The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture launched its new and enhanced version of “MyAmericanFarm.org,” a free online interactive gaming platform, that focuses on third- through fifth-grade students. The new version offers more agriculture-related games and activities for kids coupled with additional educator resources.
“My American Farm” was developed to engage millions of youth, teachers and parents through unique educational experiences, educator resources and fun family activities in an online environment.
“One of the main things we tried to do was not only provide these games, but also provide resources and ways to search the site so educators can find information easily by subject matter and agricultural themes and topics,” said Curtis Miller, director of education for the foundation. “We also have fun family activities for when kids come home from school and they have that time on the computer.”
Colorado was one of six state Farm Bureaus that were recognized for outstanding financial support of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. The awards were presented during the Flapjack Fundraiser, a pancake breakfast at AFBF’s 92nd annual meeting last week.
State Farm Bureaus receiving the Scholar Award, a new award, are: Alabama, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Indiana and Nebraska. The Scholar Award is given to the six state Farm Bureaus with the highest total donations within their membership levels.
CFB President Don Shawcroft, Vice President Carlyle Currier, delegates Mike Mitchell and Phyllis Snyder capped a successful policy session at the annual American Farm Bureau Federation meeting on Tuesday.
The four successfully argued for policy forwarded to the delegate body by CFB delegates in November. CFB policy in the areas of elected officials, regulatory review and reform pertaining to the EPA, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Immigration was approved by the AFBF delegates.
It was supposed to be one of the biggest and most controversial issues in Farm Bureau policy this year. The showdown between states that supported the elimination of direct payments and those that favored keeping them was supposed to take up much time on the delegate floor.
Except that’s not what happened.
The much anticipated squabble over direct payments never really developed. The discussion passed quickly with most delegates in favor of keeping them in the mix of farm programs in the next farm bill. The delegates easily passed a resolution that called for ” a strong and effective safety net that consists of direct payments, crop insurance, and a simplified ACRE program.”
While the delegates refused to pull their support for direct payments, they did pass a policy stating that farmers must purchase crop insurance if they wish to be eligible for farm program benefits.
Yuma County Farm Bureau authored Colorado’s policy rejecting direct payments. President Nathan Weathers is not pleased with the short shrift given to that position as the delegate session.
“I’m really disappointed,” he said. “I think we missed a great opportunity to show both politicians and the public that we are committed to doing out part in helping to climb out of debt.”
Weathers says he heard from many producers at the Annual Meeting that still did not see the negative light that commodity payments put farmers and ranchers in.
“I heard so many people tell me that they ‘weren’t giving up their government payments’ I couldn’t believe it,” he said.
Iowa and Colorado Farm Bureau were two states that favored the elimination of the payments. Most southern suggested retaining them.
When you take a big-picture view of the philosophies that are affecting environmental legislation and policy in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world, something really sticks out, said Robert Gordon, senior advisor for strategic outreach for the Heritage Foundation, speaking at an issues conference at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 92nd annual meeting.
The basic, underlying rationale driving much of the policymaking is that human beings are a blight on the Earth, and that the only way to preserve the planet is to make sure people are actively prevented from using resources, Gordon said. Otherwise, or so this viewpoint dictates, humans will inevitably “degrade and destroy those resources.”
But what should also stick out, he said, is that this rationale is deeply flawed.
Asserting that the Environmental Protection Agency is “implementing an aggressive regulatory program that burdens the nation’s farmers and ranchers,” delegates at the American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting today urged Congress to “pursue vigorous oversight” of the agency.
They cited a recent expansion in EPA regulatory actions aimed at agriculture that ignores farmers’ and ranchers’ “positive contributions to environmental protection.”
In a surprise visit to the AFBF Annual Meeting, Ag Secretary Vilsack drew applause from the nation’s farmers and ranchers when he commented on his departments goals for the deregulation of Roundup Ready Alfalfa.
He said, “We’re trying to figure out, as difficult as it might be, is there a way in which we can assure that we have less interference with the capacity for folks to do what they want to do on their land? If you want to grow GMO crops you ought to be able to do that. If you want to grow identity preserved conventional you ought to be able to do that. If you want to be an organic farmer you ought to be able to do that.”
Vilsack also commented on the importance of estate tax reform in the recently passed tax extenders legislation.
Asked if he would consider being a “spokesperson” for agriculture, Mike “Dirty Jobs” Rowe said, “I don’t think American agriculture needs a spokesman, I think they need an advocate. And the advocates I believe they need are people like me who have shown a long term addiction to chewing and swallowing.”
Mike was the keynote speaker at the 2011 AFBF Annual Meeting in Atlanta. During his address Mike told those in attendance that agriculture is “doing it right,” and that the industry just needs to keep telling consumers that. He said that he feels the best way he can help is to keep visiting with farmers and ranchers and introduce them to the American people.
He drew applauds from the crowd when he said when he talked about letters he has received from groups like PETA and federal agencies like EPA over programs that featured agriculture jobs.
If you would like to listed to the audio of the press conference Mike gave with ag reporters before his address, go here.
Despite the city of Atlanta being shut down because of a few inches of snow, the AFBF Annual Meeting is plugging along. Several of the Annual Meeting Blog’s guest bloggers have posted their thoughts on the snow. A few of their thoughts on the weather are posted below.
Tricia Braid is the Director of Communications at the Illinois Corn Growers Association.
Hoping to hail a cab today in Atlanta? Umm…you’re out of luck.
Think you’ll catch the bus? Think again.
I carried and drug my luggage over a mile today so I could make it back to the AFBF Annual Meeting! And I’m not alone.
American Farm Bureau Federation President used his annual address to Farm Bureau members this morning to deliver some very spirited messages to the members in attendance (click to listen):
American agriculture is more productive than ever and is producing more with less.
• At a time when agriculture’s environmental footprint is shrinking, we are facing more regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency.
• AFBF will ask Congress to bring new scrutiny to EPA actions.
• AFBF will soon file suit against EPA water regulations.
• America’s agricultural diversity is what makes our nation’s love affair with food possible. America’s farmers have reason to celebrate foodie culture.
• Family-based agriculture – done by those who have the most pride, investment and personal connection to the hard work of farming and ranching remains the best way to meet the quality and quantity demands we face.
• Critics of modern agriculture cherry pick facts and embrace spin to weave compelling, emotional fables.
• The new U.S. Farm and Ranch Alliance is bringing a new level of unity to today’s agriculture.
• The effort (Alliance) is not about any form of antagonism or hostility toward consumers. It is clearly aimed as a counterbalance to those who are hell-bent on misleading consumers.
“Through Farm Bureau, we will uphold the honor and dignity of our profession, the character of our industry and the success of our nation.
“Together, we will produce results.”
State Farm Bureaus were recognized for excellence in membership achievement and for implementing outstanding programs serving Farm Bureau members in 2010. American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman presented the awards during AFBF’s 92nd annual meeting.
The Awards for Excellence and the President’s Awards were presented to Colorado in four of the five program areas.
- Leadership Development- Chad Vorthmann
- Member Services- Richard Connell
- Policy Implementation Crystal Korrey
- Public Relations and Information- Shawn Martini
The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 92nd annual meeting, with the theme “Producing Results,” kicks off in Atlanta at the Georgia World Congress Center on Friday.
Anyone not able to attend the meeting may keep up with events right here on The Pulse. We will be bringing you the highlights of the proceedings in Atlanta. For more in depth coverage, check out the Voice of Agriculture website, www.fb.org. News from the meeting also will be available on AFBF’s Facebook page and by following @farmbureau on the microblogging website Twitter, www.twitter.com.