American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman congratulates Ohio Farm Bureau President Brent Porteus on stage Sunday

Awarded in Atlanta

Ohio farmers earned accolades as an estimated 6,500 of their peers from throughout the nation gathered in Atlanta for American Farm Bureau’s annual meeting.

OFBF Awards & Recognition

Ohio Farm Bureau received Awards of Excellence in 5 out of 5 program areas including Agriculture Education and Promotion, Leadership Development, Member Services, Policy Implementation and Public Relations and Information.

In addition, Mahoning County Farm Bureau Member Jenifer Weaver advanced to the top 10 in the Excellence in Agriculture awards contest. Adam and Audrey Bolender of Brown County represented Ohio in the Farmer Achievement Award competition and Nichole Gordon-Coy of Carroll County competed with farmers from across the nation in the annual Discussion Meet.

Two County Farm Bureaus were also recognized in the Counties Activities of Excellence program, which highlights the best local agricultural programs from across the nation. Fulton County was recognized for its project that involved 120 volunteers harvesting 250,000 pounds of carrots to be donated to food banks across Ohio. Fairfield County was recognized for an event that highlighted the importance of local agriculture to more than 140 community leaders.

“This has been wonderful. We’ve communicated with people from all over the states,” said Fulton County Farm Bureau member Mark Ballmer, who was among several volunteers who made the trip to showcase their county’s program. “It’s been very educational.”

Stallman addresses farmers

In his annual address, AFBF President Bob Stallman challenged attendees to change their conversation with consumers.

“Traditionally, consumer education has tended to be one-way. But nobody wants to be lectured to or talked at. Today, one-way communication is shunned like a piece of chalk screeching on a blackboard,” Stallman said. “Farmers and consumers must be part of a conversation based on shared values.”

Stallman also had sharp words for what he described as a handful of farmers’ critics who “cherry-pick facts and embrace spin,” joking that they consider three farmers meeting in a coffee shop a “big ag conspiracy.”

Stallman called Farm Bureau a big-tent organization and that, regardless of production methods, family is a common thread among its members.

“Family-based agriculture – done by those who have the most pride, investment and personal connection to the hard work of farming and ranching – remains the best way to meet the quality and quantity demands we face,” he said.

Stallman also said Farm Bureau’s message to the new Congress will be to stop regulations by the EPA that the organization considers to be both burdensome and, in some cases, illegal.

In the coming days, 370 farmer delegates representing 50 states and Puerto Rico will establish AFBF’s official policy positions for 2011.

“Through Farm Bureau, we will uphold the honor and dignity of our profession, the character of industry and the success of our nation,” Stallman said.

American Farm Bureau’s annual meeting continues throughout the week.



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