Fun with the Foundation for Ag

The AFBF Foundation for Ag’s Night Out was a rousing success. With 1,000 tickets sold and Farm Bureau members from across the country boarding the “Inspiration Hornblower,” you can guarantee a great time! A beautiful ship full of friends and fellow farmers who all care about ag literacy, it doesn’t get any better than this!

We had a great meal, amazing fellowship and great views. A few states (Nebraska, New Hampshire, Washington) even won My American Farm kiosks to enhance their ag literacy efforts while one lucky member won a trip to the Super Bowl! Thanks to our partners DuPont Pioneer and Chevy for providing these prizes.

The highlight of the night was certainly the members’ willingness to give and share their monetary blessings to help the Foundation for Ag continue to have an impact on ag Literacy! Almost $3,000 was given by our Farm Bureau family – thanks to each of you who donated!

If you haven’t taken time to learn about the AFBF Foundation for Ag, please visit ag While you’re there check out the educational materials and select some resources to share with your favorite kids and teachers.


Hilary Maricle is a member of AFBF’s national Promotion & Education Committee and graduate of the Partners in Agricultural Leadership program. She hails from Nebraska, where she is a county commissioner and raises beef cattle, hogs, sheep, corn and soybeans with her family. Her Twitter name is @mariclefarm and she’s also on Facebook (Hilary Esch Maricle).


An Amazing Day at #AFBF15

By Terry Gilbert

Today has been an amazing day at #15! The day started with a great Flapjack Breakfast with the announcement of the Book of the Year and Jack Hanna and his amazing animals. This was a fun event to help raise money for continuing the efforts of the AFB Foundation.

Flapjack alligatorAt the Leadership Luncheon we were entertained and inspired by Heather Dineen, the 2014 “America’s Farmers” Farm Mom of the Year! A very sweet lady with a great message. Heather was followed by our keynote speaker Leighton Cooley, a Georgia farmer and one of the stars of the documentary film Farmland. His message answered the question “Can I Alone Make a Difference?” Very inspiring and yes, each of us as an individual can make a difference! We just have to do our part!

Flapjack bookVespers at the end of the day led by Amy Gerak and her mom Sherry Saylor was beautiful and inspiring! The perfect end to and amazing day at #AFBF15!




Terry Gilbert is chair of the AFB Women’s Leadership Committee. She and her husband are farmers in Kentucky, where they raise beef cattle and corn. Find her on Twitter (@trg1173) and Facebook (Terry Gilbert).


Schmacon Makes its Farm Bureau Debut

Nearly 1,500 Farm Bureau members came together for the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s Flapjack Fundraiser breakfast earlier this week in support of agriculture literacy. However, the Foundation’s newest initiatives weren’t the only topic dominating conversation. At the center of every table was Schmacon, a bacon alternative made from beef!

Inspired by the deli it was created in, Schmacon was launched with the help of the Beef Checkoff Program in 2014. Shortly after it was recognized with a 2014 Food and Beverage Innovation award.

The bacon alternative offers a smokey yet sweet taste for only 45 calories per 18g serving. The Schmacon company prides itself on its innovative and unexpected flavor, quick 8-10 minute cooking time and flexibility for use in many types of recipes. It was created with the goal of offering consumers a broader range of choices, particularly those who are unable to eat pork bacon for health or religious reasons.

After trying the product, Farm Bureau members weighed in with their thoughts, some unaware that it wasn’t even bacon they had just filled up on.


“I actually thought it was really good, a little different,” said Wisconsin Farm Bureau member Sam Zimmerman. “It was almost a sweet flavor.”

“If something wasn’t said, I may not have noticed,” said Melinda Grove, a Minnesota Farm Bureau member.

KennaLewis is a student at California Polytechnic Institute. She was a summer communications intern at the American Farm Bureau Federation in 2014.


A Night at the Grand Ole Opry House

No trip to Nashville is complete without a trip to the Grand Ole Opry. Tonight we attended the Foundation’s Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry House.

The Grand Ole Opry House

The Grand Ole Opry House

The evening was hosted by GAC’s Nan Kelly. The first group to entertain was Mike and the Driven Bow. They entertained the crown with bluegrass music from artists such as Bill Monroe and Bob Wills.

Mike and the Driven Bow

Mike and the Driven Bow

Next up was the new sound of The Fiddleheads. You may have seen them last spring on the show America’s Got Talent.

The Fiddleheads

The Fiddleheads

Prizes were given away during the night. Chevrolet gave one lucky attendee a Superbowl Package including game tickets and a hotel stay for two.


Nashville is a city rich in history and back-stories. Award-winning songwriters Tim Nichols and Craig Wiseman entertained the crowd singing some of their long list of popular songs that have been recorded by artists such as Tim McGraw, Alan Jackson, JoDee Messina and Kenny Chesney, to name a few. Their energy and zeal for song was contagious and they kept the audience laughing with stories about the ideas and inspiration for their songs.

Craig Wiseman and Tim Nichols

Craig Wiseman and Tim Nichols

And then it was time for the headliner – the moment everyone was waiting for – Phil Vassar took the stage.

Phil Vassar

Phil Vassar

At the end, in Opry tradition, all the artists returned to the stage for a rendition of Will the Circle be Unbroken. The night was truly fun, energizing and lived up to the Opry’s reputation as “The Show that Made Country Music Famous.”

sarahdcarte is Sarah Carte of Florida, a wife, mother and fourth-generation farmer. She currently serves as vice-chair of the Florida Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee. Her Twitter name is @sarahdcarte and she’s also on Facebook (Sarah Dasher Carte)

Lessons Learned Through Flapjacks

Things I’ve learned from Jack Hanna, the entertainer at this morning’s Foundation Flapjack Fundraiser:

– Not all penguins need cold weather
I learned from Jack Hanna that not all penguins need cold weather. In fact, some penguins wouldn't make it in my state, North Dakota!

I learned from Jack Hanna that not all penguins need cold weather. In fact, some penguins wouldn’t make it in my state, North Dakota!

– Don’t order certain coffees from Starbucks
– A sloth doesn’t move during the day…which reminds me of a few people I know!
This morning’s Flapjack Fundraiser was an amazing opportunity to see all the great things the Foundation has done the last year, meet a few new people and share a few early morning laughs. What a great start to the day!

wagfarms is Val Wagner, a North Dakota farmer and rancher. The Wag’n Tales blog features stories from this mom of four who loves farm life and invites readers to come along for the ride. Follow Val on Twitter (@wagfarms) and find her on Facebook. She is a member of the North Dakota Farm Bureau’s Promotion & Education Committee.

Foundation Flapjack Fundraiser and New ‘Book of the Year’

2013 Book of the Year

2013 Book of the Year

An amazing book was recognized this year as the AFBF Foundation for Agriculture 2013 Book of the Year, The Guardian Team…On the job with Rena and Roo, by Cat Urbigkit. It shares the story of two unlikely friends coming to the ranch together as “runts” and growing a relationship of trust as they work together to protect their sheep on a Wyoming ranch.

The American Foundation for Agriculture focuses on building awareness, understanding and a positive perception of Agriculture through the sharing of accurate information. The materials and programs are designed to not only be reliable but meet today’s educational standards and be utilized in schools across the country.

If you haven’t visited the site yet, be sure to stop by and check out My American Farm.

My American Farm

My American Farm

commonsenseagriculture is Jeff Fowle, a Farm Bureau member in California and partner in Just Farmers. On his ranch you will find cattle,horses and hay. He will represent California at the delegate session in Nashville. Follow him on Twitter (@jefffowle) and read his blog here: Find more posts by Jeff at and