Farm Bureau Members Gather in Hawaii

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This week the American Farm Bureau Federation gathered in Honolulu, Hawaii for it’s Annual Meeting.

Delegates Approve Flexible, Fiscally Sound Farm Policy

National farm policy should be rewritten this year to establish a program that protects farmers from catastrophic revenue losses by using a flexible combination of fiscally responsible tools, said voting delegates at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 93rd Annual Meeting.

In approving the organization’s farm policy for 2012, the farmers and ranchers endorsed a multi-pronged policy proposal, including a provision for catastrophic revenue loss protection that works with a flexible range of crop insurance products, as well as amending the current farm bill’s marketing loan provisions to better reflect market values.

The adopted policy calls for a farm bill that “provides strong and effective safety net and risk management programs that do not guarantee a profit and minimizes the potential for farm programs affecting production decisions.”

“Our delegates approved a program to help farmers manage the many different types and levels of risk they face today, in particular catastrophic revenue losses that can threaten the viability of a farm or ranch,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “That is consistent with what we believe is the core mission of the federal farm program.”

Stallman was re-elected as AFBF president for a seventh two-year term. He is a cattle and rice producer from Columbus, Texas. In addition, Barry Bushue was re-elected to a third two-year term as AFBF vice president. Bushue produces berries and nursery plants in Boring, Ore., and also serves as Oregon Farm Bureau president.

The delegates defeated a proposal to retain the current farm bill’s direct payments. In addition, by almost a two-to-one margin, the delegates defeated an amendment that would have allowed a patchwork of support through multiple programs for different commodities and regions.

“Delegate action against the patchwork approach recognized that it is impossible to ensure equity between diverse programs for various commodities,” Stallman said. “Without that assurance, one program would inevitably provide more government protection than the next program and we would inadvertently be encouraging producers to take their signals from government programs rather than the marketplace.

“Our delegates approved a policy that is flexible enough to work within the funding constraints we, as a nation, are facing, and the fiscal challenges we have a duty to address,” Stallman said. “Our delegates recognize we need to move beyond the policies of the past and to move toward programs to help producers deal with risk.”

One of the big advantages of the new AFBF farm policy position is that it offers a much simpler approach to farm program design than other farm policy proposals, according to Stallman.

The AFBF farm policy also encourages farmers to manage their farms using available risk management tools. According to Stallman, farmers should be allowed and encouraged to make individual management decisions to purchase crop insurance coverage that suits their farms and individual levels of risk.

Another positive aspect of the Farm Bureau farm policy proposal is that it can be applied to specialty crops.

“Our new farm policy position also includes the possibility of providing a farm bill risk management program for producers of fruits and vegetables,” Stallman said. “This is just one positive aspect of the proposal that we believe not only will broaden its utility to all farmers but will also appeal to an American public that is more interested in the wholesomeness, safety and variety of our domestic food supply.”

In a related discussion on dairy policy, delegates voted to move away from the current dairy price support and Milk Income Loss Contract programs and toward a program that bases risk protection on milk prices minus feed costs. This takes production costs into consideration, as well as recognizes the dairy industry’s regional differences, according to Stallman.

On renewable fuels, the delegates reaffirmed support for the federal Renewable Fuels Standard by defeating an amendment to strike that support

“The RFS remains critical to the viability of ethanol as an alternative to imported petroleum fuel,” explained Stallman, “and the delegates felt that continuing to support production and use of domestic renewable fuels was a national security issue.”

The delegates opposed the Labor Department’s proposed expansion of the list of jobs deemed too hazardous for minors.

“The proposal has raised serious concerns in farm country about our ability to teach our children how to farm and instill a good work ethic,” Stallman said. “There is a great deal of concern about federal regulatory overreach, but few issues have piqued farm families more than this. It goes to the very heart of how agriculture works, with farmers and ranchers, who were taught by their parents how to do farm work safely and responsibly, training the next generation to follow in their own footsteps.”

The delegates also supported a moratorium on new regulations on small businesses and agriculture.

At the AFBF annual meeting, 369 voting delegates representing every state and agricultural commodity 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 in its legislative and regulatory efforts throughout 2012.

Farm Bureau Elects Grassroots Leaders

In addition to voting for president and vice president, the delegates elected three state Farm Bureau presidents to the AFBF board of directors: Kevin Paap of Minnesota and Craig Hill of Iowa to one-year terms for the Midwestern region and James “Hank” Combs of Nevada to a two-year term for the Western region.

Fourteen other state Farm Bureau presidents were re-elected to represent their regions on the AFBF board of directors:

Midwest Region—Steve Baccus, Kansas; Blake Hurst, Missouri; Philip Nelson, Illinois; and Scott VanderWal, South Dakota.

Southern Region—Mark Haney, Kentucky; John Hoblick, Florida; Randy Knight, Mississippi; Jerry Newby, Alabama; Randy Veach, Arkansas; David Winkles, South Carolina; and Wayne Pryor, Virginia.

Northeast Region—Patricia Langenfelder, Maryland; and Richard Nieuwenhuis, New Jersey.

Western Region—Bob Hanson, Montana.

Glen Cope, a beef cattle producer from Missouri, 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.

Terry Gilbert of Kentucky continues to serve as chair of the AFB Women’s Leadership Committee and on the AFBF board of directors. Committee members Isabella Chism of Indiana and Beth Pool of New Jersey were re-elected to two-year terms on the committee. Denise Hymel of Louisiana and Lillian Ostendorf of Montana also were elected to two-year terms.

Montanan Elected To National Committee

Lillian Ostendorf, former Montana Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee (WLC) Chair, was elected to the national WLC during the American Farm Bureau Annual Convention Jan. 8-10 in Honolulu. Ostendorf, who ranches with her family in Powderville, will serve a two-year term as a western region representative. There are a total of 10 women on the board.

Ostendorf said she is honored and excited to be on the AFBF WLC Board. “I ran for this office because I want to do more for agriculture. I’ve been involved in Farm Bureau for many years and see how important it is to be involved. There is great networking that takes place at these national conventions. All of the women on the national WLC board are my friends, and I’m looking forwarding to working with them to advance the important perception of agriculture.”

The first order of business: Ostendorf will head to Indiana in February for the national Food Check-Out Day event. At the event, WLC representatives will visit a select grocery store where they will educate shoppers about farming and ranching, provide tips to stretch consumers’ food dollars, and collect food for the Ronald McDonald House.

After the election, the Northern Ag Network’s Russell Nemetz talked with Lillian about being named a new committee member.

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She says National Food Check Out Week is a celebration of what America’s farmers and ranchers do for consumers.

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And she explains how Farm Bureua has helped prepare her for this appointment.

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The WLC provides opportunities for women to get involved in an organization that represents all of agriculture, and empowers women to use their training and knowledge to tell their stories to consumers, lawmakers, teachers, students and others.

Montana Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee Chair Gretchen Schubert attended several of the AFBF WLC functions and is looking forward to taking new ideas back to Montana gleaned from workshops and seminars.

“There are some great new book projects the WLC can be involved with, as well as promoting agriculture and working with the U.S. Farmer and Rancher Alliance,” Schubert said. “It was exciting to go to the district caucus and see Lillian’s nomination to the board being brought forth. Also, it was great to see all of the women I met last year at the WLC Media Boot Camp.”

Other MFBF WLC members attending include Nancy Bowman, Bonnie Marchesseault, Debbie Bricker  and Lisa McFarland.

Farmer-Chef Relationships Highlight Local Foods On Hawaii

Relationships between chefs and farmers are increasingly becoming a way to bring attention to local food production, according to Dean Okimoto, Hawaii Farm Bureau president, who spoke today at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 93rd Annual Meeting. Okimoto said that up to 90 percent of Hawaii’s food is imported, leaving the islands vulnerable in the event of any disruption in the food chain.

“Going forward we need to increase our island food production,” said Okimoto. Speaking at a cooking demonstration, Okimoto said cooking has caught on with older and younger generations, and that people are paying more attention to food.

An example of a successful chef-farmer relationship is that of Chef Mark “Gooch” Noguchi of He’eia Kea Pier General Store and Deli, and two of his farmer-suppliers, Michelle Galimba of Kuahiwi Ranch on the Big Island and Shin Ho of Ho Farms on Oahu. Galimba and Ho are both second-generation farmers. Galimba’s family has 1,800 mother cows on 10,000 acres of pasture while Ho’s family farm has 50 acres of grape and cherry tomatoes, Japanese cucumbers, long beans, string beans, lima beans and eggplant. Noguchi’s featured product during the session, Kuahiwi Beef Belly with Eggplant Puree, Tomato and Long Squash, incorporated foods from both farms.

The beef belly portion of the recipe refers to a cut called short plate, which is found between the brisket and the short ribs on a beef cow. Galimba said that the short plate normally gets ground into hamburger. She offered the cut to Noguchi, who took on the challenge of finding something to do with it.

“A friend of mine says ‘Food is more natural when borne out of necessity,’” Noguchi said, and necessity was present – a deadline loomed and Noguchi’s experiments with the meat weren’t yielding desirable results. Transglutaminase, known as TG or meat glue, came to the rescue.

Noguchi trimmed the fat from the short plate and created a cube with meat glue, then cooked it in olive oil to create the dish.

While Noguchi focused on the food preparation and sourcing aspect, Galimba shared some of the challenges of raising cattle on an island. One of the biggest challenges, she said, was finishing and processing the cattle for consumers on the mainland. The expense of feeding cattle grains that aren’t available locally wasn’t economically viable, so until recently, her family had always sent their cattle to the mainland to be finished.

“That’s the stark economics of it,” she said. “It costs less to ship the cattle to the grain than the grain to the cattle. The consumers weren’t that interested in the specifics of how cattle were raised.”

However, with the rising interest in local foods, the Galimba family decided to try to market their products in Hawaii. Animal processing is limited on the Big Island to two slaughterhouses; on the other islands, the options are even slimmer – one facility on Maui, one on Oahu and what Galimba referred to as two “half” facilities on Maui.

The Galimbas’ cattle are on pasture their entire lives, but for the last month are fed a combination of wheat bran, barley, corn and molasses with supplements. This feed program provides a consistent product to chefs and offers some security to the ranch. The Big Island has suffered drought recently. Galimba said had the cattle been raised solely on grass, “we would have been in trouble.”

New Year’s Resolution

The Montana Farm Bureau Federation’s Director of Membership Development says a New Year’s Resolution in 2012 should to become a member of Montana Farm Bureau and take advantage of some great membership benefits.

Climate Change Not Likely to Harm Ag

Record yields for staple crops in the United States and globally in recent years seem to contradict fears that agriculture will be negatively affected by increasing climate temperatures, according to James Taylor, senior fellow for the Heartland Institute and managing editor of Environment and Climate News. Taylor spoke today at an issues conference at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 93rd Annual Meeting.

 

Beyond debating the issue of whether global climate change is actually taking place and whom is to blame, Taylor addressed the issue of any potential impacts on agriculture and what effect any legislation or regulation could have.

 

“Since 2007 we’ve seen record yields in production per acre in edible beans, cotton, alfalfa, sweet potatoes, canola, corn, hops, rice, wheat and more,” said Taylor. “This is a long-term trend, and it applies globally, too, as global grain harvests have nearly tripled since 1961. Climate is not the only factor, but even if we accept global warming as a problem, it’s clearly not inhibiting crop production.”

 

According to data presented by Taylor, computer models have incorrectly accounted for certain climate patterns over recent decades, and data has shown fewer and less severe periods of drought and less severe flooding on a global scale. Taylor conceded that there would certainly be regional exceptions, but on a larger scale, climate patterns could prove to be quite suitable for agriculture.

 

Referencing research done by the International Journal of Climatology, Taylor explained that increases in precipitation would occur more frequently during the hotter and drier seasons of the year—rather than during the spring—thus avoiding the time of year more prone to flooding.

 

While potential increases in temperature were not believed to be detrimental to crops, Taylor suggested that the greater threat to agriculture could come in the form of federal or state regulations regarding livestock production.

Farmers Need To Fight Hyper Regulation with Involvement

Farmers need to commit their time, energy, money and best thinking if they want to stop the proliferation of federal regulations that threaten their businesses, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce official said today at the American Farm Bureau Federation 93rd Annual Meeting.

 

“This isn’t academic folks,” said Reed Rubinstein, senior counsel for the Chamber of Commerce. “When the federal government exercises its authority, it can send you to jail. We are all one regulation away from being out of business.”

 

Most of the “hyper regulation” currently affecting farmers stems from expansion of environmental law, he said, but new health care regulations and financial reform will add to their regulatory burden in the next five to 10 years.

 

Increasingly, the Environmental Protection Agency is emphasizing ecological sustainability of agriculture in its regulatory programs, based on what it says are public concerns, Rubinstein said. “Translation: ‘You need somebody to tell you how to run your business because you’re not doing it in the right way,” he said. “But who’s going to decide what ‘sustainable’ means?”

 

EPA also is having internal discussions about moving away from place-based regulations supported by science to a holistic approach, which includes concern for social issues in writing regulations, he said.

 

Farmers need to get engaged in these issues, Rubinstein said, and comment on proposed regulations at every level of government.

Hyper regulation is also a state and local issue, he emphasized. Farmers need to be willing to serve on federal and local advisory panels that draft and review regulations, and file lawsuits if necessary.

 

“If you’re not in there punching, you don’t have a chance,” he said.

 

In addition to responding, farmers and ranchers need to be proactive in addressing issues, he said. “We all want clean water, clean air,” he said. “We need to ask, ‘how do we work together to achieve it’” in a way that doesn’t handicap farmers’ ability to grow food.

 

Rubinstein also encouraged farmers and ranchers to support legislation that would regulate how EPA settles lawsuits filed against it. Often environmental groups sue the agency to advance their agenda and EPA settles the lawsuits in a manner that establishes the regulatory control the groups wanted. Farmers can find coalition partners in other groups that feel as strongly as they do about private property rights, he suggested.

 

There also is value in publicizing excessive regulations, Rubinstein said, such as EPA’s plan to regulate spilled milk under the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures program. The agency backed off when the plan was brought to the attention of the general public.

 

“Sunshine is a great disinfectant when it comes to government actions,” he said.

 

Montana Rancher Makes Sweet 16 Round

Seth Broesder, the winner of the Montana Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Discussion Meet, traveled to Honolulu, HI to compete in the national YF&R Discussion Meet. Broesder successfully made it to the Sweet Sixteen round of the event. 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.

Broesder had nothing but praise for the YF&R event and the AFBF Convention. “This provided me with a great opportunity to talk to young producers about aspects of agriculture,” he said.  “Competing in the Discussion Meet gave me a chance to think outside the box and learn more about agriculture. To get ready for the competition, I spent a lot of time reviewing American Farm Bureau policy, reading information on the Farm Bill and studying what the ag media had to say.”

 

After his competition, the Northern Ag Network’s Russell Nemetz asked Seth about the YF & R experience.

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Seth also talked about the topics covered during this year’s compeition.

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He says one of the highlights for him was the opportunity to network with other young producers.

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The Conrad-area rancher, who previously worked as a field representative for Congressman Denny Rehberg, urges other young people to participate in the AFBF YF&R competition. “It’s a great opportunity,” he said. “Sure, you might get nervous, but it gives you the experience you need when you testify on a bill, or are serving on any public committee.”

Broesder noted, “After seeing the caliber of contestants in the AFBF YF&R competitions, the future of agriculture is very bright.”

Livestock Outlook Appears Tight for 2012

Consumers should expect little relief in the price of a T-bone steak as cattle producers continue to decrease their herds because of soaring feed prices and a weak economy. Dr. James Mintert, professor of Ag Economics and assistant director of Extension at Purdue University, spoke today at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 93rd Annual Meeting.

 

High demand for ethanol has forced the price of corn to nearly double in the past few years, driving livestock production costs up and putting cattle producers in the red. They’ve responded by raising fewer cattle, according to Mintert.

 

“Beef producers are recouping production costs by putting less meat on consumers’ plates,” Mintert said. “Fewer pounds of meat mean higher prices throughout the system.”

 

From 1925 to 1975 the beef industry was relatively healthy, Mintert explained, as demand and production grew with the population and income growth. The span from1975 to 2011 looks a lot different, as the number of cattle dropped from 132 million head to 90 million in 2011.

 

“That’s the picture of an industry shrinking because of a lack of profitability,” Mintert said. “This is an industry that has struggled to make money for a long time.”

 

A saving grace for the beef industry is the export market, which has rebounded from the lows in 2004 when a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy was discovered in a U.S. cow. The United States is now a net beef exporter.

 

“That has really helped hold down the number of pounds we put in front of consumers,” Mintert said.

 

After Mintert’s presentation, the Northern Ag Network’s talked with the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Senior Economist Dr. John Anderson about what cow/calf producers can expect for prices in 2012.

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Dr. Anderson also commented on Mintert’s forecast for cash cattle to average $125 in 2012.

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He says cattle producers will still keep an eye on those feed costs to remain profitable; espeically cattle feeders.

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The pork industry, on the other hand, is much healthier, as production has increased 30 percent during the last 20 years in the United States and Canada. Pork producers face the same challenges as beef concerning feed costs, and like beef producers, are putting fewer pounds of pork on consumer plates. The difference is pork exports. Today, almost one pound of pork in four goes to the export market.

 

“Export growth has helped pork see steady increases over a long period of time,” Mintert said. “Pork exports were up 15 percent this year over last year. They are up 54 percent compared to 2007.”

Hawaiian Music

There a many Hawaiian traditions to experience when visiting the islands. One of those traditions is listening to Hawaiian drums.

High Volatility, ‘Fierce’ Acreage War Ahead for Growers

Solid risk management “has never been more important” for producers of the nation’s major commodities, given a range of volatility factors, North Carolina State University Extension specialist Nicholas Piggott told producers at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 93rd Annual Meeting.

 

During AFBF’s session on the outlook for corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton, the Australian-born ag economist said that he anticipates “another fierce acreage-bidding war” this season. “This is fantastic for you farmers out there,” Piggott argued, citing producer reaction to strong market signals.

 

However, “acreage is not limited,” and tight corn stocks and continued high prices should translate to a significant boost in nationwide corn acreage, likely at the expense of cotton, and possibly soybean, production. Piggott noted 2011 was a “great year” for corn, cotton, and wheat but only a “moderate year” for soybeans, and this season’s U.S. bean market outcome may depend largely on South American weather and its impact on foreign supply.

As for wheat growers in the Northern Plains, here’s what Dr. Piggott told the Northern Ag Network’s Russell Nemetz in regards to wheat prices in 2012.

Listen

He also talked about global wheat production in 2012 and whether other countries will have a decent wheat crop this year.

Listen

And Dr. Piggot looks for U.S. wheat exports to remain strong in 2012.

Listen

Agriculture Secretary Praises Farm Bureau

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack delivered a clear message to farmers and ranchers attending the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 93rd Annual Meeting.

“Agriculture and rural America matter, and no group understands that better than the men and women who lead Farm Bureau,” Vilsack said.

Vilsack also had high praise for agriculture as being responsible for one in every 12 jobs in America, and he focused on the need to address challenges facing the United States and the world.

Last year, American agricultural exports amounted to $137.4 billion, which led to a $42 billion farm trade surplus, and direct support for more than 1 million American jobs, according to Vilsack.

The secretary pledged to Farm Bureau members that USDA would continue to listen to their concerns and would work with other federal departments and agencies on regulatory issues with potential impacts on rural America, including dust and youth labor rules.

USDA is working as agriculture’s partner on a wide range of essential services across the board, Vilsack said, ranging from resource conservation and agricultural financing to crop insurance and rural development.

Vilsack praised agriculture for its role in keeping the nation strong, saying that “the unemployment rate is dropping more quickly in rural America than any other sector of our country.”

To help keep agriculture robust, Vilsack outlined several essential points that he considers vital to the next farm bill, including:

-Providing an adequate safety net when it is needed most, with a combination of provisions including crop insurance and some form of revenue protection program. 

-A continued focus on stewardship and conservation programs, with added flexibility and the ability to leverage federal funds to the fullest extent possible.

-Provisions to continue promoting and expanding international trade for agriculture.

-A well-funded research effort to continue a trend that saw agriculture rank second in productivity gains among all economic sectors since 1980.

-Better support programs for beginning farmers, including programs to expand local and regional food systems.

Vilsack said agriculture and rural America are only barely skimming the surface in making a positive impact on the nation. He called for a focus on bio-based economies for rural communities, which he said offered “unlimited potential” for rural America.

While emphasizing USDA’s continued commitment to America’s farmers and ranchers, Vilsack announced a reallocation of USDA facilities and resources in light of the government’s budget challenges. That includes a workforce decrease of more than 7,000 employees, streamlining of services and the consolidation and closing of 250 USDA offices across the country.

Of those offices, 131 are Farm Service Agency offices, Vilsack said. Of those, 35 already had no staffing and the remainder had either one or two employees and all were within 20 miles of another FSA office capable of handling farmer and rancher clients. He expressed optimism that providing service online would become a more viable option and assured farmers and ranchers that USDA service would not be sacrificed.

He closed by commending those who call rural America home. He cited the example of 50 percent of the U.S. military force hailing from rural America, while only 16 percent of the nation’s population lives in rural areas. He called rural America “an extraordinary place” to which the rest of the nation “owes a debt of gratitude.

Interim Water Policy Committee

Water is the life line for American agriculture. And its an issue that the Montana Farm Bureau Federation is bringing to the national forefront in Hawaii.

John Youngberg is the Montana Farm Bureau Federation’s Vice President of Governmental Affairs and explains what message he’ll be delivering members of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Foundation for Agriculture Presents Awards

Six state Farm Bureaus were recognized for outstanding financial support of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture.

 

The awards were presented during the Flapjack Fundraiser, a pancake breakfast at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 93rd Annual Meeting.

 

State Farm Bureaus receiving the Scholar Award are: Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Nebraska and South Dakota.  The Scholar Award is given to the six state Farm Bureaus with the highest total donations within their membership groups.  The Scholar Award is a “traveling” award.

 

Delaware Farm Bureau received the Award of Excellence.  To qualify for this award, a state Farm Bureau and all of the county Farm Bureaus within the state must donate to the foundation.

 

In addition, 38 state Farm Bureaus received Apex Awards:  Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.  The Apex Award is presented to state Farm Bureaus that have increased total investment in the foundation by 10 percent or more over the previous year.

 

“Like the apex of a plant, it is the generous contributions from individuals and families that nourish the foundation and fuel its mission of increasing agricultural literacy,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman.

 

During the event, Stallman challenged Farm Bureau members to make 2012 a record year for donations to the foundation.

 

“The donations from dedicated members like you help the foundation provide programs, curriculums and projects to achieve our mission of building awareness, understanding and a positive perception of agriculture through education,” Stallman said.

Opening General Session

In his annual address to members, AFBF president Bob Stallman said America’s farmers and ranchers are more productive than ever and are providing a solid economic foundation for our nation.

“We are the 1 percent that is producing food and fiber for the other 99 percent,” Stallman declared to the approximately 7,000 Farm Bureau members gathered for AFBF’s 93rd Annual Meeting.

Farm and ranch families are growing more food with fewer resources than ever before, Stallman said.

To hear the entire address by AFBF president Bob Stallman’s, Click Here.

Future Farm Policy

The 2012 Farm Bill is a big topic for the American Farm Bureau Federation and it’s state affiliates.

Bob Hanson is a rancher from White Sulphur Springs and is also the president of the Montana Farm Bureau Federation.

He says entitlements make up the majority of farm bill funding but members of Congress aren’t likely to make any budget cuts in this area.

 

State Farm Bureaus Recognized for Excellence

State Farm Bureaus were recognized for excellence in membership achievement and for implementing outstanding programs serving Farm Bureau members in 2011. American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman presented the awards during AFBF’s 93rd Annual Meeting.

Stallman announced winners of the Pinnacle Award, for overall outstanding program achievement combined with membership growth. The Idaho, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Tennessee and Virginia Farm Bureaus received Pinnacle Awards.

(Montana Farm Bureau Federation Vice-President Bruce Wright)

 

The Awards for Excellence and the President’s Awards were presented in five program areas:

-Agriculture Education and Promotion

-Leadership Development

-Member Services

-Policy Implementation

-Public Relations and Information

The winning states and the number of Awards for Excellence categories won by each include:

Alabama (5); Arizona (5); Arkansas (5); California (4); Colorado (1); Florida (4); Georgia (4); Idaho (5); Illinois (5); Indiana (5); Iowa (5); Kansas (4); Kentucky (5); Louisiana (4); Maryland (4); Massachusetts (1); Michigan (5); Minnesota (4); Mississippi (3); Missouri (5); Montana (5); Nebraska (4); Nevada (3); New York (4); North Carolina (3); Ohio (5); Oklahoma (2); Oregon (5); Pennsylvania (5); Rhode Island (1); South Carolina (4); Tennessee (5); Texas (5); Utah (4); Virginia (4); Washington (4); Wisconsin (5); and Wyoming (2).

The winning states and the number of President’s Awards won include:

Arizona (1); Idaho (3); Indiana (1); Kansas (1); Massachusetts (1); Michigan (2); Missouri (1); Montana (3); Nevada (1); Ohio (2); Tennessee (3); Texas (2);Utah (1); Virginia (3); and Wisconsin (1).

A total of 26 President’s Awards were presented. These are the “best of the best” awards presented for excellence in each of the five program areas to states by membership category size.

Source: AFBF & Northern Ag Network

Posted by Russell Nemetz

 

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