News - KY helps set national ag priorities at AFBF convention
- January 20, 2014
The voting delegates from Kentucky and other Farm Bureaus around the country weighed in on agricultural issues facing the nation as the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) 95th annual convention came to a close in San Antonio, Texas, earlier this month.
Delegates from the Bluegrass State clearly represented the interests of Kentucky’s farmers as the AFBF 2014 national ag policies were adopted. Kentucky’s national priority issues, developed at its own annual meeting in early December, included the passage of a farm bill, environmental regulations and farm labor reform.
“It is always encouraging to see the delegation from Kentucky unite with leaders from other states to develop the best ag policy for our farmers,” said Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) President Mark Haney, of Pulaski County, who heads the delegation from Kentucky. “The nation’s ag interests were well-represented at this convention.”
During the annual convention’s opening session, AFBF President Bob Stallman echoed many of those thoughts and also reminded attendees of the strength of AFBF’s policy development process.
“In this time of congressional gridlock, few organizations have had their key priorities passed by even one house of Congress, much less two,” said Stallman. “The progress we’ve made speaks to our grassroots strength, our strategic focus and our credibility as the nation’s Voice of Agriculture.”
In addition to helping establish AFBF’s 2014 national priority issues, nearly 350 KFB members traveled to San Antonio 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 7,000 Farm Bureau members from across the country attended the AFBF annual convention.
Highlights from the Kentucky delegation include:
Linda McClanahan of Mercer County was Kentucky’s representative in the Young Farmer & Rancher Excellence in Agriculture contest, and emerged as the winner of the 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.
Shane and Mary Courtney of Shelby County were Kentucky’s representatives in the Young Farmer & Rancher Achievement Award competition, finishing as runners-up in the contest. 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.
Janella Miller of Pulaski County was Kentucky’s representative 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 persuasively exchange ideas and information.
Fayette, LaRue and Nelson County Farm Bureaus were 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.
KFB was honored with six Awards of Excellence for demonstrating outstanding achievements in meeting its members’ needs in the categories of: Education and Outreach, Leadership Development, Member Services, Membership Initiatives, Policy Development and Implementation, and Public Relations and Communications.
KFB additionally won AFBF’s New Horizon Award in the large state category (those with more than 300,000 members) for it’s social media program. The award is given to the state Farm Bureau with the most innovative new program.
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 95th annual convention, 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 2014.