The 92nd annual meeting of the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation will be held December 7 - 10, 2013. Farmers, agribusiness leaders and volunteer leaders from across the state gather to learn about the latest in agricultural issues, technologies and to discuss and vote in their resolutions for the next year. In all, more than 1500 farmer leaders will make the trip to the annual meeting, where yearly awards are given, distinguished service awards bestowed and county Farm Bureau achievements highlighted. For a copy of the agenda, click here. (large file!) If you can't make it to convention, watch it live!
Effective December 31, TFBF Communications Director Pettus Read, Special Programs Director Charles Curtis and Director of Organization Bobby Beets will retire following a career totaling 113 years.
Communications Director Pettus Read began his career in 1969 as an agent in the Rutherford County Farm Bureau office. In 1974 he became district field representative in the Upper Cumberland area for the state organization. After 9 1/2 years in that position he moved to Columbia in 1983 to serve as assistant director of Communications. He assumed the position of director in 1995, along with editor of the Tennessee Farm Bureau News and later the Tennessee Home & Farm magazine, as well as writing his “Read All About It” column seen weekly in more than 50 newspapers statewide. He says he is looking forward to spending time on his family farm, participating in local politics and being a part of his grandchildren’s lives after spending 44 years of employment with Farm Bureau.
Special Programs Director Charles Curtis began his Tennessee Farm Bureau career July 1, 1983 as a field service director in the Upper Cumberland. In 1995 he was promoted to director of Special Programs for Tennessee Farm Bureau coordinating the Young Farmers programs, Farm Bureau Women’s activities and the Agriculture in the Classroom program. Through his leadership the programs have been recognized nationally. He has supported participants and winners in state and national competition. The Ag In The Classroom activities have had continuous growth under his leadership. Curtis is a native of Overton County in Rickman, Tennessee. He and his wife Sharon operate a small registered shorthorn beef operation on the family farm near Rickman. He is looking forward to spending time with his family, and being part of his grandchildren’s lives as they play sports and show cattle. He says he is also looking forward to planning a birthday party for his mother who will be 100 on March 18, 2014.
Organization Director Bobby Beets also began his Farm Bureau career as a district field representative working in the lower East Tennessee region of the state in 1974. He served in that position from ‘74 until 1980 when he moved to Columbia to become the director of Special Programs. Beets held that position until 1995 when he became the Organization director overseeing activities of the Membership Department including the Member Benefits and County Accounting programs; supervised work of regional field directors with county Farm Bureaus including staff and leader training; managed meeting arrangements and logistics and coordinated the awards programs with both county Farm Bureaus and AFBF. Beets is looking forward to spending time with his family, especially as he and his wife Sherree enjoy their three grandchildren.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013/National FFA Organization) – Students from Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Iowa, West Virginia and Oregon have been elected by delegates from throughout the U.S. to serve on the 2013-14 National FFA Officer team.
Brian Walsh of Virginia, an agribusiness major at Virginia Tech, was elected president. Mitch Baker of Tennessee, an agricultural communications major at University of Tennessee, will serve as secretary.
Steven Brockshus of Iowa, an agricultural education and global resource systems major at Iowa State University, was elected Central Region vice president and Jackson Harris of Alabama, a community development major at the University of Alabama, will serve as Southern Region vice president.
Wes Davis of West Virginia, an agribusiness management and rural development major at West Virginia University, was elected Eastern Region vice president and Jason Wetzler of Oregon, an agricultural leadership major at Oklahoma State University, will serve as Western Region vice president.
Each year at the National FFA Convention & Expo, six students are elected by delegates to represent the organization as National FFA officers. Delegates elect a president, secretary and vice presidents representing the central, southern, eastern and western regions of the country.
National officers commit to a year of service to the National FFA Organization. Each travels more than 100,000 national and international miles to interact with business and industry leaders, thousands of FFA members and teachers, corporate sponsors, government and education officials, state FFA leaders, the general public and more. The team will lead personal growth and leadership training seminars for FFA members throughout the country and help set policies that will guide the future of FFA and promote agricultural literacy.
“For this new national officer team, it will be a year of hard work, long hours, lots of travel and major advocacy for FFA and agricultural education,” said 2012-13 National FFA President Clay Sapp, who delivered his retiring address today before the new team was named. “It is a year of profound experiences that will change their lives and thousands of lives their service will touch.”
The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 579,678 student members in grades seven through 12 who belong to one of 7,570 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
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About National FFA Organization
The National FFA Organization is a national youth organization of 579,678 student members as part of 7,570 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. The National FFA Organization operates under a federal charter granted by the 81st United States Congress and it is an integral part of public instruction in agriculture. The U.S. Department of Education provides leadership and helps set direction for FFA as a service to state and local agricultural education programs. For more, visit the National FFA Organization online at www.FFA.org, on Facebook, Twitter and the official National FFA Organization blog.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) met recently with family farmers and local business leaders in Memphis, Tennessee, to talk about the critical need to overhaul the nation’s tax code in order to boost its fairness, reduce complexity and improve the economy.
“Plain and simple, the tax code is broken. Fixing it is the best way to spark long-term growth in our economy, create good-paying jobs, and make families’ lives easier,” Baucus and Camp said in a joint statement. “Whether it’s a chat over coffee in a family’s kitchen or a meeting with business leaders and their employees, we’re hearing the same thing: the American people want a new tax code that’s fair and simple. That’s what tax reform is about.”
The Chairmen began their day with a kitchen table conversation at the Sullivan Farm, a 6,000 acre, third-generation family operation just outside of Memphis. Baucus and Camp sat down with John and Debbie Sullivan and discussed how the tax code affects the ways farmers manage their businesses, including how they plan their business operations and make investments in new equipment.
The Chairmen next visited FedEx, where they met with executives and several of the company’s customers — small businesses from the Memphis area — to discuss how tax reform can make U.S. businesses more competitive, strengthen the economy, create good-paying jobs and lift wages.
The two Chairmen have been travelling the country getting input and feedback from the American people on the nation’s tax system, and today’s stop in Memphis was their fourth. They began in Minnesota's twin cities, where they met with workers and executives at 3M as well as the owner of a family-owned bakery. The tour then stopped in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where Baucus and Camp toured a pair of small businesses and heard about the challenges they face in dealing with the tax code. While in Pennsylvania, they also met with an individual taxpayer who shared his story on their web site TaxReform.gov. The Chairmen next stopped in the Silicon Valley area, meeting with two high-tech businesses: Square, a San Francisco-based producer of mobile payment technology, and Intel, a Santa Clara-based manufacturer of microprocessors and other computer components.
Ways and Means Press Office
Statement by Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation Regarding Farm Bill Expiration
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 1, 2013 – “Farmers and ranchers, along with 90 percent of the country, are frustrated with Congress. Aside from shutting down the government, the one-year farm bill extension Congress granted last session also expired at midnight, while the new farm bill has yet to formally reach the conference process.
“Farm Bureau members are deeply concerned over the political challenges that are making it next to impossible for Congress to reach a compromise on important legislation, while restoring fiscal order and setting a responsible course to get the federal budget back on track. Adding to our frustration, both the House and Senate versions of the farm bill would provide significant savings that could be applied toward reducing the federal deficit.
“Now that the 2008 farm bill extension has expired, farmers once again are left with uncertainty as to the safety net and risk management tools that are important in planning for next year’s crop. And come January, consumers once again face the impact of high food costs as decades-old farm policy kicks in.
“Both the House and Senate agriculture committees have worked hard to put together bipartisan packages that would deliver solid safety net options and comprehensive risk management tools for farmers and ranchers. It is past time for Congress to let these two committees get back to what they do best – work together in a bipartisan fashion to forge the best new farm bill possible in today’s tough political environment.
“Farm Bureau is encouraging Congress and President Obama to work together to get the budget process in order, get our national economy back on track and move forward on legislation important to agriculture, such as the farm bill, immigration and tax reform and waterways funding.”
|Contacts:||Tracy Taylor Grondine
The 2014 AFBF Annual Convention will return to San Antonio, Texas January 11 – 16, 2014. Tennessee Farm Bureau leaders will have the choice to fly from Knoxville, Nashville or Memphis to San Antonio on Saturday, January 11 returning to Tennessee on Thursday, January 16. The Tennessee delegation will be housed in the Hyatt Regency on the famous San Antonio Riverwalk. Located two blocks from the San Antonio Convention Center, the Hyatt Regency is a short walk or shuttle bus ride to all convention activities.
Three general sessions with high profile speakers will be mixed with workshops on current issues, leadership, business, production and profitability. The showcase tradeshow will offer a change of pace where convention goers can visit with each other and agricultural vendors as well as share ideas at the county Farm Bureau Idea Exchange.
Young Farmers and Ranchers from across the country will compete for the pickup trucks, tractors and chainsaws, as well as vouchers and cash prizes. Farm Bureau Women’s committee members will meet to discuss their agenda for the year. Both groups will elect their leaders for 2014.
Optional activities include the AFBF Foundation sponsored golf tournament and sport clay shooting contest on Saturday, flapjack breakfast on Sunday morning and a rodeo on Monday evening. The Foundation will also host its silent auction featuring items from every state during the tradeshow.
The business session will be on Tuesday, January 14 where delegates from all 50 states and Puerto Rico will consider and vote on Farm Bureau’s public policy for 2014.
If you’re not participating in the business session, you will have your pick of tours provided by the Texas Farm Bureau, bus tour to the LBJ Ranch & Visitor Center and historic Fredericksburg, Hop-on-Hop-off Tour of San Antonio highlights or take walking tours of the Alamo, Tower of Americas, Institute of Texas Cultures or shop in LaVillita or Market Square all in nearby proximity of the Hyatt Regency.
Two group dinners have been planned with unique venues and tours. On our first night in San Antonio, the group will take a short one block walk down Crocket Street to the County Line Barbeque for a Texas barbeque dinner overlooking the Riverwalk. After dinner, we will board river boats for a narrated tour of downtown San Antonio and the Riverwalk before arriving back at the Hyatt Regency hotel. At the conclusion of the convention on Tuesday evening, the group will walk across the street to the famous Buckhorn Saloon and Texas Ranger Museum for an evening tour and Tex-Mex dinner. On Wednesday, a group tour and lunch hosted by the Texas Farm Bureau will also be provided as part of the group package price. We will visit a peanut processing plant, see cactus ropes made, tour the famous Alamo Hat Company, as well as visit an exotic wildlife ranch. View TN Farm Bureau San Antonio brochure.
Ride “The City of New Orleans”
A pre-convention trip limited to 50 people will travel to New Orleans via Memphis by bus and train. Departing Nashville by bus on Wednesday afternoon, January 8, this group will spend the first night at the Memphis Sheraton located adjacent to the Memphis Pyramid, the home of the Memphis Grizzlies. Catch the Memphis Trolley for a short ride to famous Beale Street or for barbeque ribs at Rendezvous.
On Thursday morning we will bus to the Memphis Amtrak Station to board the “City of New Orleans” for a leisurely day trip to the Big Easy. This scenic trip will wind through several rural Mississippi and Louisiana towns before arriving mid afternoon in New Orleans. You will be able to take advantage of the viewing car for panoramic views. While in New Orleans the group will be housed in the Marriott Courtyard on Iberville, in the heart of the French Quarter. Several world class restaurants, Jackson Square, museums, walking history tours, as well as Bourbon Street are located in easy walking distance from our hotel.
The group will take a city bus tour on Friday morning experiencing the history and culture of New Orleans before an afternoon and evening to tour on your own. The group will fly on to San Antonio on Saturday, January 11 to meet up with the rest of the Tennessee delegation in time for the AFBF Convention.
What Does This Cost?
Cost for the package trip in San Antonio including five nights hotel, two dinners and evening tours, one day bus tour with lunch, AFBF Convention registration and transfers is $899 per person with double accommodations.
The cost of the optional pre-convention tour which includes three nights hotel, bus, train, New Orleans city tour and transfers is $499 per person with double accommodations.
Airline costs are separate and will be posted on the county Farm Bureau Intranet as soon as they are available. Tickets will cost approximately $375 - $475 per person.
All registration will go through your county Farm Bureau office.
Rutherford County young farm couple Brandon and Katherine Whitt were named Tennessee Farm Bureau’s Outstanding Young Farmer and Achievement Award winners during special ceremonies at the Tennessee Young Farmer Summer Conference. The young row crop and swine farmers from the Blackman community, bested 16 other county contestants in state competition held at the headquarter offices of the Tennessee Farm Bureau in Columbia, Tenn., to be named the state winners and to also have the opportunity to compete for national honors in January.
Brandon and Katherine were named this year’s winners based upon farm and financial records from the farm year 2012. The Whitts farm over 1900 acres in the surrounding Blackman and Murfreesboro area of Rutherford County in an owner/partnership operation. Their major crops are soybeans, wheat, corn and strawberries. They market over 800 head of hogs a year mostly through retail outlets consisting of 4,000 pounds of meat monthly by on farm retail, restaurants and farmers markets.
Both Brandon and Katherine have been very active in the Young Farmer and Rancher program, as well as the Rutherford County Farm Bureau and his community. Brandon has served on the Board of Directors of the Rutherford County Farm Bureau since 2004 and was state chairman of the Tennessee YF&R in 2012. Both are very active in their church. The Whitts have three children.
The rewards for being named the state winner are many. They receive a year’s free use of a brand new Case/IH tractor up to 150 hours. They also received $500 from Tennessee Farm Bureau, a fully loaded RTV to keep from Tennessee Farm Bureau, an insurance policy to cover the tractor for one year from Farm Bureau Insurance of Tennessee and a trip to the American Farm Bureau Convention in San Antonio, Texas in January 2014, where he will compete for national honors with other state winners for national awards. The national will get their choice of a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado or 2014 GMC Sierra, courtesy of GM and paid registration to the 2014 YF&R Leadership Conference in Virginia Beach, February 7-10. Three national runners-up will receive a Case IH Farmall tractor, courtesy of Case IH, and a $2,500 cash prize and $500 in merchandise courtesy of STIHL.
The American Farm Bureau Federation helped garner a group of more than 532 organizations that recently urged House leadership to bring the farm bill back to the House floor for a vote as soon as possible. The groups also urged against splitting the nutrition title from the legislation.
In a letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the vast group encompassing agriculture, conservation, nutrition, rural development, finance, forestry, energy and crop insurance organizations and companies said passage of the farm bill (H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013) is vital.
“This important legislation supports our nation’s farmers, ranchers, forest owners, food security, natural resources and wildlife habitats, rural communities, and the 16 million Americans whose jobs directly depend on the agriculture industry,” said the letter.
“Farm bills represent a delicate balance between America’s farm, nutrition, conservation, and other priorities, and accordingly require strong bipartisan support,” continued the letter. “It is vital for the House to try once again to bring together a broad coalition of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to provide certainty for farmers, rural America, the environment and our economy in general and pass a five-year farm bill upon returning in July.”
The groups also stood in united support for keeping the farm bill intact. “We believe that splitting the nutrition title from the rest of the bill could result in neither farm nor nutrition programs passing, and urge you to move a unified farm bill forward.”
Current law expires again on September 30, 2013.
|Contacts:||Tracy Taylor Grondine
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture recently announced a revised Order by the State Veterinarian specifying conditions under which wild-appearing hogs are to be transported in the state.
The revised order, which went into effect June 10, is in support of legislation passed last year by the Tennessee General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Bill Haslam making it illegal to transport and release wild-appearing hogs without documentation from the department.
“Wild hogs have the propensity to reproduce in great numbers, carry diseases, destroy crops and cause serious ecological damage,” state veterinarian Charles Hatcher, DVM, said. “The new order strengthens efforts to prevent the illegal transportation and releasing of wild hogs by requiring individual animal identification and documentation for all wild-appearing hogs being moved.”
Wild hogs are typically two to three feet tall and up to five feet long with larger heads and heavier shoulders compared to domesticated breeds. Wild hogs also have smaller, pointed and heavily furred ears, longer snouts, tusks and straight tails.
The previous order exempted individual animal identification in specific cases. The revised order requires all wild-appearing swine being moved within Tennessee to have state or federally approved individual animal identification and:
- Proof that each individual animal has tested negative for Pseudorabies and Brucellosis within 90 days of movement; or
- Proof that each individual animal originated from a Validated Brucellosis-free and Qualifed Pseudorabies-negative herd; or
- Have a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection from a Tennessee licensed and USDA accredited veterinarian listing each animal; or
- A movement authorization number from the state veterinarian’s office for wild-appearing hogs being moved directly to an approved slaughter facility or slaughter-only market.
Authorization numbers for wild-appearing hogs intended for slaughter can be obtained by phone Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. central time by calling the state veterinarian’s office at 615-837-5120. Producers will be required to provide information including the number of swine and the place of origin and destination.
For more information or to view the state veterinarian’s order visit TDA at www.tn.gov/agriculture and click on the Animal Health Information link.
As the immigration debate heats up in our nation’s capital, a group of influential organizations in Tennessee banded together to show their support of bipartisan, meaningful, workable immigration reform. The press conference took place at the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Nashville, with Catherine Glover, president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Ryan Peebles, president of the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. of Tennessee; Moore Hallmark, executive director of the Southeastern Region of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Yuri Cunza, president and CEO of the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; and Lacy Upchurch, president of Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation each sharing why their respective organization was in favor of a federal solution to this on-going issue.
“The Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation is proud to stand today beside our friends with the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry and our fellow business families in support of S.744 the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act. We believe this bipartisan immigration bill is a balanced reform bill, it includes fair and workable farm labor provisions, and it will help ensure an adequate supply of farm labor. The success of Tennessee agriculture, as well as U.S. agriculture depends on workers who show up every day and work along with farm families to raise and harvest our crops and livestock. Today’s consumers want local grown foods and labor reform helps make sure our food is produced here in the United States. We believe American food grown on American soil is the best option. We absolutely support securing our borders and believe part of what makes securing the borders work is to assure we have a legal, achievable way for farm workers to enter our country. The farm labor provisions are the result of an agreement forged by the United Farm Workers Union and the Agriculture Workforce Coalition, a coalition of 60-plus organizations of which our American Farm Bureau Federation is a founding member. We urge the U.S. Senate to support S.744 - the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act and look forward to working with members as the reform legislation moves through Congress,” said Upchurch during the press conference.