NYFB president elected to national AFBF board of directors
New York Farm Bureau leaders are heading back to New York with a positive outlook for national farm policy this year following a successful national convention in Austin, Texas.
Delegates at the 101st Annual American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting, which ran Jan. 17-21, established public policy positions for the organization, including passing several that originated through NYFB’s grassroots policy development process aimed at better positioning farmers for the future.
Also, during the business meeting, NYFB President David Fisher was elected by the Northeast Region delegates to represent them on the national AFBF board of directors that governs the national organization.
“I’m honored for New York Farm Bureau to once again have a seat at the table to help guide AFBF during this critical time for American agriculture. We will work hard for our farmers to turn the policy positions set this week into actual policy in Washington, D.C., that will benefit our members. Convention was successful on many levels for New York Farm Bureau, showing the strength and diversity of our great organization,” said David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau president.
Among the many policy positions established were several changes to direct the dairy conversation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture over things that may improve the price that farmers receive for their milk. Delegates also passed policy to tackle rising federal H-2A adverse effect wage rates for agricultural guest workers as well as emphasizing the need for a year-round federal visa program to address labor shortages for all of agriculture.
Delegates also supported several new policies to improve the cultivation of industrial hemp, including support for allowing a higher THC level in hemp, giving AFBF staff the flexibility to engage in discussions with regulators about the appropriate legal level, and to increase the window of time farmers are allowed to conduct THC testing, acknowledging the many questions about how the testing process will work and the potential for backlogs.
New policies are on the books supporting science-based climate change research and the documentation of agriculture’s tremendous advances toward climate-smart practices. In addition, New York Farm Bureau was successful in getting support for the issuance and enforcement of the National Organic Program Origin of Livestock Rule.
Also, at convention, NYFB Young Farmers & Ranchers competed in all three national competitive events. Eileen Jensen, of Branchport, a member of Yates County Farm Bureau, was named a top 10 finalist in the Excellence in Agriculture Award.
“I am honored to have had the opportunity to represent New York Farm Bureau and compete in the National Young Farmers & Ranchers Excellence in Agriculture contest in Austin, Texas. It allowed me to expand my network and gather new ideas to continue to be an advocate and voice for New York agriculture,” Jensen said. “Being named a top 10 finalist was the culmination of many years of hard work, passion and dedication to my life’s work of helping to bridge the gap between people and agriculture.”
Also competing at AFBF, Evan and Elizabeth Schiedel, of Ripley, members of Chautauqua County Farm Bureau, represented NYFB in the Achievement in Agriculture Award. And Adam Miner, of Mannsville, a Jefferson County Farm Bureau member, took part in the national discussion meet competition.
NYFB member Tinia Pina, founder and CEO of Re-Nuble in New York City, was a semifinalist in the Ag Innovation Challenge and presented to a panel of judges in competing for the AFBF Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
“It was an incentive to get some visibility. Us being really focused on the niche of indoor agriculture isn’t something AFBF had a lot of representation with, but there was a lot of excitement about it, and we wanted to be a part of that. And just being here we had a lot of conversations about opportunities that exist for us,” Pina said.
Chenango County Farm Bureau was honored with the AFBF County Activities of Excellence Award. Bradd and Rainy Vickers represented the county by hosting a booth on the trade show floor highlighting their county Farm Bureau’s winning farm safety program.
NYFB was also honored with all four Awards of Excellence for outstanding programming in advocacy; engagement and outreach; leadership and business development; and membership value.
Finally, NYFB continued to be represented on the national level with Paul Molesky of Schaghticoke, a Rensselaer County Farm Bureau member who serves as the AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers chair; and Patti Fisher of Madrid, a member of St. Lawrence County Farm Bureau who heads up the national AFBF promotion and education committee.
For more information on policy development and convention events, visit www.fb.org.