By Matt de Simone
Two weeks ago, Botetourt County resident Rose Jeter attended the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) 101st Annual Convention in Austin, Texas. Jeter represented the state of Virginia, finishing in the top-10 amongst the qualifiers for the 2019 Young Farmers and Ranchers Achievement Award. The award recognizes young farmers and ranchers who exhibit achievements in agriculture.
“It was an honor to represent the state at a national level with American Farm Bureau,” Jeter said. “Virginia did pretty amazing. We had a runner-up in the Achievement Award, a winner in the Discussion Meet category, and I placed in the top-10 in the Achievement in Agriculture category.”
Farm Bureau’s annual convention is not only a hub to announce awards in achievement but also a place for new national policies to take hold. The AFBF’s mission is being a voice in all facets of agriculture from grain farmers and livestock to niche products. Their governmental relations department will take all the policies brought forth and work to implement them at their general assembly. The bureau also work on professional development opportunities through seminars which present farmers and ranchers the opportunity to network with others from across the country.
Jeter explained one of the main purposes of the annual convention. “Farm Bureau is very much a grass roots organization. Counties surface policies. Then those policies go to the state level. If it becomes a state policy, then it moves onto the American level at the National Convention. The contests are a way to highlight the young farmers and ranchers ages 18-35.”
The convention puts together sessions for the contestants to meet and discuss issues and policies. They have an opportunity to learn from other farmers and ranchers to get a better prospective on how to better the agriculture industry nationally.
“Virginia is well-supported. Not every state enjoys that in so many ways. That’s one thing I took away from the convention—how blessed we are to have all these opportunities in Virginia,” Jeter explained.
Jeter is no longer eligible for the Young Farmers and Ranchers Achievement Award. However, Jeter will continue to be involved with the AFBF and the continued work with Virginia’s agriculture being a volunteer and advocate for the bureau.