American Farm Bureau Convention Monday Recap: Message from President Biden, Remarks from Ag Secretary Vilsack, Ag Innovation Challenge and YF&R Awards, Ag Economy Outlook and More

Newsroom / January 10, 2022

Credit: AFBF 

Today’s program at the American Farm Bureau Convention continued today with an engaging slate of workshops, a video message from the president of the United States, keynote addresses and awards.  

During a recorded message to convention attendees, President Joe Biden expressed his appreciation for farmers and ranchers and highlighted the administration’s priorities related to the Packers and Stockyards Act, infrastructure improvements and promoting fair competition in agricultural markets.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack shared his thoughts on broadband deployment, trade negotiations, and investments in livestock processing capabilities. Vilsack also addressed the prospect of climate-smart commodities.

“Listening to Farm Bureau and listening to those in agriculture, we know that it’s important to establish a partnership in this effort [to create climate-smart commodities],” Secretary Vilsack said. “This is not something that’s top-down, this is really a bottom-up effort.

“We know that it has to be voluntary, and it has to be incentive-based. It can’t be regulated,” Vilsack continued.

A recording of the address is available here.

Eight workshops were offered, with five available to those registered on the virtual convention platform. Topics included real-world examples of climate-smart agriculture, opportunities and challenges facing rural America, sustainability in the food supply chain and an outlook for the ag economy in 2022.

Top issues facing the ag economy include inflation, uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic and labor market stresses, according to AFBF's Economics Team.

“When you break it down, there are some interesting things in the labor force participation rate that are worth taking a look at,” said AFBF Senior Economist Veronica Nigh. According to AFBF analysis, most sectors of the workforce have returned to participation in the labor market, with the exception of workers ages 55 and over.

Watch the full presentation here.

A Nebraska startup, Grain Weevil Corporation, was named the 2022 Ag Innovation Challenge winner while Bird’s Eye Robotics was named runner-up. Grain Weevil Corporation will receive a total of $50,000 in prize money sponsored in part by Farm Credit, Bayer Crop Science, John Deere, Farm Bureau Bank and Microsoft.

Caravan Tech LLC, a top 10 semi-finalist, won the People’s Choice Award, which is decided by public vote, and received $5,000 in additional prize money. Learn more about the Ag Innovation Challenge here.

Winners of the Young Farmers & Ranchers Achievement Award, Discussion Meet and Excellence in Agriculture competitions were announced. Jacob and Jill Smoker of Indiana won the Achievement Award, Malarie Thompson of North Carolina won the Discussion Meet and Brady Revels of Nebraska won the Excellence in Agriculture Award.

Tuesday Preview

The annual meeting of AFBF voting delegates will take place tomorrow. Registered convention media on-site in Atlanta are invited to schedule an interview with President Duvall following the conclusion of the voting delegate session by contacting Mike Tomko ( or Bailey Corwine (  

Virtual registration remains open and most virtual programming will remain available for 90 days following the conclusion of events in Atlanta. The full schedule and virtual registration information can all be found at

Mike Tomko
Director, Communications
(202) 406-3642
Bailey Corwine
Media Relations Specialist
(202) 406-3643

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