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GFB Members Attend AFBF 94th Annual Meeting


By: GFB News
1/17/2013 9:50:52 AM


A group of 240 Georgia Farm Bureau members, along with Farm Bureau members from across the country, heard messages of triumph and challenges to come at the 94th American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting, held Jan. 13-16 at the Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn.

GFB Young Farmer Achievement Award winners Chris and Marilynn Hopkins of Toombs County qualified for the top 10 in the AFBF Young Farmer & Rancher Achievement Award contest, while GFB Young Farmer Discussion Meet winner Matt Bottoms of Pike County advanced to the Sweet 16 round in the AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Discussion Meet.

Bottoms and the other discussion meet contestants hashed over what might be included in a fair and balanced immigration policy in the first round of competition on Jan. 13. The second round featured a discussion of how Farm Bureau can reach out to associate members to enhance the value of their memberships. In the Sweet 16 round on Jan. 14, the contestants discussed what can be done to coax young farmers and ranchers to return home to the farm if it means living in a rural area.

Georgia Farm Bureau won AFBF Awards for Excellence in five categories in Group 6, which includes states with memberships of 300,000 or more. Georgia won awards for education and outreach, leadership development, member services, policy development and implementation, and pulbic relations and communications.

GFB President Zippy Duvall was re-elected to the AFBF Board of Directors on Jan. 15, representing the organization's southern region. The event, which drew an estimated 6,000 Farm Bureau members from all 50 state Farm Bureaus, featured information seminars on crop insurance, agricultural transportation issues, a discussion of the U.S. crop outlook and a variety of other topics. AFBF pushed for a long-term farm bill and praised the passage of a permanent estate tax structure.

"That's a huge accomplishment to get that word permanent put in there and make sure that we know as families what we're going to have to do in the future to protect our farms," said Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. "Now we know what we've got to do in the future so that we can leave our farms to our families."

AFBF President Bob Stallman noted in his opening session address that the organization has plans to submit a new farm labor proposal. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke during the Closing General Session, emphasizing the elements he felt are essential in farm bill legislation.

The closing session was highlighted by a keynote address from Capt. Mark Kelly, a former astronaut and husband of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Kelly shared his experiences as the son of a police officer, as a navy pilot and as commander of the last space shuttle mission.


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