ALABAMA FARMERS HEAD TO AFBF ANNUAL MEETING
NASHVILLE, Tenn., – Nearly 200 Alabama Farmers Federation members headed north this weekend to attend the 94th annual meeting of the American Farm Bureau Federation in Nashville, Tenn., Jan. 13-16.
The conference begins Sunday at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel where AFBF leaders from all 50 states will gather to discuss policies and priorities for the nation's largest farm organization.
The Alabama Farmers Federation is expected to be recognized for five Awards of Excellence during the conference. The awards are for Leadership Development, Member Services, Policy Implementation, Agricultural Education and Promotion, and Public Relations. Alabama's newly-elected Federation President Jimmy Parnell is expected to be elected to the AFBF board of directors.
There's more than just meetings at the conference. AFBF’s trade show will showcase exhibitors from some of the top food and agriculture industries. Included in the trade show will be a cooking demonstration area where chefs will teach attendees how to cook southern-style, as well as how to prepare Nashville’s most famous dinners. There will also be fun, interactive workshops and seminars at the trade show on everything from energy and agriculture, to meeting Tennessee 4-H and FFA student leaders, to the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s new Book of the Year.
Country music artist Phil Vassar will headline the Foundation’s Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry House on Mon. Jan. 14. The country music group, Edens Edge, will perform at the opening general session on Sunday.
Young farmers and ranchers play a big role in AFBF’s annual meeting, including those from Alabama. Jon and Amy Hegeman of Calhoun County will represent Alabama in the Young Farmers and Ranchers Achievement Award. Sarah Butterworth of Etowah County will compete in the Excellence in Agriculture contest and Andrew Brock of Marshall County will represent Alabama in the Discussion Meet.
Blount County will be featured at the AFBF trade show for its Farm Safety Day (Farm Equipment Extrication Education). The Blount County Young Farmers Committee was among 25 county Farm Bureaus nationwide recognized by for innovative program ideas in this year’s County Activities of Excellence (CAE) Awards program.
Conference attendees will also hear from distinguished leaders including AFBF President Bob Stallman and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.Retired Navy Capt. Mark Kelly will give the keynote address at the meeting. Kelly, the husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), served his country as an astronaut and naval aviator. He flew his first NASA mission in 2001and continued to pilot or command NASA missions until 2011 with the final mission of the Space Shuttle Endeavour.