February 6, 2004
Stallman hails Farm
In his annual address to Farm Bureau members, American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman said that economic statistics show agriculture is turning the corner toward greater prosperity.
Yet, he told the farmers and ranchers from across the nation that agriculture still faces a number of challenges.
Stallman updated members on one of the most serious challengesthe discovery of one imported cow in Washington state with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
"The good news is that polls are showing America's consumers are continuing to purchase, consume and enjoy American beef," Stallman said. "I am convinced we will overcome any economic falloutone bite at a timeand for that we need to be grateful to the American consumer."
Stallman also outlined key policy issues, such as enacting the energy bill, which promotes greater use of farm-based renewable fuels such as ethanol, biodiesel and wind energy. He urged Farm Bureau members to mobilize in support of the measure, which Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has promised will be the top priority when the Senate returns to work this month.
"We are counting on you in the coming weeks to knock onor knock downa few Senate doors until this energy bill receives the votes for passage it deserves," Stallman told Farm Bureau members.
The Texas rice and cattle producer told Farm Bureau members they also face a challenge in protecting the integrity and funding for programs included in the 2002 farm bill.
"The war for federal farm support was won with the enactment of our farm law, but battles to protect its integrity will continue each year through the annual appropriations and budget process," Stallman said. "AFBF will saddle up and continue to lead the charge on Capitol Hill to ensure a strong, domestic farm policy for all of America's farm and ranch families."
Stallman provided an overview of new Farm Bureau initiatives launched in the past year and stressed the importance of recognizing farmers' contributions to society and working to enact policies to ensure agriculture's future success.
Stallman updated members on the status of several Farm Bureau programs introduced in 2003, including "Harvest For All"a domestic hunger relief effort in conjunction with America's Second Harvest. Through the program, Stallman said America's farmers and ranchers are "working to end hungerone community at a time." Farm Bureau, he said, has "taken the issue of domestic hunger by the horns" believing that "all Americans deserve to share in the bounty that farmers work so hard to produce."
Stallman said Farm Bureau had a successful public policy year in 2003, but added, "we can always do better. Your personal involvement is key," he told members.
Stallman encouraged the farmers and ranchers to continue their thoughtful policy development work on other issues, including: development of Environmental Protection Agency rules on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations; securing rational definitions for areas that should be regulated as wetlands under the Clean Water Act; and winning comprehensive reform of the H-2a farm labor program.
"By working together, we will make sure Farm Bureau continues to be a visible and vocal champion for America's farm and ranch families," Stallman said. "Never before has there been an organization such as ours. And through Farm Bureau, we must and will continue to stand up and speak out for our profession."
Texas Farm Bureau received a bushel basket full of awards for outstanding membership achievement and for implementing stellar programs to serve Farm Bureau members in 2003. Texas Farm Bureau President Kenneth Dierschke (above right) receives accolades from AFBF Vice President Steve Appel at the recent annual meeting. TFB received a Navigator Award for outstanding membership achievement in 2003. Texas ended fiscal year 2003 with a record 371,320 member families while AFBF ended their fiscal year with a record 5,519,795 member families. TFB also received Awards for Excellence in the maximum of five areas for education and agricultural promotion, leadership development, member services, policy implementation and public relations.
S.M. True honored