Lindsay and I are sitting in Chicago’s Midway airport in the (we hope) final hour of a three-hour layover on our way home from the 90th Annual Meeting of the American Farm Bureau Federation in San Antonio. Our week Deep in the Heart of Texas has been very rewarding on a number of fronts. Most importantly, we’ve enjoyed and appreciated the opportunity to spend time with the members and staff of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. These are some of our dearest friends, both personally and professionally, and the weather in San Antonio was perfect for eating outside along the Riverwalk and enjoying the company.
Secondly, it was a very successful week for Farm Bureau members. Ohio was well-represented in the Young Farmer & Rancher competitions by Katy & Chad Endsley, Bob & Autumn Morrison, and Wendy Chrisman, who earned a spot in the Sweet 16 Round of the AFBF Discussion Meet. As a state organization, Ohio Farm Bureau earned 5 out of a possible 5 Awards of Excellence. These awards recognize state farm bureau organizations for the excellence in areas like agriculture education & promotion, leadership development, member services, policy implementation, and public relations & information. In addition to the clean sweep in the Awards of Excellence, Ohio was the only state to earn President’s Awards in four of the five program areas – no other state earned more than three. As such, Ohio was recognized with the Pinnacle Award, a new honor naming the best state Farm Bureau organization within each membership class. In Ohio’s case, OFBF is compared with other state farm bureaus of 200,000-400,000 members.
Two county farm bureaus were recognized for their excellence and innovation. Shelby County Farm Bureau was recognized for its “Images From the Land” concert event that featured photos of local farm families doing day-to-day activities. The photos were set to music presenting the seasons of agriculture through photos and music. In the area of policy implementation, the Tuscarawas County Farm Bureau was highlighted for “Animal Agriculture 101,” a two-day seminar providing instruction for county animal control officers on identification of livestock, basic body condition, feeding, shelter, animal behavior and handling, biosecurity, proper removal and disposal and other issues. The county Farm Bureau worked with the Ohio Farm Bureau and the Ohio State University Extension to develop the program.
In addition, Lindsay and I were able to connect with many of our colleagues in agricultural media. Being an agricultural broadcast journalist puts you in a fairly small fraternity, and we relish the opportunity to spend time with our fellow NAFB members. Lindsay took the opportunity to engage with her fellow NAFB officers as they plan the activities and priorities of our professional organization for the coming year and the rest of Lindsay’s tenure on the Board of Directors.
Our visit to the Alamo was important given the historical significance of the sacrifice so many made there at the Shrine of Texas Liberty. The entire city of San Antonio is fascinating, with the uniqueness of the Riverwalk with its shops, restaurants, and night spots providing one of the most open and inviting social atmospheres of any major metropolitan area I’ve visited. The Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center is massive, the Tower of the Americas awe inspiring, and the Alamo Dome still just off in the distance.
Our thanks to our sponsors, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and Nationwide Agribusiness for making our coverage of the 90th Annual Meeting of the American Farm Bureau Federation possible.