Nineteen Alabama Farmers Federation (AFF) members were among 353 voting delegates who elected new leadership for the nation’s largest farm organization in Orlando, Florida last month.
Zippy Duvall, Georgia Farm Bureau president, was elected president of the American Farm Bureau Federation at its 97th annual convention Jan. 8-12. The AFF endorsed Duvall earlier this year, and AFF President Jimmy Parnell said Duvall’s election is good news for farmers throughout the country, especially Southern farmers.
“Zippy Duvall understands the issues and concerns of our farmers and the farmers throughout the United States,” Parnell said. “His conservative leadership and core values genuinely reflect those of our members. He is a man of principles who understands farming on the local, state, regional, national and international levels. Our organization was founded on his kind of leadership, and he understands those values are what will continue to make this organization great.”
Nearly 100 AFF members attended the convention. As the sixth-largest Farm Bureau, AFF sent 19 delegates to vote for AFBF’s president, vice president and board members. It was the first open election for AFBF president in 30 years, according to immediate past president Bob Stallman, who stepped down after 16 years.
South Dakota Farm Bureau President Scott VanderWal was elected AFBF vice president.
AFF’s Parnell was re-elected to the AFBF’s board of directors as a Southern Region representative. The region includes 13 states and Puerto Rico.
It was the first AFBF conference for Joel and Patti Sirmon of Baldwin County, who said they enjoyed a tour to Hillsborough County, Florida where they met farmers raising tropical fish, strawberries and nursery plants.
“It’s been an interesting and educational trip,” said Joel Sirmon, a peanut and sweet potato farmer from Daphne. “The trade show was really big, and there was a lot to see. We also attended several of the seminars.”
During the five-day meeting, Alabama young farmer Brittany Hill of St. Clair County competed in the Discussion Meet, and Calhoun County’s Abbie Keel represented the state in the Excellence in Agriculture national contest. Alabama’s Outstanding Young Farm Family Garrett and Emily Henry of Montgomery County, along with their children Paige and Mason, competed in the AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Achievement Award Contest.
AFF received six AFBF Awards of Excellence for its programs in Education and Outreach; Leadership Development; Member Services; Membership Initiatives; Policy Development and Implementation; and Public Relations and Communications. Alabama also was recognized for positive membership growth.
View photos from the 2016 AFBF annual meeting on AFF’s Facebook page.