All good things must end and the closing session of AFBF’s 94th Annual Meeting is upon us. The meeting kicked off with a presentation to the retiring board members of the AFBF Board of Directors. Next up was Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack who emphasized the importance of a five year farm bill being passed. Vilsack commented that rural America was losing relevance and we needed to look for ways to expand our reach in less conventional ways.
Another highlight of closing session was retired astronaut Capt. Mark Kelly from NASA who has made four trips into space. He talked about how practice, persistence and the drive to never give up are what contributes to success. He also says there is no excuse for not properly communicating with those you work with.
He shared his account of his wife, Gabby Giffords, being shot in Arizona while she was visiting constituents. He said he never dreamed his wife would be the one to almost lose her life by serving our country, he was the pilot, not Gabby. He said every day as Gabby leaves the house and goes to rehab her last words to him are “fight, fight, fight.” Kelly said one of the highlights of his life was seeing his wife return to the U.S. House floor to cast one of her final votes. Hearing her voice on the House floor was inspiring to so many.
Following Kelly’s speech, the Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee was introduced. The winners of the Y&R contests were announced next. Chairman Glen Cope announced the new chairman for the coming year which will be Zach Hunnicutt from Nebraska. President Stallman then handed Zach his diamond pin which is tradition. Stallman thanked everyone in attendance and invited everyone to come back next year to San Antonio, Texas.
Chris Chinn is a Farm Bureau member in Missouri, serves on the Missouri Farm Bureau board of directors and will represent her state at the delegate session in Nashville. She is a hog producer, 5th-generation family farmer and former chair of the national AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee. Find her on Facebook and Twitter (@ChrisChinn).