Kentucky Ag News
Kentucky delegates help set national agricultural priorities at American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting
Kentucky Farm Bureau
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - As the American Farm Bureau Federations (AFBF) 94th annual meeting came to a close yesterday 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 nations capitol.
Delegates from the Bluegrass State clearly represented the interests of Kentuckys farmers as the AFBF 2013 national ag policies were created. Kentuckys priority issues, developed at its own annual meeting in early December, included the federal governments fiscal policy, a national farm bill, environmental regulations, and farm labor reform.
During the annual meetings opening session, AFBF President Bob Stallman also reminded attendees that AFBFs policy development process isnt truly complete until it is voiced to our nations 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 AFBFs 2013 national priority issues, more than 500 KFB members traveled to Nashville to take in a variety of industry-based seminars and support Kentuckys 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 Womens 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 operations growth and financial progress, Farm Bureau leadership and leadership outside of Farm Bureau.
- Stacy Vincent of Fayette County was Kentuckys 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 Bureaus role in encouraging more transfers?
- Greg and Contessa Harris of Madison County were Kentuckys 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 AFBFs 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.