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AFBF delegates elect new president, set policy

Farm Bureau delegates from all 50 states and Puerto Rico elected new leaders and approved policies that will help determine the future of agriculture during American Farm Bureau Federation’s 97th Annual Convention.

Delegates elected Vincent “Zippy” Duvall (pictured right) as the new president of AFBF, replacing Bob Stallman (pictured left) who decided not to seek re-election. Stallman served 16 years at the helm of AFBF, the nation’s largest, most influential general farm organization. Duvall is a poultry, cattle and hay producer from Greene County, Ga., and served as president of the Georgia Farm Bureau for nine years. He is the 12th AFBF president.

Elected AFBF vice president was Scott VanderWal, a third-generation family farmer from Volga, S.D., who has been president of the South Dakota Farm Bureau since 2004.

During the convention, delegates approved a wide range of policies including:

Risk Management

  • Supported voluntary risk management products for poultry growers that would provide assistance during disease outbreaks.
  • Reaffirmed support for programs that provide emergency assistance for livestock and tree producers not covered by federal crop insurance programs.
  • Supported the addition of cottonseed to the list of oilseed crops eligible for farm programs.

Regulatory Review and Reform

  • Addressed recent malfeasance by establishing a new policy that opposes governmental attempts to sway public opinion regarding rules that are open for public comment, whether by social media or other means.

International Trade

  • Reaffirmed support for fair and open world trade that benefits agriculture.
  • Voted to support the Trans Pacific Partnership, which promises to expand opportunities for U.S. farm goods to some of the fastest-growing markets around the world.


  • Reaffirmed support for the use of genetically modified plant varieties and other innovative technologies.
  • Called for a voluntary and uniform labeling system for products designated as genetically modified organisms.
  • Denounced mandatory labeling of food products containing GMOs at the local, state and federal levels.

Law Enforcement

  • Approved new policy related to forfeiture reform that requires individuals be convicted of a federal crime before their property is seized.


  • Reaffirmed support for flexibility in the H-2A program that would allow workers to seek employment from more than one farmer.
  • Called on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform to assist in solving the continuing shortage of agricultural workers.

Big Data

  • Reaffirmed support for the protection of proprietary data collected from farmers, as well as fair compensation for farmers who choose to sell their data to third parties including other farmers.


  • Maintained their strong support for biofuels and the Renewable Fuel Standard.
  • Called for continued tax incentives to benefit biodiesel and other advanced biofuels.

Kelli Milligan Stammen is director of publications for the Ohio Farm Bureau.