Today, our 2021 American Farm Bureau Virtual Convention wraps up, but our work for 2021 is only beginning. While we are apart for now, we remain stronger together. What a great week it’s been of celebrating agriculture and our Farm Bureau family and looking to the future of agriculture.
I hope you’ve had a chance to join us—it’s not too late! Everyone is welcome to register for free to join our closing general session this afternoon with special guest Mike Rowe, host of Dirty Jobs. All registered attendees also have access to all content from the week, so you won’t miss a moment of our general sessions, keynote speakers, workshops, competitions and much more.
We kicked off our virtual convention Sunday evening with a celebration of how our Farm Bureau family has come together to support our neighbors and communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. State and county Farm Bureaus across the country donated a total of $5.4 million and 1.4 million pounds of food to local food banks, food pantries and relief efforts. Farmers and ranchers have always stepped up to serve our communities: it’s in our nature to lend a helping hand and do what we can to make life better for our neighbors. I am so proud of the acts of kindness and compassion and the countless hours of volunteer work from our Farm Bureau family. Our work is not done, and I know we’ll continue to be there supporting our communities in all seasons.
The American Farm Bureau began the #StillFarming campaign back in March 2020 as a way to reassure the public that our food supply was secure, despite the empty shelves they were finding at local grocery stores. This campaign took off beyond what we could have imagined as our network of state and county Farm Bureaus joined in and member families across the country shared their stories through the hashtag. Together, we reached over 100 million people with #StillFarming, and that message continues to resonate as we face a new year. Last year was clouded with uncertainty, but there was never a question that America’s farmers and ranchers would rise each day to continue the work of growing our nation’s food, fiber and renewable energy.
Now we are building on the success of the #StillFarming campaign and our commitment to give back with a new line of #StillFarming to Feed America T-shirts. ALL profits will be donated: half to Feeding America, the country’s largest hunger relief organization, and half to the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. Our partnership with Feeding America is a natural fit based on the long history of state and county Farm Bureaus working with their local Feeding America food banks. We also believe that now, more than ever, it’s critical for the next generation to have a clear understanding of where their food comes from, and our foundation plays a key role in connecting learners of all ages with agriculture.
While I surely missed seeing you all in person this year and cannot wait until we’re together in person again, this has been a great virtual convention, and I am thankful for the unique opportunity we had to open our doors to all. As I said at the start of our convention on Sunday, Farm Bureau is firing on all cylinders and I can honestly say that I’ve never been prouder to be part of this organization. It’s my hope that this week has been an encouragement to you and your family as we go forward stronger together.
Vincent “Zippy” Duvall, a poultry, cattle and hay producer from Greene County, Georgia, is the 12th president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.