The 2019 American Farm Bureau convention was one for the books. Celebrating its 100th convention after its founding in November 1919, AFBF welcomed many distinguished speakers and organized several special activities to commemorate the anniversary in New Orleans.
Many Hoosiers played important roles at this year’s convention - including Anne Smith of Wayne County (pictured at right talking to convention goers about Wayne County’s Summer Harvest Supper as part of AFBF’s County Awards of Excellence showcase.) Wayne County and Benton County joined 22 other county winners from seven states in the showcase.
Several Indiana young farmers were involved in national Young Farmer and Rancher competitions and other activities:
- Marissa Mikel of Marion County participated in the 2019 Discussion Meet after winning INFB’s state competition.
- Neal and Lydia Wolheter of LaGrange County competed in the Achievement Award, which recognizes members for their farm management techniques and commitment to their communities.
- Jonathan and Derika Spaetti of Spencer County competed in the Excellence Award, which recognizes members who do not derive the majority of their income from a farming operation they own.
- Dan Snipes and Kelly Whiteman Snipes of Fulton County are members of the national Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee. At this year’s convention, Kelly was elected to serve as secretary of the national Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee, and Dan moderated the 2019 Discussion Meet final four.
Another Indiana member who made an impact at this year’s national convention was Jack Haefling, Marion County Farm Bureau president. Haefling joined New Jersey, New York and California Farm Bureau leaders to talk about the unique impact urban Farm Bureaus can have in their home states.
At the national level, Indiana’s second vice president, Isabella Chism, was re-elected as vice president of the AFBF Women’s Leadership Committee. On the committee, Isabella will continue to lead national programming for members across the country, especially education and outreach coordinators. Chism serves alongside Shelby County member Cindy Ramsey – who was elected last year – on the national committee.
At the opening session, Randy Kron, INFB president, represented Indiana on stage during the parade of states. Also playing a crucial role in representing INFB members at convention were the Indiana voting delegates and alternates who participated in the national delegate session on Tuesday.
A special guest addressed farmers and ranchers at the closing general session this year. President Donald Trump, introduced by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, joined the convention for the second year in a row. The president spoke on several issues of priority to American’s farmers, including trade, immigration reform, tax reform, broadband and the new farm bill.
To commemorate its 100th anniversary, AFBF created a series of educational and congratulatory videos for attendees and hosted several celebrations for members and state leaders. In celebrating the anniversary, AFBF leadership spoke to the future of the organization as they look toward the next 100 years of Farm Bureau.