It's a staggering 60 degrees warmer here in Seattle, WA than it was when I left South Dakota on Saturday afternoon, and I'm loving it! I'll be blogging from the Pacific coast throughout the week as I take part in the 91st Annual American Farm Bureau Federation's (AFBF) Annual Meeting. Over 5,000 farmers and ranchers from across the country gathered for this event, and I hope to share the highlights with you as I experience them. Yesterday morning, the event kicked off with an address by AFBF President Bob Stallman, which received a standing ovation for his profound statements. I thought I would share a few with you today.
This year's event them was, "Passage to Success," which focused on navigating the rocky waters of the current agriculture industry, while also recognizing the industry as a viable leader to help recover the struggling American economy. I've listed some of President Bob Stallman's most memorable quotes from his rousing keynote address below.
"Each of us, whether we are a farmer, grower, rancher or producer, is trying to find our own path to success and sustainability in the years to come," said Stallman. "However, a big issue we face is the non-stop criticism agriculture receives in the media and in government. Yet, studies show that consumers still admire us in our profession of raising food, but that admiration doesn't always extend to how we get the job done. We need to work harder than ever before to erase the seeds of doubt in consumers' minds and prove to them that American agriculture is still in line with moral ideals."
"To those who expect to just roll over American farm families, my message is this: this war has changed," affirmed Stallman. "Are we going to let activists stop us from raising meat we enjoy? No, we will not. Are we going to let the hysteria of climate change cap our ability to produce food? No, we will not. Are we going to let the government suffocate us with strict regulations? No, we will not. Are we going to stand up and fight as our founding fathers fought for a better future? I say, yes we will."
"The whole world is focused on sustainability, and we are, too. But, our number one priority is ECONOMIC stability," stated Stallman to an overwhelming round of applause. "Without economic stability, we will no longer be able to produce food for the world. Each and every one of us is one square of an intricate patchwork quilt making up the agriculture industry. Too many external sources are tugging at our seams. We must not let the activists or self-appointed food experts fray the edges of our patchwork quilt."
I hope his words inspire you this morning to think positively about the future of the agriculture industry. If we work together for a brighter tomorrow, our patchwork quilt will not tear at the seams from external sources working to put us out of business. I'm proud to share a piece of that quilt with each and every one of you, and I'm dedicated to making my square of the blanket the best it can be.
BEEF Daily Quick Fact: Today, about 150,000 American farmers produce most of our food and fiber. While among the world's most competitive farms, these operations make up just one segment of U.S. agriculture. USDA counts another 2 million farmers who meet the criterion of selling at least $1,000 worth of product annually, many of whom have other occupations but enjoy rural lifestyles. (Source: U.S. Economy of Agriculture)