> News Release

American Farm Bureau Convention Sunday Recap: President Zippy Duvall Outlines Vision for 2024; Farm Dog of the Year, Distinguished Service and Founders Awards Announced and More

AFBF Staff

The American Farm Bureau Convention continued today with an outstanding lineup of keynote addresses, workshops, Cultivation Center Stage presentations and a multitude of awards.

AFBF President Zippy Duvall inspired, motivated and challenged convention attendees with an optimistic keynote address, where he discussed the organization’s successes in the previous year, and challenged Farm Bureau members to go even further in their advocacy in the coming year.

“I’m asking you to send a resounding message to Congress to deliver a new farm bill for our farms and our country,” Duvall said. “The road to a new farm bill has become longer than any of us would have liked, but together we can see it through.”

Duvall also shared announcements of two landmark collaborations related to rural mental health. First was the announcement of the Farm Family Wellness Alliance, a group of food and agriculture organizations that is launching free, anonymous, online mental health services to provide a nationwide network of support for farmers, ranchers and farm families.

Next came the announcement of Farm Bureau’s collaboration with the Ad Council on the “Love, Your Mind” campaign, an effort to reduce the stigma around mental healthcare in rural areas. The campaign features Florida Farm Bureau member and mental health advocate Marshal Sewell. Learn more about the campaign here.

During the mid general session, global futurist and best-selling author Jack Uldrich helped attendees prepare for the new frontiers ahead for agriculture.

Representative Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) was recognized with the Distinguished Service Award. Former Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Hill was honored with the Farm Bureau Founders Award. More information is available here. Retiring AFBF Board of Directors members were also recognized.

A Georgia Border Collie mix, Skippy, was named the 2024 Farm Dog of the Year, and “My Grandpa, My Tree and Me” by Roxanne Troup was announced as the Foundation for Agriculture’s 2024 Book of the Year. Additionally, several state Farm Bureaus were recognized for exemplary financial support of the Foundation.

Delaware, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Arkansas and North Carolina earned the Pinnacle Award, the highest honor a state Farm Bureau can be awarded for program and membership achievement. The New Horizon Award was given to six state Farm Bureaus and 33 states were recognized with Awards of Excellence. Read more here.

Workshops focused on opportunities and challenges facing U.S. agricultural trade, an analysis of the 2024 elections, a panel discussion on hot topics in agricultural policy and more.

During a workshop dedicated to helping farmers and ranchers thrive in farm life rather than just survive, Sandy Weaver, Program Director at the Center for Workplace Happiness, offered tips and strategies to help increase happiness in yourself and those around you.

“When you are happy, you affect the people around you,” Weaver said. “You can make yourself happier, and when you do, you make your family happier; you make your friends happier; you make everyone you encounter happier.”

The AFBF government affairs team updated attendees on the most pressing issues in Washington during today’s “Public Policy Hot Topics” workshop. They covered government spending, taxes, livestock issues, and the farm bill just to name a few.

Joe Gilson, director of government affairs, stressed the importance of getting a farm bill passed before lawmakers’ focus turns to elections. “With this year being an election year, I think we have a window in late March. If it gets much beyond that, we have members who will go home to campaign,” he said.

Rep. Blake Moore (R-Utah) also joined the discussion and shared with attendees the importance of engaging with their lawmakers. “You can call into your congressional office all you want, but find a way to make a personal connection,” he said. “Most members of Congress, whether they have a ‘D’ or an ‘R’ in front of their name, they do believe there is a need for strong agriculture.”

Monday Preview

Tomorrow’s highlights include the closing general session featuring remarks from Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Greg Harden, best-selling author and former associate athletic director of student counseling at the University of Michigan. Harden counseled more than 400 student athletes who would go on to careers in the four major professional sports – football, baseball, basketball and ice hockey – as well as 120 Olympians.

YF&R award winners will also be announced as well as the 2024 Ag Innovation Challenge winner, runner-up and People’s Choice Award.

A full program of engaging workshops and Cultivation Center Stage programming is on tap for tomorrow. Topics include tips on driving Gen Z consumers to the table, a discussion on empowering individuals to engage in public service, and perspective on placing growers at the forefront of sustainability conversations.

Cultivation Center Stage programming will be livestreamed here.

Press Contact

Mike Tomko
Director, Communications
(202) 406-3642

Bailey Corwine
Media Relations Specialist
(202) 406-3643