Filed under: Ag education, Ag promotion, Farm, Farm Bureau, friends, Music, travel | Tags: AFBF, Agriculture education, american farm bureau federation, farm, Farm Bureau, friends, meeting, Nashville, Opryland Hotel, travel
We made the trip to Nashville for this years Annual Meeting. Since my sister lives just south of the city it was a dual event. Our weather started out really nice, and then went cold and rainy. Wish we could have brought some of that rain home.
Site of the meeting was the Opryland Hotel. It’s a huge place with 2881 rooms and 15 restaurants on 6 floors. Because of continued expansion and no understandable structural layout the hotel is bit confusing. Each hotel area has a central garden area that is really stunning, with each different in many ways. The attached convention area was also a bit confusing so keeping a map within reach was really helpful if you were going someplace new. They said we had almost every room in the place booked for Farm Bureau members.
Sunday morning started out for us with a Minnesota breakfast at 7:30 gathering. It was a place to get to see most of the folks who made the trip from Minnesota. It was also a chance for President Paap and his staff to give us our tasks for the event. Since I’m not known to be shy, I was assigned 4 radio stations to call back in Minnesota at specific times.
After breakfast we gathered for the opening session. Along with many awards and introductions of important people we all needed to know, we had an address from AFBF President Bob Stallman. Bob talked about the challenges and triumphs of the past year. Included in those challenges was the lack of a Farm Bill in the U.S. congress. This lack of a farm bill leaves a lot of uncertainty for all involved in agriculture. He also addressed some disturbing government regulations that we were able to stop. These included a regulation that would have prevented farm folks from employing their children on the farm, and threatened regulations on a small chicken producer that would have forced them to get a pollution discharge permit when nothing was being discharged.
We also got to spend some time at the trade show where they had displays from each state showing what they were doing to promote agriculture, as well as displays from several agricultural companies. We had our choice of seminars put on by companies and the Farm Bureau. I got to meet some old friends and make some new ones along the way. The evening was free to spend as we wished.
Monday included more seminars and demonstrations in both the morning and the afternoon. At noon I joined other county presidents for a luncheon and a speaker. Our closing session started at 3 in the afternoon and included more awards and contest winners. We also heard from U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack who spoke of the optimism he has for the future of agriculture. The real highlight of the day was Keynote Speaker Captain Mark Kelly. He had a great story to tell.That was the end of the sessions for the general public. Tuesday brought the delegate session and regional caucuses, wednesday was the AFBF Board of Directors meeting, none of which I attended.
With the rainy and cold weather, the rest of our time was mainly spent indoors checking out area attractions including one night spent in a country music bar, we just had to check out Vince Gill and It was a fun and restful trip, but it is good to be back home.
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