Delegates to American Farm Bureau Federation’s 101st Annual Convention adopted policies to guide the organization’s work in 2020.
Delegates updated labor and immigration policies, emphasizing the need for significant changes to the H-2A program. While AFBF has long had policy in place to ensure an accessible, competitive guest worker program, the updates address problems with the adverse effect wage rate and emphasize the importance of year-round program access to all of agriculture.
After a year-long process to review ways to modernize Federal Milk Marketing Orders, AFBF’s delegates voted to support creation of a flexible, farmer- and industry-led milk management system. This includes giving individual dairy farmers a voice by allowing them to vote independently and confidentially on rules governing milk prices.
Delegates called on USDA to significantly improve conservation compliance program transparency and due process for farmers. They specifically prioritized changes in USDA’s processes for wetland delineations and the appeals process. Delegates also adopted a new policy supporting the repeal of Swampbuster provisions.
Delegates voted to support allowing a higher THC level in hemp, giving AFBF staff the flexibility to engage in discussions with regulators about the appropriate legal level, and to increase the window of time farmers are allowed to conduct THC testing, acknowledging the many questions about how the testing process will work and the potential for backlogs.
Delegates also made clear they want federal climate change policy to reflect regional variations, and they oppose a state-by-state patchwork of climate change policies.
Beyond policy changes, delegates also elected members to serve on the AFBF board of directors and national program committees.
AFBF President Zippy Duvall and Vice President Scott VanderWal were re-elected to two-year terms.
David Fisher, president of New York Farm Bureau (Northeast Region); Shawn Harding, president of North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation (Southern Region); and Randy Kron, Indiana Farm Bureau (Midwest Region) were elected to fill one-year terms on the AFBF board of directors.
Thirteen other state Farm Bureau presidents were re-elected to two-year terms to represent their regions on the board.
- Carl Bednarski, Michigan
- Blake Hurst, Missouri
- Steve Nelson, Nebraska
- Rick Ebert, Pennsylvania
- Ryck Suydam, New Jersey
- Mark Haney, Kentucky
- John Hoblick, Florida
- Harry Ott, South Carolina
- Jimmy Parnell, Alabama
- Wayne Pryor, Virginia
- Rich Hillman, Arkansas
- Bryan Searle, Idaho
- Ron Gibson, Utah
National Program Committees
Morgan Norris of Florida was elected as the new chair of the AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee for a one-year term. She will also serve a one-year term on the AFBF board of directors.
Vickie Bryant of Kentucky, Dotty Jensen of Utah and Margaret Gladden of Indiana were elected to two-year terms on the Women’s Leadership Committee. Jennifer Cross of Maryland was re-elected to a two-year term.