January 12 through the 15 thousands of American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) members flocked to San Antonio, Texas for the 95th annual convention themed “Our Heritage, Our Future.” The AFBF is the nation’s largest general farm organization with more than 6.1 million American families from all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The purpose of the annual convention is for AFBF members to come together to conduct the business of the organization, benefit from informative sessions on agricultural and rural issues and share camaraderie with their fellow farmers and ranchers (not unlike what happens at the annual Texas FFA Convention each summer). The Texas FFA Association was fortunate enough to take part in the event this year, and represent agricultural education in the state of Texas.
State Vice President’s Whitney Green, Hannah Ford and Sawyer Osborn had the opportunity to work with the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. The mission of the Foundation is to build awareness, understanding and a positive public perception of Agriculture through education! The officers had the opportunity to work alongside the Foundation for Agriculture staff, as well as our friends at Texas 4-H, to network with AFBF members and discuss the literacy resources available through the Foundation. In addition, the officers served as advocates, encouraging AFBF members to work with their county Farm Bureau’s to partner with their local FFA chapters and 4-H clubs to promote agricultural literacy.
Furthermore, the officers had the opportunity to watch the final round of the Young Farmers & Ranchers Discussion Meet and visit the County Activities of Excellence booths which were on display in the trade show. These booths highlight outstanding activities conducted by county Farm Bureau offices to educate the public about agriculture. Finally, these officers got to witness the grassroots strength of the AFBF during their annual policy meeting. Here, 357 voting delegates, representing every crop and livestock sector in the United State, deliberated on policies affecting farmers’ and ranchers’ productivity and profitability. The policies approved at the annual meeting will guide the AFBF throughout 2014.
The state FFA officers and Texas FFA staff are pleased that the Association was able to take part in the annual convention. Leadership Development Coordinator, Austin Large said “This is a wonderful opportunity for our student leaders to interact with the movers and shakers of the agricultural industry, and see the true power and importance of advocating for this industry.”