Farm Bureau Elects Grassroots Leaders at #AFBF14

Delegates at the 95th American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention re-elected Bob Stallman as president for an eighth two-year term. He is a cattle and rice farmer from Columbus, Texas, and previously served as Texas Farm Bureau president. In addition, Barry Bushue was re-elected to a third two-year term as AFBF vice president. Bushue is a berry and nursery plant producer from Boring, Ore., and also serves as Oregon Farm Bureau president.

AFBF President Bob Stallman was re-elected for an eighth two-year term.

AFBF President Bob Stallman was re-elected for an eighth two-year term.

Delegates also newly elected three state Farm Bureau presidents to the AFBF board of directors: Steve Nelson of Nebraska (Midwest Region), Ryck Suydam of New Jersey (Northeast Region) and Tom Buchanan of Oklahoma (Southern Region).

Thirteen other state Farm Bureau presidents were re-elected to represent their regions on the AFBF board of directors: Midwest Region – Steve Baccus of Kansas, Blake Hurst of Missouri and Scott VanderWal of South Dakota. Southern Region — Mark Haney of Kentucky, John Hoblick of Florida, Randy Knight of Mississippi, Jimmy Parnell of Alabama, Wayne Pryor of Virginia, Randy Veach of Arkansas and David Winkles of South Carolina. Northeast Region — Richard Bonanno of Massachusetts.  Western Region — Bob Hanson of Montana and Hank Combs of Nevada.

Jake Carter, a Georgia farmer who offers u-pick strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, a fall corn maze and educational school tours year-round, was elected the new chairman of the AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee, which also makes him a member of the AFBF board of directors during his one-year term.

Isabella Chism of Indiana, Denise Hymel of Louisiana and Lillian Ostendorf of Montana were re-elected to two-year terms on the AFB Women’s Leadership Committee; Joan Myers of Pennsylvania was elected to a two-year term on the committee.

Farm Bureau members will gather for the 96th AFBF Annual Meeting, Jan. 11-14, 2015, in San Diego, Calif.

Farm Bureau Delegates Set Public Policy Positions for 2014

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Voting delegates to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 95th annual meeting today approved resolutions that will provide the organization with authority from its grassroots members to push Congress toward the goal line on unfinished issues like the farm bill and ag labor.

AFBF President Bob Stallman was elected to an eighth two-year term as president.

AFBF President Bob Stallman was elected to an eighth two-year term as president.

“Securing victories on those issues is critical to our competitiveness as individual farmers and ranchers, and to our nation’s success as a food producer,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman, who was re-elected to his eighth two-year term as the organization’s president. “Farm Bureau made progress on our priorities this past year, more so than most other organizations, and this year, our delegates have provided us direction to work with Congress to complete this agenda.”

On the farm labor front, delegates reaffirmed their strong support for meaningful ag labor reforms that ensure farmers and ranchers have access to workers when they are needed. Delegates also voted to support flexibility that would allow the employment of workers by more than one farmer.

“Farmers and ranchers need a reliable supply of labor,” Stallman said. “That is a simple truth. It’s about availability and flexibility – neither of which have been hallmarks of the system our farmers, ranchers and growers have operated under for many years. We must have a workable ag labor program.”

With congressional farm bill action nearing completion, delegates reaffirmed Farm Bureau’s policy, overwhelmingly determining that now is not the time to make changes.

“Congress is still haggling over dairy policy, but for the most part, they are very close to completing a five-year farm bill,” Stallman said. “It has been a long process, but substantial reforms have been made. Crop insurance has been strengthened so that farmers can play a role in determining the level of their safety net, and how much they are willing to invest for that coverage.”

Specifically on dairy-related issues, delegates reaffirmed policy supporting changes to the dairy safety net, including margin insurance programs.

On another livestock-related issue, delegates maintained their support for country of origin labeling and reiterated that it needs to be compliant with World Trade Organization rules. They also voted to support efforts to lengthen the term of grazing permits from 10 years to 20 years.

On other issues, delegates adopted new policy that supports the use of unmanned aircraft systems for commercial agricultural, forestry and other natural resource purposes. They also supported the requirement for drone users to gain the consent of the landowners, if operating below navigable airspace However, delegates opposed federal agencies’ use of drones for regulatory enforcement, litigation or natural resource inventory surveys.

Delegates approved new policy supporting the protection of proprietary data collected from farmers and maintaining that such data should remain their property. Delegates also voted to support efforts to educate farmers regarding the benefits and risks of collaborative data collection systems. They also approved policy stating that farmers should be compensated if companies market their propriety information, and that farmers should have the right to sell their proprietary data to another producer, such as in the case of a land sale. Delegates voted to oppose farmers’ data being held in a clearinghouse or database by any entity subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

Delegates also reaffirmed their support for the renewable fuels standard and approved a policy supporting renewable fuels tax incentives for the production of biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol and installation of blender pumps.

At the AFBF Annual Meeting, 357 voting delegates, representing every crop and livestock sector in the United States, deliberated on policies affecting farmers’ and ranchers’ productivity and profitability. The policies approved at the annual meeting will guide the nation’s largest general farm organization throughout 2014.

 

Farm Bureau Women: Growing Strong

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Active participation in the Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Program and Farm Bureau as a whole empowers women to be strong and effective leaders in agriculture, according to Terry Gilbert, chair of the AFB Women’s Leadership Committee. Gilbert, a cattle and corn farmer from Kentucky, highlighted program successes during the annual business meeting of the AFB Women, held at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 95th Annual Convention.

Gilbert challenged women in Farm Bureau to strive to improve their communication and leadership skills and find more opportunities to get involved in policy issues important to agriculture.

Terry Gilbert challenged Farm Bureau women to to strive to improve their communication and leadership skills and find more opportunities to get involved in policy issues important to agriculture.

Terry Gilbert challenged Farm Bureau women to to strive to improve their communication and leadership skills and find more opportunities to get involved in policy issues important to agriculture.

“Learn as much as you can about issues that affect farmers and ranchers, such as the farm bill and the need for immigration reform,” Gilbert said. “Step up and use your listening and communication skills.”

Gilbert announced “Growing Strong” as the 2014-2015 theme for the program of work of the AFB Women’s Leadership Program.

“Women have always been a powerful force in agriculture, in business, as entrepreneurs and in our communities,” said Gilbert. “Our new program of work reflects this reality and provides a strategic platform for Farm Bureau women to improve their skills and become compelling advocates in sharing the importance of modern agriculture.”

At the convention, Gilbert and the AFB Women’s Leadership Committee introduced “Our Food Link,” a new year-round program that county and state Farm Bureaus can use to reach consumers of all ages and backgrounds with information about today’s agriculture. The roll-out of the program included the distribution of a planning toolkit and publicity tools (available for download at http://bit.ly/1j1jH5H) to help Farm Bureau members start thinking about projects that will engage people in their communities.

Isabella Chism of Indiana, Denise Hymel of Louisiana and Lillian Ostendorf of Montana were nominated for re-election to two-year terms on the committee; Joan Myers of Pennsylvania was nominated for election to a two-year term on the committee.

Young Farmers and Ranchers Win Big at #AFBF14

Winners of the Young Farmers & Ranchers Achievement Award, Discussion Meet and Excellence in Agriculture competitions were announced today at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 95th Annual Convention. Young farmers and ranchers from around the country competed for the awards by demonstrating knowledge of and achievement in agriculture, as well as commitment to promoting the agriculture industry.

Brandon and Katherine Whitt of Tennessee won the Achievement Award. They are the winners of either a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado or 2014 GMC Sierra, courtesy of GM. The Whitts will also receive paid registration to attend the 2014 AFBF YF&R Leadership Conference in Virginia Beach, Va., in February.

Brandon and Katherine Whitt (left) of Tennessee won the Achievement Award.

Brandon and Katherine Whitt (left) of Tennessee won the Achievement Award.

Runners-up in the Achievement Award contest are Shane and Mary Courtney of Kentucky,  Jacob and Danielle Larson of Florida and Dwight and Jamie Little of Idaho. The runners-up will receive a Case IH Farmall 65A, courtesy of Case IH, and $3,000 in cash and STIHL merchandise, courtesy of STIHL.

The Achievement 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.

Nathan Prill of Michigan (left) won the Discussion Meet.

Nathan Prill of Michigan (left) won the Discussion Meet.

Nathan Prill of Michigan won the Discussion Meet. He will have his choice of either a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado or a 2014 GMC Sierra, courtesy of GM, plus free registration to the 2014 AFBF YF&R Leadership Conference.

The three runners-up in the Discussion Meet are Caleb May of Illinois, Shelby Watson of Maryland and Chris Pollack of Wisconsin.

Each runner-up will receive a Case IH Farmall 55A, courtesy of Case IH, and $3,000 in cash and STIHL merchandise, courtesy of STIHL.

The Discussion Meet simulates a committee meeting in which active discussion and participation are expected. Participants are evaluated on their ability to exchange ideas and information on a predetermined topic.

Linda McClanahan of Kentucky won the Excellence in Agriculture Award. She will receive her choice of either a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado or 2014 GMC Sierra, courtesy of GM, plus free registration to the 2014 AFBF YF&R Leadership Conference.

Linda McClanahan of Kentucky (left) won the Excellence in Agriculture Award.

Linda McClanahan of Kentucky (left) won the Excellence in Agriculture Award.

The three runners-up in the Excellence in Agriculture competition are Dr. Emily Buck of Ohio, Jennifer Hatcher and Chuck Yoest of Tennessee and W.P. and Amy Johnson of Virginia. Each runner-up will receive a Case IH Farmall 45A, courtesy of Case IH, and $3,000 in cash and STIHL merchandise, courtesy of STIHL.

The Excellence in Agriculture 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.

New Rural Entrepreneurship Collaboration Announced

The American Farm Bureau Federation and The Georgetown University McDonough School of Business Global Social Enterprise Initiative (GSEI) today announced a partnership to help strengthen rural America. The multi-year collaboration will address solutions to building greater economic opportunity and security for those who live in rural communities, starting with a program involving the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative to advance rural entrepreneurship.

The GSEI, Entrepreneurship Initiative, and AFBF collaboration kicked off today at the AFBF annual convention in San Antonio with remarks by Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and AFBF President Bob Stallman In comments, Vilsack credited the effort as a private, collaborative way to help spur entrepreneurial spirit that will lead to small business creation in rural America.

“It creates a sense of entrepreneurship so that you have investors and entrepreneurs looking for opportunities to start businesses in rural areas,” Vilsack said. “The program dovetails with what we are doing at USDA – trying to educate investment banks and investors about the opportunities to invest in rural opportunities.”

“It’s often said that farmers are this country’s original entrepreneurs,” said Stallman. “Our partnership with Georgetown is dedicated to giving them and other leaders in rural communities nationwide both a forum and the practical means to brainstorm, strategize and bring their inspirations to fruition and, ultimately, strengthen their communities.”

“The Global Social Enterprise Initiative is focused on developing business solutions that deliver both economic and social value,” said Bill Novelli, distinguished professor of the practice at Georgetown McDonough and former CEO of AARP. “Together with AFBF and our Entrepreneurship Initiative, we will reach out to rural communities – a vital part of America particularly hit hard by the recent recession – with tools and initiatives that fuel their innovative spirit and drive.”

Initial components of the rural entrepreneurship program on which AFBF and Georgetown will collaborate include:

  • Rural Innovation Challenge to provide an opportunity for rural entrepreneurs to showcase their ideas and business ventures in a collegial, yet competitive environment, and to receive mentoring and recognition;
  • National summit on rural entrepreneurship that convenes thought leaders in rural economic development, public policy, and entrepreneurship to discuss barriers and solutions to increased business development in rural areas;
  • An online rural innovation hub that highlights stories of rural entrepreneurs’ experiences, learning, and successes, and serves as a virtual meeting place for individuals to share information; and
  • Training workshops and webinars that give business tools and guidance in areas such as market research, concept and product development, pitch development and fundraising techniques, marketing, and more.

About the American Farm Bureau Federation
With family members at the county or parish level in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, the American Farm Bureau Federation is the unified national “Voice of Agriculture,” working to enhance and strengthen the lives of rural Americans and to build strong, prosperous agricultural communities. AFBF is the nation’s largest and most influential grassroots organization of farm and ranch families. Additional information may be found at http://www.fb.org or follow on Twitter @FarmBureau.

About the Global Social Enterprise Initiative
The Global Social Enterprise Initiative at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business aims to prepare current and future leaders to make responsible management decisions that yield both economic and social value. Through practical training for global business leaders, the initiative promotes transformative solutions to and impactful investments in the world’s significant challenges in health and well-being, economic growth, the environment, and international development. Learn more at http://socialenterprise.georgetown.edu or follow on Twitter @GSEI_Georgetown.

About the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative
The Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative inspires Georgetown University students to be entrepreneurial, teaches them the entrepreneurial lessons learned by others before them, connects them to useful resources, and helps them pursue their own unique entrepreneurial interests. The initiative manages an array of courses and extracurricular programs to serve the Georgetown University entrepreneurial community, both within and outside of the McDonough School of Business, and fosters strong connections to the vibrant Washington, D.C., entrepreneurial community and the Georgetown Alumni Association. Signature programs include the Hoya Challenge Business Pitch Competition, the StartupHoyas Incubator, the MSB Entrepreneurial Fellowship, the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Alliance, the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Faculty Exchange, Entrepreneurs in Residence, and events such as Georgetown Entrepreneurship Day, the Venture Capital Investment Competition, and Global Entrepreneurship Week. Learn more at eship.georgetown.edu. Connect @hoyaprenuer #StartupHoyas.

About Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business
Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business provides a transformational education through classroom and experiential learning, preparing students to graduate as principled leaders in service to business and society. Through numerous centers, initiatives, and partnerships, Georgetown McDonough seeks to create a meaningful impact on business practice through both research and teaching. All academic programs provide a global perspective, woven through the undergraduate and graduate curriculum in a way that is unique to Washington, D.C. – the nexus of world business and policy – and to Georgetown University’s connections to global partner organizations and a world-wide alumni network. Founded in 1957, Georgetown McDonough is home to some 1,400 undergraduates, 1,000 MBA students, and 1,200 participants in executive degree and open enrollment programs. Learn more at http://msb.georgetown.edu. Follow us on Twitter @msbgu.