SAN JUAN, Puerto — New York Farm Bureau members received awards and advanced national public policy at American Farm Bureau’s 104th Annual Meeting January 7-10 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
NYFB was honored with all four Awards of Excellence during the opening session for outstanding programming in Advocacy; Engagement and Outreach; Leadership and Business Development; and Membership Value. And the organization received the New Horizon Award for outstanding innovative programming for its leadership involvement with the Grow NY Farms coalition. The coalition pushed back on a lower overtime threshold and secured an overtime tax credit to offset some overtime costs.
Delegates elected NYFB President David Fisher to another two-year term on the national AFBF board of directors, and he was appointed to the AFBF Executive Committee by President Zippy Duvall. Fisher, a dairy farmer in Madrid, NY, will continue to represent the 12 Northeastern states on the board.
“New York Farm Bureau is successful because of our members and staff who work hard every day to support our organization, members, and the state’s farm community. I look forward to continuing to advocate for our farmers and their diverse needs at the national level,” said President Fisher.
New York Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers had two members participate in the competitive awards in San Juan. Julia Hudynica from Montgomery County Farm Bureau presented to a panel of judges for the Excellence in Agriculture Award. She is an agriculture teacher at Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville High School and farms with her husband, Steve. The award is designed as an opportunity for young farmers to earn recognition while actively contributing and growing through their involvement in Farm Bureau and agriculture. The Achievement Award competitor is Devon Shelmidine of Jefferson County Farm Bureau. He is a dairy farmer, along with his wife Erica and parents, who was recognized for his farming pursuits, participation and leadership within agriculture and his own community.
The Northeast Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year went to Stan, a sheep rounding dog owned by Lexie Hain and Marguerite Wells of Tompkins County Farm Bureau. Stan was also runner-up for the national award sponsored by Purina. The family received a $1,000 prize. Wells attended AFBF with their daughters Phoebe and Petra Wells, and their father John, who were excited about the experience and Stan’s win.
“He absolutely makes our life so much better. Before we had working dogs, it was challenging to get out sheep to do what we needed them to do,” said Wells.
During the annual convention’s business session, AFBF delegates established public policy positions for the organization, including passing several that originated through NYFB’s grassroots policy development process aimed at better positioning farmers for the future.
Among those proposed by NYFB delegates and passed include support for programs that assist farms with food donations and food bank programs for people in need. New York delegates were also successful in advocating for dairy policy at the national level as well.
For more information on policy development and convention events, please visit www.fb.org.
–New York Farm Bureau