Farmers, ranchers and agricultural leaders from across Arkansas will come together for Arkansas Farm Bureau’s 82nd annual convention, set for Nov. 30-Dec. 2 at the Hot Springs Convention Center, Hot Springs, Ark.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Vilonia’s Taylor McNeel, who just completed a year as president of the National FFA, humorist Shawn Hammontree, and Arkansas Farm Bureau President Randy Veach headline the speakers for the convention.
Country music artist Barrett Baber, a top three finisher in the 2015 season of NBC’s The Voice, will perform at the convention.
A panel hosted by political analyst Roby Brock and insiders Jessica Sabin and Bill Vickery will also be a part of the convention, which is expected to attract more than 1,000 farmers and ranchers.
The convention’s theme, “Our Common Ground,” is intended to highlight the areas where the organization’s members and Farm Bureau policy create a united voice for Arkansas agriculture. The theme will be reinforced throughout the convention’s three-day run, including several conferences, competitions and special meetings.
Farm Bureau’s annual business session, where voting delegates define the organization’s policy positions on items of importance to Farm Bureau members, will culminate the event. The delegate body also elects the organization’s president and vice president during the business session.
The organization will hold a “pack shack” activity, preparing packages of dried rice and vegetables, each of which can become a meal for eight people. The meals will be available for Farm Bureau leaders to take back to their local food pantries. Leaders hope to package 15,000 meals for delivery throughout the state.
“The business of Farm Bureau is reflective of the issues affecting agriculture, our state’s largest business sector,” said Veach, a third-generation farmer from Manila (Mississippi County), who is concluding his eighth year as president of the organization. “We’ll pack a lot into the three days of this convention.
“Our focus will be on the challenges facing farmer and ranchers, and understanding how those concerns will impact agriculture in the future. But we also plan to share our bounty with others through the Pack Shack party and have a little fun, too. We consider Barrett Baber part of the Farm Bureau family, as both his father and brother have worked with the organization, and we are excited to have him perform for our members.”
Special conferences are scheduled to address topics covering livestock, crops, environmental issues, and leadership. Technology, animal welfare, water resources, crop protection and financial planning will also be discussed.
The convention will also feature a trade show for equipment and gear used by farmers and ranchers.
Winners in several different competitions among Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer & Rancher members will also be highlighted. Awards will be presented to county Farm Bureaus for their work in support of the organization’s agricultural advocacy and membership efforts, along with recognition for ArFB’s Ag in the Classroom teacher of the year, the ag education instructor of the year and its digital “agvocate” of the year. The top county Farm Bureau women’s program and Sew with Cotton contest winners will be named and the organization will recognize the recipient of the Stanley E. Reed Leadership Award.
Arkansas Farm Bureau is a private advocacy organization of more than 190,000 families throughout the state working to improve farm and rural life.