American Farm Bureau Establishes 2023 Policies During Annual Convention

Farmer and rancher delegates to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 104th Convention on Tuesday adopted policies to guide the organization’s work in 2023. Key topics ranged from expanding risk management programs and improving dairy pricing transparency to battling hunger.

Delegates were polled regarding their farms at the beginning of the voting session. The results show almost 99% (334 delegates) of those who cast votes operate family farms and almost 65% represent small- to mid-size farms as defined by USDA.

“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.”

Delegates to the American Farm Bureau business meeting voted to modernize the farm bill by expanding baseline funding, developing more flexible disaster relief programs and extending protection to more specialty crops.

They also voted to bring more transparency to the federal milk pricing system. Several changes to policy include support for more USDA audits of processing costs to ensure data remains accurate, and a Federal Milk Marketing Orders voting procedure that requires cooperatives to communicate more clearly with members regarding proposed changes. The results of an FMMO forum hosted by AFBF in October served as a guidepost for policy changes.

Recognizing growing food insecurity in the United States, delegates approved new policy to support access to nutrition programs including connecting farms directly with food banks, increasing the number of SNAP-approved food sales outlets, and other efforts to make produce available to families living in food deserts.

On trade, delegates added policy for USDA to continue working with the Mexican government to drop a proposed ban on imports of biotech corn. The new policy also encourages USDA to urge the Mexican government to accept established science on the safety of U.S. biotech products.

Voting delegates also formalized Farm Bureau’s position opposing the 2022 Waters of the U.S. rule and a proposed Securities and Exchange Commission rule if it requires Scope 3 emissions reporting from farms.

Beyond policy changes, delegates also elected members to serve on the AFBF board of directors and national program committees.

Chris Hoffman, president of Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and Wayne Stafford, president of Maryland Farm Bureau (Northeast Region) were elected to fill one-year terms on the AFBF board of directors. Joe Newland, president of Kansas Farm Bureau (Midwest Region); and Scott Mugrage, president of Alaska Farm Bureau (Western Region) were elected to two-year terms on the AFBF board of directors.

Fifteen other state Farm Bureau presidents were re-elected to two-year terms to represent their regions on the board.

Midwest Region

  • Randy Kron, Indiana
  • Rich Guebert, Illinois
  • Brent Johnson, Iowa
  • Dan Glessing, Minnesota

Northeast Region

  • David Fisher, New York
  • Joe Tisbert, Vermont

Southern Region

  • Tom McCall, Georgia
  • Jim Harper, Louisiana
  • Mike McCormick, Mississippi
  • Shawn Harding, North Carolina
  • Rodd Moesel, Oklahoma
  • Eric Mayberry, Tennessee
  • Russell Boening, Texas

Western Region

  • Stefanie Smallhouse, Arizona
  • Jamie Johansson, California

National Program Committees

Matt Fimon of Virginia was elected chair of the Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee, taking over the position in March at the end of the Young Farmers & Ranchers Conference for a one-year term. Heather Graham of Kentucky was elected vice chair and Joel Currier of Colorado was elected secretary. They will each serve one-year terms.

Isabella Chism of Indiana was re-elected chair of the Women’s Leadership Committee and Lorenda Overman of North Carolina was re-elected vice chair, each for a two-year term. Lou Nave of Tennessee (Southern Region), Lisa Wherry of Pennsylvania (Northeast Region), Marieta Hauser of Kansas (Midwest Region) and Shawn Wood of Arizona (Western Region) were re-elected to two-year terms.

Daryn Westergard of Utah was elected chair of AFBF’s Promotion & Education Committee;  Alan Clark of Idaho was elected vice chair. Both will serve two-year terms beginning in March.

The American Farm Bureau’s 2024 Convention is planned for Jan. 19-24, 2024, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Source: AFBF Communications.