF 2015 national ag policies were adopted today. Kentucky’s national priority issues, developed at its own annual meeting last month, included farm labor reform, environmental regulations and nuisance wildlife management.

“This is our number one priority at the AFBF annual convention each year,” said KFB President Mark Haney, of Pulaski County, who heads the delegation from Kentucky. “Through policy development sessions, we have the opportunity to shape and influence how agriculture will be viewed in Washington, D.C., in 2015. It is crucial for Kentucky’s farming interests to be well-represented in those discussions, and extremely satisfying to return home knowing we have accomplished that goal.”

KFB’s volunteer leaders will also take their list of national priority issues on the road to Washington, D.C., later next month for one-on-one meetings with each of Kentucky’s congressmen and both senators.

During the opening session of the annual convention, AFBF President Bob Stallman echoed the importance of delegates working through Farm bureau’s policy development process.

“Farmers across America coming together to work for policy and programs that benefit all of agriculture – that is Farm Bureau’s most enduring tradition,” said Stallman. “Working collectively through Farm Bureau, we will achieve things that individual farmers and ranchers cannot achieve on their own.”

In addition to helping establish AFBF’s 2015 national priority issues, approximately 315 KFB members traveled to San Diego to participate in a variety of industry-based seminars and support Kentucky’s representatives competing for national recognition in a variety of contests. All together, more than 6,000 Farm Bureau members from across the country attended the AFBF annual convention.

Highlights from the Kentucky delegation include:

  • -Chris and Rebekah Pierce of Pulaski County were Kentucky’s representatives and the overall winners of the Young Farmer & Rancher Achievement Award competition. This award recognizes young farmers and ranchers who have excelled in their farming or ranching operations and exhibited superior leadership abilities. Participants were evaluated on a combination of their farm’s overall growth and financial progress, and their demonstration of leadership skills within and outside of Farm Bureau.
  • -Aaron and Melissa Miller of Hardin County represented Kentucky in the Young Farmer & Rancher Excellence in Agriculture contest, finishing in the Top Ten. This award recognizes young farmers and ranchers who do not derive the majority of their income from an agricultural operation, but who actively contribute and grow through their involvement in agriculture and enhance their leadership abilities through participation in Farm Bureau and other similar organizations.
  • -Cameron Edwards of Webster County represented Kentucky in the Young Farmer & Rancher Discussion Meet, finishing in the Sweet Sixteen. This competition simulates a committee meeting in which active discussion and participation are expected. Participants were evaluated on their ability to effectively and persuasively exchange ideas and information.
  • -Hardin County Farm Bureau was among the 24 counties invited to share their creative programs as part of AFBF’s County Activities of Excellence. The displays spotlight innovative programs by county Farm Bureaus in five categories: Education & Agriculture Promotion; Leadership Development; Member Services; Policy Implementation; and Public Relations & Information.
  • -Terry Gilbert of Boyle County was honored for her 14 years of service to AFBF as she stepped down as Chair of the organization’s Women’s Committee.
  • -Greg and Contessa Harris of Madison County, KFB’s 2012 Excellence in Agriculture winners, will continue to serve as members of AFBF’s Young Farmer & Rancher Committee through 2015.
  • -KFB was honored with six Awards of Excellence for demonstrating outstanding achievements in meeting its members’ needs in all six of the categories that AFBF awarded: Education and Outreach, Leadership Development, Member Services, Membership Initiatives, Policy Development and Implementation, and Public Relations and Communications.
Kentucky Farm Bureau is a voluntary organization of farm families and their allies dedicated to serving as the voice of agriculture by identifying problems, developing solutions and taking actions which will improve net farm income, achieve better economic opportunities and enhance the quality of life for all. For nearly a century, KFB has served as the “Voice of Kentucky Agriculture,” representing the interests of agricultural producers and rural communities.

The American Farm Bureau Federation is the nation’s largest general farm organization, working through its grassroots system to enhance and strengthen the lives of rural Americans and build strong, prosperous agricultural communities. During its 96th annual convention, AFBF’s 355 voting delegates – representing the interests of every state and agricultural commodity in the country – established priority issues for 2015 that will guide the organization’s efforts to improve productivity and profitability for farmers and ranchers nationwide.

For additional information regarding the AFBF annual convention in San Diego, visit annualconvention.fb.org.

Tagged Post Topics Include: Aaron Miller, Achievement Award, AFBF, Bob Stallman, Boyle County, California, Cameron Edwards, Chris Pierce, Contessa Harris, Discussion Meet, Excellence in Agriculture, Greg Harris, Hardin County, KFB, Madison County, Mark Haney, Melissa Miller, Policy, Pulaski County, Rebekah Pierce, San DIego, Terry Gilbert, Washington DC, Webster County