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News - KY delegates help set priorities at AFBF Annual Meeting


  • January 16, 2013

As the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) 94th annual meeting came to a close in Nashville, Tennessee, the voting delegates from Kentucky and other Farm Bureaus around the country were weighing in on numerous agricultural issues of national importance.

“The voting delegate session is the primary reason we gather at this annual meeting each year,” said Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) President Mark Haney, of Pulaski County, who heads the delegation from Kentucky. “During these discussions we highlight issues facing farmers across the country and establish priority issues that will then be carried into the halls of our nation’s capitol.”

Delegates from the Bluegrass State clearly represented the interests of Kentucky’s farmers as the AFBF 2013 national ag policies were created. Kentucky’s priority issues, developed at its own annual meeting in early December, included the federal government’s fiscal policy, a national farm bill, environmental regulations, and farm labor reform.

During the annual meeting’s opening session, AFBF President Bob Stallman also reminded attendees that AFBF’s policy development process isn’t truly complete until it is voiced to our nation’s leaders in Washington, D.C.

“Lest anyone wonder why we need a farm bill, we should remember the drought of 2012,” said Stallman. “More than half of the country was in a severe drought last summer. Crops withered, hay supplies disappeared, feed costs soared and wildfires blazed. Thankfully our crop insurance program worked as intended and we lived to fight another day.”

By the end of the voting session, Farm Bureau delegates clearly expressed support for a bipartisan, reform-minded farm bill built around a broad, flexible, crop-insurance based program.

In addition to helping establish AFBF’s 2013 national priority issues, more than 500 KFB members traveled to Nashville to take in a variety of industry-based seminars and support Kentucky’s representatives competing for national recognition in a variety of contests. All together, approximately 6,000 Farm Bureau members from across the country attended the AFBF annual meeting.

Highlights from the Kentucky delegation include:

Terry Gilbert, a Danville native and member of the KFB Board of Directors, was re-elected to a two-year term as Chair of the AFBF Women’s Committee.

Ryan and Misty Bivens of LaRue County won 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 agricultural operation’s growth and financial progress, Farm Bureau leadership and leadership outside of Farm Bureau.

Stacy Vincent of Fayette County was Kentucky’s representative in the Young Farmer & Rancher Discussion Meet, finishing in the final four. This competition simulates a committee meeting in which active discussion and participation are expected. Participants were evaluated on their ability to persuasively exchange ideas and information on the final topic: “How should Farm Bureau help prepare its members – both young and old – for transferring operations to the next generation of farmers and ranchers? What is Farm Bureau’s role in encouraging more transfers?”

Greg and Contessa Harris of Madison County were Kentucky’s representatives in the Young Farmer & Rancher Excellence in Agriculture competition. 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.

Mercer County Farm Bureau was 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: Education and Outreach, Leadership Development, Member Services, 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. At its 94th annual meeting, 362 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 2013.

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