Coverage from the 101st American Farm Bureau Annual Convention

Monday, Jan.20

It was a busy start for Ohio Farm Bureau on Day 3 of American Farm Bureau’s Annual Convention and Trade Show! OFBF President Frank Burkett made appearance on This Week in Agribusiness with Max Armstrong and RFD-TV with Tammy Arender to talk about trade and his recent visit to The White House.

OFBF President Frank Burkett and farm broadcaster Max Armstrong
Burkett and RFD-TV’s Tammi Arender

Ohio Farm Bureau’s VP of Public Policy, Yvonne Lesicko, was part of a panel discussion to inform attendees about the implications of “Rights of Nature” laws on agriculture and Ohio’s fight against the Lake Erie Bill of Rights passed by Toledo voters last year.

Yvonne Lesicko (2nd from left) sits on a panel at the 2020 AFBF Annual Convention

Today was the final day that our county Farm Bureaus are able to showcase their AFBF award winning events on the Trade Show floor. There was a lot of talk around convention this week about how Ohio had 8 of the 24 exhibits featured at this week. Congrats to them all for their hard and noble work for their local communities.

Sunday, Jan.19

Bonnie and Zippy Duvall

Day 2 began with the heartbreaking news that Bonnie Duvall, wife of American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall, lost her battle with ovarian cancer on Saturday. Our prayers go out to the Duvall family. During the General Session, Duvall shared his appreciation, via a pre-recorded video, for the support from across the country and asked that the convention continue as a celebration of the organization’s achievements, as Bonnie would have it no other way.

Here is the full video of the opening General Session.

Ohio Farm Bureau President Frank Burkett (left) and American Farm Bureau Vice President Scott VanderWal

Ohio Farm Bureau was honored to receive the 2020 AFBF New Horizon Award. The award recognizes efforts of the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation’s ExploreAg program, which introduces young people to the vast opportunities a career in agriculture can provide. OFBF Frank Burkett accepted the award from AFBF Vice President Scott VanderWal.

Ohio Farm Bureau also received the Scholar Award, which is given to the six state Farm Bureaus with the highest total donations to the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture within similar size memberships. Plus, Ohio Farm Bureau qualified for the Leader Award. State Farm Bureaus are recognized with a Leader Award when each of its state board members donates at least $50 to the foundation.

For the third consecutive year, President Donald Trump addressed members of the American Farm Bureau Federation. His appearance follows a week that included a Phase 1 Trade Deal with China and the Senate’s passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement.

Watch his remarks

Victoria Popp competes in the Sweet 16 round of the 2020 Discussion Meet.

Victoria Popp made a strong showing in the Sweet 16 round of American Farm Bureau’s Discussion Meet on Sunday. Competitors tackled this question:

How can Farm Bureau build upon collaborative relationships such as Farm Town Strong to combat nationwide crises such as opioid dependence/addiction and mental health issue?

Victoria is a great representative for the Buckeye State and Ohio Farm Bureau is proud of her efforts and congratulates her for a job well done.

Ohio’s Kyle and Ashton Walls made the Top 10 in AFBF’s Excellence in Agriculture competition. On Monday, the Final Four competitors will be announced.

Saturday, Jan.18

Victoria Popp (left) and her fellow panelists introduce themselves prior to the Round 1 competition.

The first two rounds of the 2020 American Farm Bureau Discussion Meet included Ohio’s Victoria Popp from Clermont County. Popp and fellow competitors shared their thoughts and ideas about topics including:

Cell-based food products have demonstrated that the food system is rapidly changing. How can future technologies and related products be beneficially integrated into modern agricultural production without hampering the success of traditional products and the farmers and ranchers who grow them?

The 21st-century agricultural economy is threatened by labor shortages. Without a clear solution accessing foreign guest workers as a component of immigration reform coming from Congress, what are some creative and legal ways for agriculture to address the labor needs of a modern production system?

Victoria is moving on to the Discussion Meet Sweet 16 Sunday morning.

The Walls introduce the judges to their farm, family and their “all in” efforts for Ohio agriculture.

Kyle and Ashton Walls traveled to Austin, Texas from Mt. Vernon, Ohio to compete in the American Farm Bureau Excellence in Agriculture Award. The Walls are first generation farmers and talked about the importance of being involved with Farm Bureau on the country, state and national levels. Between cattle, chickens and off-farm careers, not to mention their young daughter, life is pretty busy for The Walls these days. Their passion for their farm and the agriculture industry drives them to become better representatives for Ohio Farm Bureau and agriculture as a whole. The will find out if they make the Top 10 on Sunday!

Paul Dorrance spoke at a session during the 2020 American Farm Bureau Convention in Austin, Texas

Paul Dorrance, a farmer from Ross County and Ohio Farm Bureau Member, was invited to Austin by AFBF to speak at a session about the benefits of animal movement through rotational grazing. Many farmers from around the country took part to find out what they can implement on their farms and ranches to maximize production and help the bottom line.

FarmHer creator Marji Guyer-Alaniz and OBFB’s Yvonne Lesicko

Ohio Farm Bureau’s Vice President of Public Policy, Yvonne Lesicko, was asked to join in for the FarmHer Podcast: Shining Bright with Marji Guyler-Alaniz. The podcast shines a light on women making the ordinary extraordinary in the agriculture industry.

Friday, Jan. 17

More than 200 Ohio Farm Bureau members and staff will travel to Austin, Texas Jan. 17-22 to celebrate this past year’s achievements and represent Ohio member interests as Farm Bureau policy priorities are set for the coming year at the American Farm Bureau 101st Annual Convention.

Eight Ohio county Farm Bureau projects were chosen to participate in the County Activities of Excellence program, and young agricultural professionals Kyle and Ashton Walls, Matt Vodraska and Victoria Popp and will be competing in the national Excellence in Agriculture, Outstanding Young Farmer and Discussion Meet contests, respectively.

President Donald J. Trump, for the third year in a row, will speak at the AFBF Annual Convention. The address is scheduled for Jan. 19. Other officials currently scheduled to attend are: Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.).

Follow the action as it’s happening on OFBF’s social media through Facebook and by following the #AFBF20 hashtag on Twitter.

Ohio Farm Bureau partner, Nationwide, is a sponsor of this event.

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