It’s a privilege for me to welcome you to the 94th American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting.
The theme of our next annual meeting, in Nashville, Tenn., also known as Music City, is “Many Voices, One Vision.” And I must say that never in my memory have those words been more appropriate than today. American agriculture is more diverse than ever and is working harder to meet consumers’ demand for every kind of food choice one can imagine. Here, at our annual meeting, those diverse voices come together to speak for all of agriculture and ensure that we and our nation remain on a path to productivity, profitability and success.
Our nation’s founding fathers framed a Constitution that established a Democratic republic and has stood the test of time. The founders of Farm Bureau, likewise,formed an organization in which every member is given a voice and policies are guided by grassroots action. Thank you for your leadership to continue our long tradition of grassroots policy development and advocacy on behalf of our nation’s farmers, ranchers and rural families.
Tennessee’s state motto is “Agriculture and Commerce,” and its slogan is “the Volunteer State.” So I think it is fitting that an organization driven by volunteer leaders is meeting in Nashville to set the course for our industry’s prosperity and our organization’s continued strength.
We have a wonderful annual meeting planned with plenty of opportunities for fun, learning, motivation and inspiration for agriculture. I look forward to seeing everyone, and I wish you an enjoyable and productive annual meeting.
President, American Farm Bureau Federation
Welcome back to the great state of Tennessee. We have hosted the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting several times, and we’re proud to be the host state for the 94th annual meeting in January 2013.
While you’re in Nashville and, I hope, seeing other parts oft he state during your visit, you’ll hear about things like “hot chicken” and “meat and three.” If you don’t know what these are, the friendly folks here will be glad to explain.
You’ll find that our state is diverse. We have every kind of topography from the mountains in the east to the lowlands and cypress swamps of the west. We honor our past with museums like the Hermitage, home of Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States. And we look to our future with cutting-edge research in the life sciences at St. Jude Children’s Hospital, in energy at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and in biotechnology, engineering, genetic research and other fields at our universities and private labs. We’re known for country music, and rightly so, but Tennessee also has a rich heritage of blues and jazz.
We have four full seasons, city and open country,world-class universities and down-home common sense.
In the last two years we’ve experienced floods and, more recently, drought. And yet, our state remains agriculturally productive, with products ranging from cattle and poultry, corn and soybeans to cotton, greenhouse plants and tomatoes. And as important as agriculture is to our state,generating more than $3 billion a year in cash receipts, we’re also No. 1 in auto manufacturing, with Volkswagen and Nissan assembly plants and supporting industries located here.
Can you tell I’m proud of my state? We’ve got a lot going on. I hope you get a good sense of that while you’re here. But, most of all, I hope you feel welcome, because we’re mighty glad to have you.
Enjoy your time in the Volunteer State! As Minnie Pearl would have put it, “We’re just so proud you are coming back!”
–Lacy Upchurch (Tennessee)
Farm Bureau Women from across the country are gathering in Tennessee this coming January to share ideas and programs with all Farm Bureau members. There will be a Recognition Luncheon and a women's business meeting along with many exciting, educational workshops and general sessions for everyone. Annual Meeting is the "family reunion" time for Farm Bureau members to come together to take care of business, renew friendships, learn about the issues that we all face and what we can do about them, take the opportunity to see agriculture in Tennessee and continue to find ways to tell our own story of Agriculture. Hope to see you in Tennessee!
–Terry Gilbert (Kentucky)
–Glen Cope (Missouri)
|© 2007 Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation|