DAVIDSONVILLE, MD. (January 18, 2022) — Last week, the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 104th Convention gathered over 300 farmer and rancher delegates to adopt policies to guide the organization’s work in 2023. The key topics of interest ranged from expanding risk management programs and improving dairy pricing transparency to battling hunger. Besides Maryland counties and Young Farmer members being honored for their hard work and skill, Maryland now has a member on the American Farm Bureau (AFBF) board, and put forth approved policy changes at the convention.
“Delegates demonstrated the strength of Farm Bureau by coming together to represent hard-working farm families from all 50 states and Puerto Rico,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “There’s a lot of work to do in 2023 as Congress drafts the next farm bill, and the policies set forth today will guide AFBF as we work to ensure farmers and ranchers can continue to meet the growing needs of families in America and around the world.”
Maryland Farm Bureau successfully advanced the definition of “regenerative agriculture” that AFBF will promote to Congress for the next farm bill. Regenerative agriculture was defined as a production system that minimizes environmental impacts, maximizes production and increases the productivity of the soil over time. As a result of MDFB’s effort, the national organization will argue for farm bill conservation programs that target production agriculture and directly benefit farmers.
“We know we share many of the same concerns and goals for conservation as other Farm Bureau states; coming together and sharing our policy goals will help our voice be heard federally,” said Wayne Stafford, president of MDFB who was elected to the AFBF Board of Directors to represent the Northeast Region for a one-year term. “I look forward to helping promote the needs of farmers in our region and recognizing ag’s challenges elsewhere in the country, as well. I’m proud to be part of our Maryland contingent, and of the contest participants and delegates who represented Maryland at this convention so well.” Chris Hoffman from Pennsylvania was also elected to the board for the Northeast Region.
MDFB received the AFBF’s Award of Excellence, which recognizes state Farm Bureaus that demonstrated outstanding achievements in 2022. The bureau was recognized in all four categories:
- Coalitions & Partnerships
- Engagement & Outreach
- Leadership & Business Development
The bureau was also awarded the Scholar Award from the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. The Scholar Award is given to six states — one from each member group — and is awarded to the state Farm Bureau with the highest total donations in that member group.
Marylanders participated in the following individual competitions:
- Katie Stevens: Made the Top 10 in the Excellence in Ag competition.
- Alston Shipley: Competed in the first and second rounds of the Discussion Meet.
- Emmy Dallam: Competed in the Achievement Award competition.
Frederick County received a County Activities of Excellence award for its Soil-Smart Farm Tour, a one-day tour of four agricultural operations. These were attended by the county executive and council members and elected state government representatives.
In addition, 15 state Farm Bureau presidents were re-elected to two-year terms to represent their regions on the board. Maryland is in the Northeast Region, and will be represented by David Fisher from New York and Joe Tisbert from Vermont.
The 2024 convention will be January 19 – 24 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
# # #
The Excellence in Agriculture Award recognizes young farmers and ranchers who do not derive the majority of their income from an agricultural operation, but who actively contribute and grow through their involvement in agriculture, leadership ability and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations.
The Discussion Meet simulates a committee meeting in which active discussion and participation are expected. Participants are evaluated on their ability to exchange ideas and information on a predetermined topic.
The Achievement Award recognizes Young Farmers & Ranchers who have excelled in their farm or ranch and have honed their leadership abilities to superiority. Participants are involved in production agriculture with a majority of their income subject to normal production risks. Judges evaluate competitor’s excellence in management, growth and scope of their enterprise and self-initiative that have been displayed throughout the farm or ranch.
County Activities of Excellence winners participated in the County Activities of Excellence program and demonstrated a commitment to offering quality programming to their counties, often in the form of service for members and those around them.
MARYLAND FARM BUREAU®, INC. is a 501(c)(5) federation that serves as the united voice of Maryland farm families. Our organizational strength comes from the active participation of over 9,500 individual and family members who belong to the state’s 23 local county Farm Bureau organizations. Since 1915, Maryland Farm Bureau has been committed to protecting and growing agriculture and preserving rural life. Maryland Farm Bureau is a proud member of the American Farm Bureau® Federation. For more information, visit MarylandFB.org.
Amber Pearson | Maryland Farm Bureau, Inc. (TSN Communications)
573.268.6853 | firstname.lastname@example.org