2023 American Farm Bureau Annual Convention

Monday, Jan. 9

Ohio Farm Bureau was very well represented by our Young Agricultural Professionals at this year’s convention. Mike Hannewald won the American Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Discussion Meet and Stacie Anderson won AFBF’s Excellence in Ag Award. Both were recognized during the closing general session of this year’s meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico and awarded a $35,000 credit toward a new Ford vehicle and paid registration to the AFBF FUSION Conference in Jacksonville, Florida, courtesy of Ford.

Tom VilsackAmerican Farm Bureau members heard from the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Vilsack acknowledged the resiliency of American farmers, despite hurricanes, floods, drought and challenges with supply chains and inflation. He noted new data that even with record farm income in 2022, half of family farms have negative balance sheets during that same time frame.

He also announced expanding meat and poultry processing in Ohio through a new USDA grant to provide value-added opportunities for producers and more jobs in rural Ohio. Learn more

Bert Jacobs, co-founder of the $150 million lifestyle brand Life is Good also spoke during the closing general session. When Jacobs and his brother, John, started the company in 1994, they had $78 in their pockets, lived out of their van and sold T-shirts on the streets of Boston. His powerful message included why he has championed the same mission for the past 25 years: to spread the power of optimism.

This year’s event has been an incredible success for Ohio Farm Bureau members who were recognized for their work at the county level, with 14 counties winning Activities of Excellence Awards, over half of the awards given, from American Farm Bureau. This was a true reflection of the commitment Ohio Farm Bureau members have for the agriculture industry and rural communities across The Buckeye State.

Congratulations to everyone who took part in this year’s convention!

Sunday, Jan. 8

American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall gave his keynote address, touting the success of Farm Bureau’s work in halting the Security and Exchange Commission requiring all companies to report greenhouse gas emissions in their supply chains. He also gave members accolades for their messages sent to the EPA on WOTUS and emphasized the work that remains on that important issue.

Shortly after his address, Duvall signed a Memorandum of Understanding with John Deere.

“It will ensure farmers everywhere are able to repair our own equipment”, Duvall said. “This will enable you and your independent mechanics to identify and fix problems. You will have access to the diagnostic tools and information you need. And you’ll get it at a fair and reasonable price.” Learn more

Bill Patterson
Patterson, center, at the 2023 AFBF Convention Leadership Luncheon

Ohio Farm Bureau President Bill Patterson was a panelist for this year’s AFBF Leadership Luncheon at the convention. He shared with the audience how Ohio has always been a thought leader in many areas when it comes to maintaining and growing membership and how the amazing work at the county Farm Bureau level is imperative in showing the value of belonging to the organization.

Mike Hannewald from Lucas County made a strong showing in the Sweet 16 round of American Farm Bureau’s Discussion Meet on Sunday. Competitors tackled this question:

Due to current economic demands, many farmers and ranchers spend a lot of time outside the “fence rows” on off-farm jobs. How can Farm Bureau become more accessible and welcoming to members who are working in related fields and juggling responsibilities on and off the farm?

Congratulations to Hannewald on making the Final Four in this year’s competition. He will continue his quest tomorrow morning on the trade show floor.

The Excellence in Agriculture contest will continue tomorrow morning when the Top 10 competitors, including Wood County’s Stacie Anderson, will be recognized and the winners will be announced.

Best of luck to Mike and Stacie!

Ohio Farm Bureau was recognized for exemplary financial support of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. The Scholar Award is given to the six state Farm Bureaus with the highest total donations to the foundation within their membership groups.

Ohio also qualified for the Leader Award, which is given when each of their board members donates at least $50 to the foundation.

Saturday, Jan. 7

The first two rounds of the 2023 American Farm Bureau Discussion Meet included Ohio’s Mike Hannewald from Lucas County. Hannewald and fellow competitors shared their thoughts and ideas about topics including:

Mike Hannewald

How can Farm Bureau effectively support and equip young farmers and ranchers to successfully manage economic and infrastructure challenges to ensure healthy and sustainable farms and ranches across the country?

Many external influences are causing supply chain disruption for agricultural goods. How can Farm Bureau reduce the impact of external influences through policy development and programming?

Congratulations to Hannewald on advancing to the round of Sweet 16, which will take place  Sunday!

Stacie Anderson

Stacie Anderson showcased her family, her farm and her passion for Farm Bureau in San Juan. Anderson traveled to Puerto Rico from Wood County to compete in the American Farm Bureau Excellence in Agriculture Award contest. Anderson shared her vision for important rural Ohio issues, including caring for the caregiver, an initiative she hopes to bring to the forefront for her county Farm Bureau.

Late Saturday, Anderson was announced as a top 10 finalist in the competition!

Ohio Farm Bureau President Bill Patterson visited with RFD-TV about celebrating the success of Ohio’s county Farm Bureaus in San Juan and the priority issues the organization will be tackling in 2023, including farmland preservation and property rights.

Sunday’s plethora of programming includes two general sessions, 12 workshops, the live pitch competition for the final four Ag Innovation Challenge teams and the Sweet 16 round of the Young Farmers & Ranchers Discussion Meet. AFBF President Zippy Duvall will deliver his keynote remarks during the opening general session at 9:30 a.m.

Friday, Jan. 6

More than 180 Ohio Farm Bureau members and staff are traveling to San Juan, Puerto Rico to celebrate this past year’s achievements and represent Ohio member interests as Farm Bureau policy priorities are set for the coming year at the American Farm Bureau 104th Annual Convention.

Eleven Ohio county Farm Bureau projects were chosen to participate in the County Activities of Excellence program, and Young Agricultural Professionals John Hummel, Stacie Anderson and Mike Hannewald will be competing in the national Outstanding Young Farmer, Excellence in Agriculture and Discussion Meet contests, respectively.

AFBF President Zippy Duvall will give his annual address to Farm Bureau members during the opening general session of the convention at 9:30 a.m. EST on Sunday, Jan. 8, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will speak during Monday’s general session at 10:30 a.m. EST.

This will mark the first time the American Farm Bureau the annual convention will be held in Puerto Rico. This year’s theme, “Mi Familia” reminds us of why farmers do what they do: They farm to feed Ohio families, families across the country and around the world.

Ohio Farm Bureau partner, Nationwide, is a sponsor of this event.

Daily updates

View the full convention schedule and follow the action as it’s happening on Ohio Farm Bureau social media channels: Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, using #AFBF23.

Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
Mandy Way's avatar
Mandy Way

Way Farms

Farm Labor Resources
I appreciate the benefit of having a strong voice in my corner. The extras that are included in membership are wonderful, but I'm a member because of the positive impact to my local and state agricultural communities.
Ernie Welch's avatar
Ernie Welch

Van Wert County Farm Bureau

Strong communities
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.
Matt Aultman's avatar
Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
Farm Bureau involvement has taught me how to grow my professional and leadership experience outside of the workforce and how to do that in a community-centric way.
Jaclyn De Candio's avatar
Jaclyn De Candio

Clark County Farm Bureau

Young Ag Professionals program
With not growing up on a farm, I’d say I was a late bloomer to agriculture. I feel so fortunate that I found the agriculture industry. There are so many opportunities for growth.
Jenna Gregorich's avatar
Jenna Gregorich

Coshocton County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Knowing that horticulture is under the agriculture umbrella and having Farm Bureau supporting horticulture like it does the rest of ag is very important.
Jared Hughes's avatar
Jared Hughes

Groovy Plants Ranch

Groovy Plants Ranch
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
So many of the issues that OFBF and its members are advocating for are important to all Ohioans. I look at OFBF as an agricultural watchdog advocating for farmers and rural communities across Ohio.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

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