New York Farm Bureau received five Awards of Excellence at the 2016 American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL.
About 40 delegates, members and staff attended the event that ran from Jan. 9 to 12.
The Awards of Excellence signify achievement in Education and Outreach, Leadership Development, Membership Initiatives, Policy Development and Implementation and Public Relations and Communications.
President Dean Norton, who serves on the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Board of Directors, was also reappointed by newly elected AFBF President Zippy Duvall, to once again represent the Northeast on the AFBF Executive Committee.
This will ensure New York Farm Bureau will maintain a prominent voice at the highest levels of farm policy discussion at AFBF.
NYFB’s Young Farmer and Rancher program was also well represented during the competitive events at AFBF. The New York State Discussion Meet champion was Lonny Schaefer from Delaware County. Sarah Blood from Schoharie County competed for the national Excellence in Agriculture Award, and the New York State Achievement Award winner was Michael Jennings from Montgomery County.
While they did not make it to the final rounds in their respective categories, all three demonstrated important communication skills and a great understanding of Farm Bureau issues.
In addition, a dozen public policy resolutions proposed by New York Farm Bureau that originated at the grassroots level are now part of AFBF national policy. The resolutions were approved by the full delegate body during their business session. These new public policy positions include:
** Allow an accredited third party or Natural Resources Conservation Service staff to complete on-site wetland determinations to ensure timely determinations
** Support for farm wineries, farm breweries, farm cideries, and farm distilleries to have the ability to use social media
** Reclassifying rabbits raised for food from exotic animals to livestock for processing purposes
** Offering a reduced excise tax rate for small distilleries similar to the rate structure for breweries
** Provide financial assistance through APHIS and ARS to maintain New York’s Golden Nematode Quarantine Facility and Research Program
** The ability of all states to insure individual blocks of grape varieties
** The continued use of drugs currently used by beekeepers and available over the counter for the control of American and European Foulbrood until there is a protocol in place
** Voluntary base acreage updating in the next Farm Bill
** Changes to the National Organic Program animal welfare standards should not impair the current practices that allow producers to maintain the biosecurity of their herds and flocks
“New York Farm Bureau, its members, and its staff work hard every day to serve and strengthen agriculture for every farmer in this state. We are pleased to receive this recognition from our national organization. It highlights the exemplary job that this organization strives to do on behalf of our members,” said Jeff Kirby, New York Farm Bureau Executive Director.
“New York Farm Bureau continues to play a national role in setting farm policy in this country, and I could not be prouder of this organization. I congratulate our members who had the foresight to advance public policy resolutions at the local level with an eye on helping to craft our national agenda. I am also looking forward to continuing to serve New York and the Northeast at AFBF, and I congratulate AFBF President Zippy Duvall and Vice President Scott VanderWal on their elections,” said Norton.