Virginia farmers will help mark a milestone this month when they attend the 100th American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention.
The Jan. 11-16 event is expected to draw about 6,000 farmers and ranchers and their families.
President Donald Trump is slated to take part in the convention’s general session on Jan. 14, and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will deliver keynote remarks that day as well. Two speakers with ties to Virginia are on the agenda as well. Tammy Maxey, senior education manager for Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom and president-elect of the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization, will lead a workshop on boosting agricultural literacy locally. Dr. Amy Johnson, a family nurse practitioner for Centra Medical Group in Bedford County and president of Bedford County Farm Bureau, will speak on “Incorporating a Culture of Safety in Farm Bureau.”
Seven Virginia Farm Bureau Federation delegates and two alternates will join their peers from across the nation to help shape AFBF policies for 2019. Policy discussion is expected to include labor, animal agriculture and livestock transportation issues, land management and more.
AFBF President Zippy Duvall said the organization’s centennial is monumental because its mission has remained the same since 1919.
“That mission hasn’t changed to this day, and that’s to bring one united voice for American farmers and ranchers to Washington, D.C., and to the policymaking on the national level,” Duvall said.
“We were relevant to the cause in 1919, and we’re just as relevant, if not more, in 2019 and I think that’s really something that we as members of this organization and leadership of this organization should be really proud of.”
Winners of the VFBF Young Farmers of the Year Achievement Award, Discussion Meet and Excellence in Agriculture Award will compete in AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers recognition programs during the convention. The Virginia competitors are John and Lydia Shepherd of Nottoway County, who won the Achievement Award; Jesse Martin of Rockingham County, who won the Discussion Meet; and Amy Fannon of Lee County, who won the Excellence in Agriculture Award.