We are just a few days away from our 100th Annual Convention in New Orleans, and I hope you all are as excited as I am to celebrate! Your American Farm Bureau team has been hard at work year-long planning and preparing for this milestone, and it’s hard to believe it’s finally here. As we prepare to breakthrough to a new century of Farm Bureau, we’ve got a great line-up of educational programs, entertainment and good eats (it IS New Orleans after all).
This Centennial Annual Convention is a celebration of each of you and the impact we can have when we come together and speak with one voice. For nearly 100 years, the American Farm Bureau Federation has been the Voice of Agriculture thanks to the vision of our forefathers and the passion and commitment of generations of Farm Bureau members.
At Farm Bureau, we know education and leadership development is key to our grassroots advocacy. This year’s convention once again has a first-class line-up of workshops and sessions to help you 'Communicate, Collaborate, and Influence' for agriculture. You can even get a preview of all we have in store on our event webpage before you arrive in New Orleans. If you’re not able to join us this year, you can follow along on the Voice of Agriculture website and our Facebook page for updates and livestreaming of events like our General Sessions and the Ag Innovation Challenge. You won’t want to miss our special Closing General Session featuring our friend Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue!
We’re also excited about what’s in store at the IDEAg Trade Show this year—from activities at the Cultivation Center to opportunities to celebrate our Centennial. Be sure to stop by the AFBF booth to get a special look at 100 years of Farm Bureau history, take a walk back through a century of Farm Bureau and share you own memories with friends and staff. You can also check out the latest ag products and equipment, listen to TED-style talks from leaders and experts and catch up with other members of the Farm Bureau family. There’s always something going on down on the trade show floor!
Of course, this isn’t just a time to look back but to press forward, and we are ready to kick off the next century of Farm Bureau by taking on ag’s greatest challenges. You’ll have opportunities to do just that at this convention. I invite each of you to stop by the Clean Water, Clear Rules booth on the trade show floor to submit your comments on the new clean water rule. Let’s all do our part to make our voices heard, and ensure we get a new rule that works for our farms and ranches.
Finally, we’ll end our 100th Annual Convention by setting the policies that will drive our work in 2019. This is the heartbeat of the work we do at Farm Bureau. These are the policies you wrote and voted on at the county level, sent on to your states, and that now will give your American Farm Bureau our marching orders to breakthrough to a new century of grassroots advocacy for U.S. agriculture. I am filled with thankfulness and Farm Bureau pride as I’ve been thinking on our rich history leading up to convention, and I can’t wait to celebrate with you all in a few days. Hope to see you in New Orleans!
Vincent “Zippy” Duvall, a poultry, cattle and hay producer from Greene County, Georgia, is the 12th president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. You can follow him on Twitter @ZippyDuvall.