DAVIDSONVILLE, Md. — More than 60 Maryland Farm Bureau officers, members and staff attended the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 100th Annual Convention & IDEAg Trade Show in New Orleans from Jan. 11-15. Farm Bureau leaders from all 50 states collaborated to vote on national policy, learn about new agricultural trends and technologies, compete for Young Farmers & Ranchers awards and celebrate agriculture in the U.S.
President Donald Trump returned to the Farm Bureau stage for the second consecutive year to address the crowd on pressing issues, including the current government shutdown, labor reform and trade with China.
“Our nation was founded, settled and built by farmers,” he said. “Farmers have always led the way.” Trump remained optimistic of the future of agriculture in spite of the many challenges they currently face, proclaiming that “the greatest harvest is yet to come.”
Other distinguished guests included United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue; Under Secretary Ted McKinney; U.S. Reps. James Comer, Ralph Abraham, Garret Graves and Steve Scalise; U.S. Sens. Jerry Moran, Bill Cassidy, Cindy Hyde-Smith and John Kennedy; and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards.
Voting delegates from across the nation approved resolutions that will guide AFBF in their advocacy efforts in Washington. Issues of importance included the government shutdown, trade, cell-based food, rural broadband and substance abuse and mental health.
“We continue to face a challenging farm economy and we stand ready to work with Congress and the Trump administration to address the issues important to our farm and ranch families,” said Zippy Duvall, AFBF President.
Maryland Farm Bureau President Chuck Fry, who was re-elected to a two-year term on AFBF’s Executive Committee, presented the Distinguished Service Award to Senator Orrin Hatch and the Farm Bureau Founders Award to Dick Newpher.
Matt Teffeau of Talbot County represented Maryland in the Young Farmers & Ranchers Discussion Meet competition. Topics discussed included the rapid dissemination of information and opinions about agriculture with modern technology and being more inclusive of all types of agriculture.
Several other Maryland Farm Bureau members were spotlighted during the annual convention for their various involvements. Paula Linthicum, a member of the Grassroots Outreach Team, and Jamie Tiralla, a Partners in Advocacy Leadership fellow, shared with the general session crowd the impact that Farm Bureau has had on them.
Shelby Watson-Hampton, a newly appointed YF&R Committee member, led a breakout session entitled “Keeping Your Roots while Spreading Your Wings.” Shelby shared her insight on honoring family farm history, but still moving forward to be viable in modern agriculture.
The 101st American Farm Bureau Convention & IDEAg Trade Show will be held Jan. 17-22, 2020, in Austin, Texas.
— Maryland Farm Bureau