SEATTLE – American Farm Bureau Federation’s 91st annual meeting came to a close in Seattle this week with 369 delegates from Farm Bureaus across the country coming together to determine the policy guiding the grassroots organization in 2010.
Among priorities determined by delegates are national climate change legislation and the federal deficit.
Delegates voted to oppose current cap-and-trade legislation in Congress, approving a resolution stating that it would raise production costs for farmers and that any potential benefits to agriculture are far outweighed by the costs to producers. They also voted to support “any legislation that would suspend (the Environmental Protections Agency’s) authority to regulate Green House Gases under the Clean Air Act.”
Bob Stallman, who was re-elected President of AFBF during the meeting, said Congress should focus on domestic renewable energy that is environmentally friendly, but shouldn’t “shrink U.S. agriculture at a time when many are concerned how to feed a growing global population.”
Delegates also approved a policy stating the federal deficit should be reduced each year to become fully balanced by 2019. The policy was derived from the work of a task force assembled by AFBF to review and provide recommendations pertaining to the deficit. Suggested policy resolutions were debated at county and state levels before being adopted nationally.
“Unless we want to saddle our children and grandchildren with a crippling debt to foreign governments,” said Stallman, “we have to get the federal budget under control. We are looking at a current deficit of more than a trillion dollars. The United States must tighten its belt and we all must make sacrifices in order for the U.S. to maintain economic security.”
- Read: “Task Force Urges Federal Deficit Reduction”
- Listen: audio reviewing the Federal Deficit Task Force
- Read about other policy resolutions adopted at the meeting.
OFBF members earn accolades
Some updates on recognition received by Ohio Farm Bureau Federation members in Seattle:
Andy Vance and Lindsay Hill of De Graff finished in the Top 10 in the AFBF’s Excellence in Agriculture contest. The contest recognizes young farmers and ranchers who do not derive the majority of their income from an agricultural operation, but who actively contribute and grow through their involvement in agriculture.
Brandon and Julie Weber of Jackson finished in the Top 10 in AFBF’s Young Farmer & Rancher Achievement Award contest. The award recognizes young farmers and ranchers who have excelled in their farming or ranching operations and exhibited superior leadership abilities.
Belmont County farmer-inventor Floyd Simpson’s tool, the Tag-Sav-R, was named the “most widely useable” idea in the Farmer Idea Exchange. The Exchange is where farmers across the country can share some of their most innovative and useful new ideas applied in agriculture.
“Year after year, Ohio Farm Bureau members continue to prove that they are among the most intelligent and innovative agricultural leaders in the country,” said Ohio Farm Bureau President Brent Porteus. “Their hard work and initiative have gotten us to this point, and it will continue to lead us forward.”
Giving Rural Development a Boost
Ohio Farm Bureau was also recognized during the meeting as a leader in boosting rural development.
At an informational meeting discussing rural development, OFBF Senior Director of Legislative Policy Adam Sharp shared initiatives through which OFBF is working as part of the Ohio Food Policy Council to help farmers develop new markets for their products.
Some of these initiatives include helping offer fresh local foods in school cafeterias, the development of a mobile poultry processing unit, and improving the Ohio MarketMaker program, through which farmers, consumers and food businesses are all connected.
- Read about the Rural Development discussions at AFBF annual meeting.
- Listen to a podcast from the rural development session.
Former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback and four-time Super Bowl Champion Terry Bradshaw addressed members at the closing general session of the annual meeting with a message praising farmers.
“I have total appreciation for farmers and farming,” Bradshaw said, noting that he owns horses and cattle on his 800-acre ranch, and is a self-professed lover of pork. He is also the founder of the “Pigs for Jesus” Foundation which has fed more than 10,000 people.
“Farming is the greatest drug in the world,” he said, noting it is something to be proud of. “There is no greater addiction than being in the farming business.”
His message to farmers was to keep smiling, no matter how bad things get. “Your brilliance, and the fact that you never lose focus will help you climb out of this hole,” he said in reference to tough times recently faced by the dairy and pork industries.
Bradshaw said farmers are blessed because they are doing what they love.
View complete highlights from AFBF’s annual meeting coverage from American Farm Bureau Federation.