The Arizona Farm Bureau Delegation was part of the farmer and rancher delegates to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 104th Convention that recently adopted policies to guide the national organization’s work in 2023. Key topics ranged from expanding risk management programs and improving dairy pricing transparency to battling hunger.

Arizona Farm Bureau President Stefanie Smallhouse stood up to speak on behalf of the dairy industry out west and highlight some of the distinctions with our larger dairies. 

Delegates were polled regarding their farms at the beginning of the voting session. The results show almost 99% (334 delegates) of those who cast votes operate family farms and almost 65% represent small- to mid-size farms as defined by USDA. 

“Delegates demonstrated the strength of Farm Bureau by coming together to represent hard-working farm families from all 50 states and Puerto Rico,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “There’s a lot of work to do in 2023 as Congress drafts the next farm bill, and the policies set forth today will guide AFBF as we work to ensure farmers and ranchers can continue to meet the growing needs of families in America and around the world.”

Delegates to the American Farm Bureau business meeting voted to modernize the farm bill by expanding baseline funding, developing more flexible disaster relief programs and extending protection to more specialty crops.

They also voted to bring more transparency to the federal milk pricing system. Several changes to policy include support for more USDA audits of processing costs to ensure data remains accurate, and a Federal Milk Marketing Orders voting procedure that requires cooperatives to communicate more clearly with members regarding proposed changes. The results of an FMMO forum hosted by AFBF in October served as a guidepost for policy changes.

Recognizing growing food insecurity in the United States, delegates approved new policy to support access to nutrition programs including connecting farms directly with food banks, increasing the number of SNAP-approved food sales outlets, and other efforts to make produce available to families living in food deserts.

On trade, delegates added policy for USDA to continue working with the Mexican government to drop a proposed ban on imports of biotech corn. The new policy also encourages USDA to urge the Mexican government to accept established science on the safety of U.S. biotech products.

Voting delegates also formalized Farm Bureau’s position opposing the 2022 Waters of the U.S. rule and a proposed Securities and Exchange Commission rule if it requires Scope 3 emissions reporting from farms.

Beyond policy changes, delegates also elected members to serve on the AFBF board of directors and national program committees.

Fifteen state Farm Bureau presidents were re-elected to two-year terms to represent their regions on the board including Arizona Farm Bureau President Stefanie Smallhouse and California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson for the Western Region.

National Program Committees

For the Women’s Leadership Committee Shawn Wood of Arizona (Western Region) was re-elected to a two-year term.

Editor’s Note: Registered attendees may view selected workshops and sessions on-demand on the convention virtual platform for the next 90 days. Planning for the American Farm Bureau’s 2024 Convention has already begun. Mark your calendar to meet us on January 19-24, 2024, in Salt Lake City, Utah.