DAVIDSONVILLE, Md. — More than 75 Maryland Farm Bureau officers, members and staff attended the 2018 American Farm Bureau Federation 99th Annual Convention & IDEAg Trade Show in Nashville, Tenn., from Jan. 6-10. More than 7,400 Farm Bureau leaders from all 50 states collaborated to vote on national policy, learn about new Ag trends and technologies, compete for Young Farmer & Rancher awards and celebrate agriculture in the U.S.
President Donald Trump addressed Farm Bureau members on Monday and unveiled a major initiative designated to strengthen rural economy. Trump signed two executive orders that fund and streamline the expansion of rural broadband access. In addition to economic development, Trump touched on issues of particular importance to agriculturists such as regulations, labor and trade. He praised farmers for their enduring values. Farmers, Trump said, “embody the values of hard work, grit, self-reliance and sheer determination.”
United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue highlighted priorities and accomplishments in the new administration and USDA during his address to Farm Bureau members. Perdue spoke about the importance of trade to U.S. agriculture and the priority of successful NAFTA negotiations. He highlighted USDA’s newly released Economic Research Service report that shows 99 percent of American farms are family farms that account for 90 percent of production. “President Trump understands that family farms are small businesses that must turn a profit to provide for their families,” said Perdue.
Delegates to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 2018 Annual Convention unanimously re-elected AFBF President Zippy Duvall on Tuesday. Resolutions approved by farmer and rancher delegates from across the nation ran the gamut of issues, from trade to regulatory reform, crop insurance, biotechnology and more.
“Today’s actions give us a clear roadmap at a time when farmers are on the verge of their fifth consecutive year of shrinking net farm income,” Duvall said. “Despite these difficulties, we remain optimistic: Official Washington feels more like a partner than it did just a short time ago. We have real opportunities to make progress in policy that we have not had in the past.”
Wade and Shelby Hapmton of Prince George’s County represented Maryland in the Young Farmers Excellence in Agriculture Award competition. They placed fourth nationally and received a toolbox and gift cards from Case IH.
Kayla Griffith of Anne Arundel County represented Maryland in the Young Farmers Discussion Meet Competition. The discussion meet topics covered public skepticism of foreign trade for agriculture and how Farm Bureau can assist farmer with regulatory and legal obstacles.
Former MFB Women’s Leadership Committee Chair Jennifer Cross of Prince George’s County was elected to a two-year term on the American Farm Bureau WLC representing the Northeast.
Maryland Farm Bureau President Chuck Fry serves on the American Farm Bureau Executive Committee, representing the Northeast. Fry presented the Distinguished Service Award to Sen. James Inhofe and the Farm Bureau Founders Award to Kenneth Dierschke of Texas Farm Bureau.
Frederick County Farm Bureau and the five Southern Maryland county Farm Bureaus set up exhibit booths in the trade show to display the Creative County Farm Bureau Programs they were recognized for by American Farm Bureau. Frederick County demonstrated their Farm Safety Camp and St. Mary’s, Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles and Prince George’s counties demonstrated their Wildfire Relief Auction.
The 100th Annual American Farm Bureau Convention & IDEAg Trade Show will be held in New Orleans from Jan. 11-16, 2019.
— Maryland Farm Bureau