An Oklahoma Farm Bureau delegation of 80-plus leaders will join more than 4,000 Farm Bureau members from across the country in Salt Lake City, Utah Jan. 7-10 for the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 88th Annual Meeting and Convention.
Most importantly, state delegates will meet to discuss and vote on the positions that will guide AFBF in 2007. Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Steve Kouplen said several agricultural issues will be covered during discussions, including the next farm bill.
“The farm bill is probably the key issue. We will have to decide whether to extend the current policy, or write a new farm bill,” he said. “Hopefully, we can come to some agreements between all the agriculture groups and pull together to accomplish our goals.”
Another hot topic on the minds of farmers and ranchers is disaster assistance.
“We are in the midst of widespread disaster, not only in Oklahoma, but across the country,” Kouplen said. “I think it has finally become evident that something needs to be done.”
He is hopeful Congress agrees and comes through with a disaster bill for producers in January.
“We have experienced some definite disaster conditions over the past 12 to 18 months, and producers have had a hard time in this state,” he said. “They are definitely in need of some disaster assistance, so we will continue to work with our congressmen and senators and try to get that done.”
In addition to the business meeting, Farm Bureau members in Salt Lake City will hear from high profile speakers and entertainers.
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johann’s will address Farm Bureau member families Jan. 8.
“The address should be very informative, especially in light of the 2007 farm bill debate,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman.
Joining Johann’s at the convention’s general session on Monday is 38-year ABC news veteran Sam Donaldson.
Since joining ABC News in 1967 as Capitol Hill correspondent, Donaldson has covered many major news stories, including the Vietnam War, Watergate, the House Judiciary Committee impeachment investigation in 1974, and the Gulf war in 1991.
Donaldson’s accomplishments are legendary and Farm Bureau members will have a rare opportunity to listen to his experiences firsthand.
Also on Jan. 8, cowboy singer and country performer Michael Martin Murphey will perform for Farm Bureau members. Prior to Murphey, cowboy poet and humorist Baxter Black will take the stage.
A wide array of informative sessions, Stallman’s presidential address, state Farm Bureau awards and recognition, and a Farm Bureau Showcase round out convention events.