Mi Familia

Viewpoints / The Zipline March 23, 2022

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The bond within the Farm Bureau family is powerful. While we are spread from Alaska to Texas and Hawaii to Puerto Rico, we get together once a year to build stronger connections, learn to be better farmers and advocates, and set the road map for the following year. And I consider each and every Farm Bureau member part of “Mi Familia,” which is next year’s convention theme.

While it may seem far away, I would like to invite you to start making your plans for the 2023 American Farm Bureau Convention. We are leaving the mainland and heading to San Juan, Puerto Rico—for the first time—in January. If you haven’t been to Puerto Rico, this is the perfect time to make your visit. And if you’ve been, I have no doubt you are eager to return to the warmth and hospitality of our Farm Bureau family there. In August of last year, I visited Puerto Rico to meet with our members there and to help lay the groundwork for what will be a fantastic AFBF Convention. I attended and spoke at Puerto Rico Farm Bureau’s annual meeting, as well, where their members showed me just how excited they are to welcome the entire family to San Juan.

Puerto Ricans’ passion for farming and Farm Bureau was on full display as they showed me their massive avocados, pineapples, coffee trees and so much more.

While I was visiting, we made our way through the historic Old San Juan neighborhood. The city was founded in 1521, before any U.S. city on the mainland, and its cobblestone roads and 500-year-old buildings were alive with music. We met with Puerto Rico’s governor and other officials who committed to rolling out the red carpet for the Farm Bureau family. They shared that this would be the first time San Juan’s new Convention Center would be fully occupied by one group, and we toured a brand-new entertainment district just a few feet from the convention center. It even has a zipline! Of the wire and harness type that is, not to be confused with this equally exhilarating Zipline. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but I hope you compare for yourself when you join us in January.

But the best part of my trip took place when we got outside the city, and I was able to visit local farms. Puerto Ricans’ passion for farming and Farm Bureau was on full display as they showed me their massive avocados, pineapples, coffee trees and so much more. They shared how their Farm Bureau membership base has been growing quickly because small family farmers were frustrated with the lack of aid making it to small farms after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017. But they also shared how the outpouring of support from Farm Bureau members across the country lifted their spirits in a challenging time.

That’s what the Farm Bureau Family does. We step up when others are in need. And we stand up and speak with one voice on the issues affecting agriculture and our communities. That’s the Farm Bureau way and why I’m proud to lead this great organization.

So, when we were deciding on the theme for next year’s Convention, it was an easy decision to make it “Mi Familia.” It reminds us of why we do what we do. We farm to feed our families and families across the country and around the world. Many of us farm and ranch with our family members, and we want the farm to continue on with our children and grandchildren. And it doesn’t matter what you farm, how many acres you have, or where you come from, if you want to be part of the Farm Bureau family, we welcome you with open arms and many opportunities to grow as advocates and leaders.

Zippy Duvall

Vincent “Zippy” Duvall, a poultry, cattle and hay producer from Greene County, Georgia, is the 12th president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

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May you have at least one moment this month which causes you to pause amongst the holiday hustle and bustle in order to experience the true spirit of the season.

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While I wish I could see each and every Farm Bureau member in San Juan, I’ll be happy to know that so many will be joining us from their homes, listening in from the tractor, and enjoying our Convention months after we leave Puerto Rico. Register today at annualconvention.fb.org/virtual.

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