It’s planting season at Farm Bureau--policy planting season, that is. The soil is primed and ready. Some of you have already planted policies at your county and state levels. For others, the policy development process is about to begin. This is one of the most exciting times in Farm Bureau. It is truly our grassroots organization in action. You, the Farm Bureau member, telling your county, state and national organizations what issues are affecting your farm. The process begins with each of you speaking up, and then all of us joining in to make our voices heard for American agriculture.
Everything we do here in Washington comes from your direction at the county and state levels. From Capitol Hill to the White House, lawmakers and administration officials know every time a member of your American Farm Bureau team meets with them that we are delivering a message straight from farmers and ranchers across this country. We are proud to be your voice here in our nation’s capital and are eager to take on new challenges and issues you identify in your meetings this summer and fall.
Just as our communities and farms grow and change, so do the issues we face. We look to you for direction on how we can best serve you and continue to fulfill our mission. Agriculture can be a tough business, but I can’t imagine another field I’d rather work in. Let’s find ways to make it easier for the next generation to come back to the farm as well—whether that be rethinking student loan aid for young agriculturalists or increasing involvement with our urban counties. It’s up to each of you to tell your Farm Bureau what to act on next.
One of my greatest duties as your American Farm Bureau president is presiding over our annual business meeting at the end of our convention. I am humbled by the trust you place in your leaders and proud of each of you when I look at the policies that come forward. I know that every amendment and policy before your Farm Bureau delegates started with one member speaking up—speaking not just for his or her farm but for neighbors near and far, and for the next generation.
As you gather for your annual county Farm Bureau meetings, I hope it’s a great time of fellowship and that you are united in pride and purpose. Your grassroots work is the heartbeat of our great organization, and I want to thank each of you for the time you take from your farms and families to advocate for agriculture. I am so grateful as I look back on 100 years of work we’ve accomplished together as an organization—surfacing and implementing solutions for agriculture. We owe so much to our forefathers who began this good work, and I pray that we’ll be faithful to continue in their footsteps as we work together to strengthen agriculture, food security and rural communities today and for generations to come.
Vincent “Zippy” Duvall, a poultry, cattle and hay producer from Greene County, Georgia, is the 12th president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.