photo credit: AFBF Photo, Dylan Davidson
We have just wrapped up our 105th American Farm Bureau Convention in Salt Lake City, and I am so grateful for the time we had as a Farm Bureau family to look to new frontiers in our organization and across agriculture. There’s nothing like gathering, exploring innovative solutions, and tackling challenges together to energize us for the year ahead.
I felt that energy across our convention, from the trade show to our inspiring speakers to our robust policy discussions as we set priorities for the coming year. Farmers and ranchers are always looking to make each season better than the last, and the AFBF Convention helps us achieve that goal for our farms, our families and our communities.
Throughout the week, we hosted training opportunities and workshops to equip members and help them take their leadership and advocacy to the next level. We celebrated innovative and engaging programs from our county Farm Bureaus and recognized our outstanding Young Farmers and Ranchers through our competitive events.
Farmers and ranchers are always looking to make each season better than the last, and the AFBF Convention helps us achieve that goal for our farms, our families and our communities.
One of my favorite parts of the convention is getting to walk the Trade Show floor and meet members from across our Farm Bureau family. The Trade Show is the place to be—and you could tell by the lines of folks just waiting for those doors to open each morning. It’s also a place to give back, a value we share across our organization. This year, the Utah Farm Bureau organized the Miracle of Ag service project where event attendees helped to fill over 5,000 boxes of food for families facing hunger.
We kicked off convention by reigniting our advocacy on the farm bill. Farm Bureau led the way in 2023 calling for action, from working with groups across food, agriculture, conservation and nutrition to rallying our grassroots advocates. And thanks to those efforts, we did see a temporary extension to protect farm programs for now. While we are grateful for that extension and understand that Congress needs to address the budget, we also know that we cannot afford further delays when it comes to the farm bill. We are inviting folks to send a resounding message to Congress to deliver a new farm bill for our farms and our country. The road to a new farm bill has become longer than any of us would have liked, but together we can see it through.
We were also honored to welcome Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack—a fellow Farm Bureau member—to our convention again this year. He met with all our state leaders to take our policy questions head on, and then he addressed all our attendees at our closing session. He is a humble leader and his commitment to agriculture shines through in his work. I am grateful for how our friendship has grown over the years.
The hallmark of our annual convention, however, is our voting delegate business session where our grassroots policy making process is in action. At Farm Bureau, our members establish our policies, which rise from the county level to our state conventions and on to the national stage. At our delegate meeting each year we ensure our policy continues to reflect the views of farmers and ranchers across the country. We also saw this year that our delegates remain overwhelmingly family farmers who operate the full range of farm sizes, with almost two-thirds operating small and mid-sized farms. I look forward to taking these priorities back to Washington. This is how we continue to work towards new frontiers in agriculture. I am thankful for the hard work and dedication of our members and delegates as they set our direction for 2024, engage in their communities, and provide the leadership to ensure a bright future for agriculture.
I also want to take a moment to say a genuine thank you for the honor of being reelected as your American Farm Bureau President. It is a true privilege, and I look forward to continuing to serve you. As I mentioned in my keynote address, I see such a bright future for 2024 and I am excited to take on new frontiers together.