Each year, all 50 state Farm Bureaus gather at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual convention to fellowship, compete and conduct business. This meeting is where the voices of Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation’s nearly 190,000 member families are heard.
“We bring policy voted on by our members here to make sure Mississippi farmers and ranchers are being represented on Capitol Hill and in Washington, D.C.,” MFBF President Mike McCormick said.
Amber Young from Walthall County traveled to Atlanta this year to represent not only her county’s interest, but Mississippi women in agriculture and the Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee.
“I may wear many hats within Farm Bureau, but each type of member stands for the same thing. We all represent the same thing. We all have the same goals, so it’s easy to go into each meeting and take something from each one,” Young said.
AFBF Convention also gives Mississippi the chance to showcase member farmers through the Young Farmers & Ranchers contests.
Sean and Morgan McDonald from Jones County finished in the top ten of the national Achievement Award contest which is given to the top young farmer who earns a majority of their income through production agriculture.
For the McDonalds, preparing for the contest gave them an opportunity to grow as young leaders and improve their operation.
“It’s pretty neat to network with other farmers,” Sean McDonald said. “We’ve been able to bound ideas off of farmers from other states and come up with some new ideas we’ll take back to our farm. It’s great time to network with folks who do similar things around the world.”
For members like Noxubee County Farm Bureau President Philip Good, who was recently named to the United Soybean Board of Directors, attending this event allows him to discuss farmers’ needs not only in Mississippi, but throughout the nation. He enjoys doing this so that he can improve farming for those coming up behind him.
“Participating allows me to give back,” Good said. “I have a son and a grandson that I hope run the farm one day, so I want to do everything I can to give them that opportunity if they choose. I believe my investment now is securing the future for not only my son and grandson, but the others children too.”
To ensure the future of agriculture, delegates attend the AFBF Annual Meeting with the goal of conducting business their fellow MFBF members voted on.
Delegates face important discussions on a wide range of agriculture policy.
“It’s not my role as president to decide what our policy is,” McCormick said. “It’s our membership’s decision. Farm Bureau is known for having solid grassroots membership because of that. Whatever our members vote on during the meeting is what we’ll advocate for over the next 12 months.”
“We’re here to do business,” said Robert Earl McGehee, MFBF South Mississippi Vice President. “This is what we prepare for every year through our resolutions process. Without these meetings, agriculture wouldn’t have a solid voice. That’s why we are here – to make the voices of farmers and ranchers heard.”