News - KY delegates help set national ag priorities at AFBF annual meeting
- January 10, 2012
As the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) 93rd annual meeting came to a close in Honolulu this January, Kentucky’s 26 voting delegates and other Farm Bureau leaders from around the country weighed in on numerous agricultural issues of national importance.
“The main reason we gather each year is to organize our thoughts and set priorities on what is truly in the best interest of our states’ and our country’s farmers,” said Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) President Mark Haney, of Pulaski County, who heads the delegation from Kentucky. “This is a very important step in the process of getting a strong, unified voice for agriculture into the halls of our nation’s capitol.”
Delegates from the Bluegrass State clearly represented the interests of Kentucky’s farmers as the AFBF 2012 national ag policies were created. Kentucky’s priority issues, developed at its own annual meeting in early December, included the federal government’s national Farm Bill, environmental regulations, farm labor laws, healthcare reform and restructuring the H-2A program for migrant farm workers.
“Our farmers have a tough road ahead,” added Haney. “As the global demand for American ag products continues to grow, so must our efficiencies grow. It will take a concerted effort between our producers and our nation’s lawmakers to see this accomplished.”
AFBF President Bob Stallman agreed, offering advice to both political leaders and delegates attending the annual meeting opening session.
“Do what makes the most sense for the whole of American agriculture,” said Stallman. “Give our farm and ranch families the support they need most in light of the fiscal condition of our nation. And once all is said and done, let’s agree to get behind our policy and ride for the brand.”
In addition to helping establish 2012’s national priority issues, the more than 400 KFB members who traveled to Hawaii for the AFBF annual meeting were also able to take in a variety of industry-based seminars and support the state’s representatives competing for national recognition in a variety of contests. All together, approximately 7,000 Farm Bureau members from across the country attended the AFBF annual meeting.
Highlights from the Kentucky delegation include:
Michael and Nora McCain of Washington County represented Kentucky in the Young Farmer & Rancher Achievement Award competition, finishing in the top ten. This award recognizes young farmers and ranchers who have excelled in their farming or ranching operations and exhibited superior leadership abilities. Participants are evaluated on a combination of their agricultural operation’s growth and financial progress, Farm Bureau leadership and leadership outside of Farm Bureau.
Adam Hinton of Fleming County was Kentucky’s representative in the Young Farmer & Rancher Excellence in Agriculture competition, also 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, their leadership ability and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations.
Sierra Enlow of LaRue County was Kentucky’s representative in the Young Farmer & Rancher Discussion Meet. This competition simulates a committee meeting in which active discussion and participation are expected. Participants are evaluated on their ability to exchange ideas and information on the topic: “How do we capitalize on the growing demand for agricultural products?”
Greenup and Taylor County Farm Bureaus were among the 25 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.
KFB was honored with five Awards of Excellence for demonstrating outstanding achievements in meeting its members’ needs in the categories of: Agriculture Education and Promotion, Leadership Development, Member Services, Policy Implementation, and Public Relations and Information.
KFB was specially recognized for accomplishing 50 consecutive years of membership growth, becoming only the second state Farm Bureau in the country to ever reach that milestone.
KFB was also awarded with the AFBF Foundation for Agriculture’s Apex Award, given to states who donated 10 percent more to the Foundation than the previous year. Donations to the AFBF Foundation for Agriculture are used to further the organization’s mission to build awareness, understanding and a positive public perception of agriculture through education.
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 more than three-quarters of 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. At its 93rd annual meeting, 370 voting delegates representing every state and agricultural commodity deliberated on policies affecting farmers’ and ranchers’ productivity and profitability. The approved policies will guide the organization’s work throughout 2012.