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AFBF: National Policy & Leadership Elections

National policy to help Texas cotton farmers and the election of a new president “excited about working for the Lone Star State” highlighted the recent American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting.

Cottonseed Eligibility
AFBF voting delegates approved policy submitted by the Texas Farm Bureau that supports efforts to make cottonseed eligible for farm safety net programs. The issue, a major discussion among voting delegates, centered on whether cottonseed should stand alone as an eligible commodity.

“We had good policy discussion,” TFB President Russell Boening says. “We now have some good policy, we think, in the book for cottonseed and cotton farmers.”

Farmers from Texas and several other cotton-growing states spoke in favor of the resolution. “It’s a critical time for cotton growers, and we can’t wait until the next Farm Bill. This is something we need in place now,” TFB state director and cotton farmer Dan Smith told delegates.

Other National Issues
The Texas delegation also submitted and passed policy changes to Risk Management Agency qualifications of a beginning farmer. National policy now supports RMA qualifications coinciding with the USDA Farm Service Agency qualifications of 10 years for special crop insurance considerations. Voting delegates approved TFB’s policy supporting permanent inspections for imported livestock on the U.S. side adjacent to the border. “As violence increases in Mexico, relocating cattle inspectors to the U.S. for their safety and protection is paramount,” Boening says.

Delegates also supported voluntary risk management products for poultry producers and reaffirmed their support for fair and open trade that benefits agriculture. Farm Bureau policy supports Federal Aviation Administration registration, as well as developing flight limits, certificate and standards of use for drones.

Leadership Elections
Zippy Duvall of Georgia was elected to serve as the new AFBF president and Scott VanderWal of South Dakota as vice president. Duvall is a poultry, cattle and forage producer from Greene County, Ga. He has served as president of the Georgia Farm Bureau for nine years and held several leadership positions in Farm Bureau and his community. “I’m excited about working for the Lone Star State, and I look forward to getting back down there to visit,” Duvall says.

Texas Farm Bureau contributed this article.