LITTLE ROCK — Farm and ranch leaders from across the state will come together Dec. 4-6 for Arkansas Farm Bureau’s 85th annual convention, set for the Marriott Hotel and the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall of Georgia and ArFB President Randy Veach headline the speakers for the event. Veach is not seeking reelection, after serving for the past 11 years as the organization’s president and with 20 years of service on the state board of directors.
Other featured speakers for the event include Delaney Howell, host of Iowa Public Television’s Market to Market program, and comedian Taylor Mason.
The event is expected to attract about 1,200 farmers and ranchers and will include a trade show that features vendors of farm services, equipment and supplies.
The convention’s theme, “Let’s Get Growing,” will be reinforced with workshops that include topics such international trade, precision agriculture, feral hogs, animal disease traceability, leadership development and the marketing of farm commodities.
Farm Bureau’s annual business session, where voting delegates define the organization’s policy positions on items of importance to its members, will conclude the event. The delegate body also elects the organization’s president and vice president.
“It is always exciting when the leaders of Arkansas’ largest industry come together,” said Veach, a third-generation farmer from Manila (Mississippi County). “To see those dedicated volunteers embrace the mission of this organization is both inspiring and gratifying.
“Arkansas Farm Bureau was founded in 1935 to be the voice of agriculture in Arkansas. It is through the action of those who will gather from every part of Arkansas that our collective voice gains strength. I have felt that grassroots power very clearly over the past 11 years as president.
“It is the appropriate time for new leadership to step up and guide the meaningful and honorable work of the Farm Bureau.”
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 of ArFB’s winners in its Young Farmer & Rancher competitions and recipients of its statewide Ag Education awards. The organization will also recognize the recipient of the Stanley E. Reed Leadership Award, given annually to an active Farm Bureau member, 36 to 45 years old, for outstanding leadership within their county Farm Bureau and community.
Arkansas Farm Bureau is the state’s largest agricultural advocacy group, working to improve farm and rural life. With more than 190,000 member families, ArFB represents roughly 1 in 4 Arkansans.