The Farm Bureau will address critical public policy topics, including water development and distribution, public lands issues such as grazing policies, taxation on food, in-stream flow water rights, food safety, potential expansion of state parks and more.
Additionally, farmers and ranchers will learn about deepening consumer engagement, more effective ways at resolving conflict, adapting ways of reaching out with the message of agriculture’s importance in all Utah communities — large or small.
“We’re really excited about our convention in Layton this year and to kick-off our meeting with such a great lineup of speakers and issues,” said Utah Farm Bureau President Ron Gibson. “This is truly democracy at the grassroots level, with those feeling the impact of state and federal regulations the most having a say in how the rules and laws are created. We’re not just sitting around complaining about our situation. Farm Bureau looks to its heritage of making policy to guide our organization with a vision for the future.”
Thursday’s agenda consists of nominations and elections for the organization’s president, several on the board of directors, and leaders of its three statewide committees. There will also be a live auction luncheon to support Utah Agriculture in the classroom, which provides educators with materials and volunteers to enhance learning in classrooms.
The start of the convention Thursday afternoon will feature comments from Gibson followed by an update of the policy process in Washington, D.C. by Dale Moore, executive director of public policy for the American Farm Bureau Federation. Moore will be followed by a message by Michele Payn on how farmers and ranchers can more effectively connect with consumers, by translating farm to food. Payn is known for being a community catalyst, a passionate advocate for agriculture. She has worked with farmers in more than 25 countries, raised over $5 million in sponsorships for the National FFA Foundation and founded the weekly online Twitter conversations, AgChat and Food Chat.
Friday will feature the resumption of the Farm Bureau delegate session, and a message from retired U.S. Army combat medic and children’s author, Leslie Zimmerman, who was recently featured in former President George W. Bush’s book Portraits of Courage. Zimmerman was one of only 16 service members invited to mountain bike with Bush during the W100k in 2015 and works with ‘Continue Mission’, a Utah-based non-profit organization that serves disabled veterans and their families.
After lunch, there will be two rounds of breakouts, with several sessions being repeated. Presentations will focus on conflict resolution, the balancing act of distributing water to supply a growing population while preserving agriculture’s ability to remain viable economically and how ranchers can maintain access to multiple-use of public lands.
The general session will continue with remarks from Farm Bureau leaders, and a discussion of how farmers and ranchers are being defended in the courts to maintain their rights. Business will conclude with motivating messages of the ‘Miracles’ found every day in agriculture.
Former Congressman Jason Chaffetz will be recognized at the Farm Bureau Gala Banquet Friday evening, receiving the Utah Farm Bureau ‘Friend of Agriculture Award’. The Leopold Conservation Award, which is sponsored by the Sand County Foundation, in partnership with the Utah Farm Bureau Federation, Utah Cattlemen’s Association and Western AgCredit, will also be presented. The award honors the conservation efforts of private landowners in Utah. The outstanding conservationist receives a $10,000 check and Leopold Crystal for their dedication to wise stewardship of Utah’s natural resources.
More information, an agenda, and registration can be obtained by contacting Josie Nielson at the State Farm Bureau office at 801-233-3014 or firstname.lastname@example.org.