Gen. Stan McChrystal to Keynote AFBF 2014 Annual Convention

Gen. Stan McChrystal, a retired four-star general and former commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, will deliver the keynote address.

Gen. Stan McChrystal, a retired four-star general and former commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, will deliver the keynote address.

Gen. Stan McChrystal, a retired four-star general and former commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, will deliver the keynote address at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 2014 Annual Convention, Jan. 12-15, 2014, in San Antonio, Texas.

More than 7,000 Farm Bureau members from across the nation are expected to gather in San Antonio for the 95th Annual Convention to hear from distinguished leaders and participate in a grassroots policy-setting process that will guide AFBF through 2014.

McChrystal has been referred to as “one of America’s greatest warriors,” dedicating 34 years of military service to the U.S. He is a former leader of the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command, which oversees the military’s most sensitive forces. His leadership of JSOC is recognized for the December 2003 capture of Saddam Hussein as well as Abu Mousab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, in June 2006.

“Farm Bureau is excited to announce Gen. Stan McChrystal as our keynote speaker,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “His dedication to our country, marked by one-of-a-kind leadership skills and a noteworthy record of achievement, is truly motivating,” he added.

McChrystal retired from the military in 2010. He currently teaches a leadership course at Yale University and is the co-founder of the McChrystal Group, which delivers innovative leadership solutions to organizations. He is also the author of the best-selling leadership book, “My Share of the Task: A Memoir.”

Farm Bureau members can register for the 95th AFBF Annual Convention through their state Farm Bureau. Learn more about convention events and related activities at http://annualconvention.fb.org/.

Young Farmers and Ranchers Win Big

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 94th Annual Meeting. 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.

 Ryan and Misty Bivens of Kentucky won the Achievement Award. They are the winners of either a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado or 2013 GMC Sierra, courtesy of GM. The Bivens will also receive paid registration to attend the 2013 AFBF YF&R Leadership Conference in Phoenix, Ariz., in February.

Runners-up in the Achievement Award contest are Michael Springer of Kansas, Dan and Mikki Hosman of Arkansas, and John and Alicia Boelts of Arizona. 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.

Dillon Kjerstad of Arizona won the Discussion Meet. He will have his choice of either a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado or a 2013 GMC Sierra, courtesy of GM, plus free registration to the 2013 AFBF YF&R Leadership Conference.

The three runners-up in the Discussion Meet are Ann Larson of Illinois, Stacy Vincent of Kentucky and Allison Honea of South Carolina.

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.

Dana Allen Fisher of Virginia won the Excellence in Agriculture Award. He will receive his choice of either a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado or 2013 GMC Sierra, courtesy of GM, plus free registration to the 2013 AFBF YF&R Leadership Conference.

The three runners-up in the Excellence in Agriculture competition are Kelby and Kathie Iverson of Utah, David and Meghan Corvin of Tennessee, and Jarrod and Sarah Bowser of Kansas. 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.

Congratulations!

Ag Social Media ‘Rock Stars’ Encourage Farmers, Ranchers

A quartet of agricultural social media “rock stars” offered tips and encouragement to farmers and ranchers at a strategic engagement conference during the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 94th Annual Meeting.

“Social media allows us to be part of the conversation,” said Ryan Goodman, a cattle rancher from Arkansas who created the AgricultureProud.com blog and is a guest contributor to CNN’s Eatocracy blog.

“Consumers are already talking about what we’re doing on the farm and ranch. Through social media we can have direct access to people with questions,” Goodman said.

Ryan Goodman and Janice Person

Ryan Goodman and Janice Person

Zach Hunnicutt, a Nebraska farmer who was recently elected chairman of AFBF’s national Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee, explained that he is able to advocate for agriculture by “giving a tour of my farm every day using Facebook and Instagram“Be positive all the time, and be passionate when advocating for agriculture on social media,” advised Hunnicutt. “It draws people in,” he said.

Setting up a business page on Facebook for your farm is a strategy Janice Person of Monsanto recommends. Having a business page means your farm can be found on Internet search engines. And it addresses privacy concerns many people have—you can share family photos and stories only on your personal page, for example.

Zach Hunnicutt

Zach Hunnicutt

“Interacting on Facebook with people in your community, at church and with college friends is a great way to get started,” Person said. From there, interest in a farmer’s Facebook page often grows dramatically in concentric circles, Person has found. A Colorful Adventure is her personal blog.

“Be consistent with social media and you will build community,” said Katie Pinke, author of the Pinke Post blog. “Especially if you’re just starting out, concentrate on doing just one or two things well,” she added.

Pinke, who started her blog several years ago as a “lonely pregnant woman on the prairie trying to find friends,” offered encouragement to those in agriculture who may be hesitant to get started in social media. “What you do does not necessarily have to be fancy or flashy,” she said.

Katie Pinke

Katie Pinke

 All of the panelists have found that engaging in conversations on social media about non-farming subjects at least part of the time helps increase outreach. Cooking, recipes, kids, sports, music, travel and photography are among the topics they have successfully used for this.

All four of the panelists are guest bloggers at 94th AFBF’s Annual Meeting. 

Many Voices, One Vision

watermelon

Many Voices, One Vision is the theme of AFBF’s 94th Annual Meeting in Nashville, Jan. 13-16. About 6,000 Farm Bureau members from around the nation are expected to attend the meeting.

“Many Voices, One Vision” is the theme of AFBF’s 94th Annual Meeting in Nashville, Jan. 13-16. The folks at the Gaylord Opryland took fruit carving to new heights with this watermelon emblazoned with the theme of the meeting.