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New York Farm Bureau has Successful AFBF National Convention


NYFB President Reelected to National AFBF Board of Directors and NYFB Member has the Farm Dog of the Year

New York Farm Bureau members participated in the virtual American Farm Bureau Federation 102nd Annual Meeting January 10-14 that included numerous policy and member successes for the state organization.

NYFB President David Fisher was reelected to another one-year term on the national AFBF board of directors. Fisher, a dairy farmer in Madrid, NY, will represent the Northeastern states on the board. This is his second term after first being elected last January by caucus delegates.

NYFB was also honored with all four Awards of Excellence for outstanding programming in Advocacy; Engagement and Outreach; Leadership and Business Development; and Membership Value.

“New York Farm Bureau has a proud tradition of success at our national convention, a testament to our talented and thoughtful members and staff who have a passion for agriculture. I look forward to continuing to represent our farmers at the national level, advocating for our diverse agricultural needs here in New York,” said President Fisher.

The national Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year went to a five-year-old Australian shepherd from New York named Bindi. She is owned by Otsego County Farm Bureau member, Sonja Galley. The award comes with a $5,000 prize along with a year’s supply of dog food and products from award sponsor Purina. A video that played during the awards ceremony highlighted Bindi’s herding ability on Galley’s dairy farm.

“It’s an honor to have Bindi named Farm Dog of the Year and to represent New York agriculture in this unique way.  I’m so excited to be able to highlight how purpose bred dogs still have a valuable place on today’s farm,” said Galley. “Bindi isn’t sure what all the fuss is about, but she sure does appreciate all the dog treats!  I’ll forever be grateful to the judges who saw our story as worthy of the farm dog title, and to Farm Bureau and Purina for sponsoring this award.”

Jill Gould and her business, Butter Meat Co. in Perry, NY also found success at the convention. The business was named a semi-finalist in the Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge receiving a $7,500 prize. The contest is a national business competition that showcases U.S. startups developing innovative solutions that address challenges facing America’s farmers, ranchers and rural communities.

Butter Meat Co. is a beef supply chain startup based in Western New York working to improve the value proposition of retired dairy cows as beef for farmers and consumers. Their mission is to build a dairy beef brand that increases the farm gate value and offers customers differentiated flavorful beef eco-consciously. Gould opened a storefront in Perry, supplies local restaurants and expanded to online and curbside sales.

Martha Hilton represented NYFB as the state’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Excellence in Agriculture Award winner. She is president of Ontario County Farm Bureau and is the Vice President of Produce and Floral for Wegmans Food Markets. Hilton is a graduate of Cornell University, the United Fresh Class 25, and LEAD NY. She and her husband Ryan have a swine operation in addition to Ryan’s work on his family’s dairy farm.  

The Excellence in Agriculture Award recognizes young farmers and ranchers who do not derive the majority of their income from an agricultural operation, but who actively contribute and grow through their involvement in agriculture, leadership ability and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations.

During the annual convention’s business session, AFBF delegates established public policy positions for the organization, including passing several that originated through NYFB’s grassroots policy development process aimed at better positioning farmers for the future.

Among those proposed by NYFB delegates and passed include a change to AFBF’s national dairy policy supporting a change to bloc voting that would require cooperatives to give notice to members of their intended vote and the member's right to opt out of that vote and vote independently and confidentially.

Other additions that originated in New York include support of increased funding for USDA programs with specific attention to easing access for farm families and those inheriting family farms as well as to increasing the racial diversity of farmland ownership. Support for funding to address the recruitment and training for new USDA meat inspectors to replace those who are retiring, and for the USDA to have better price collection and price series information on specialty crops. Finally, there was approval of an NYFB resolution that technical and monetary assistance should be given to farmers to help facilitate online SNAP sales and streamline the requirements to be able to collect SNAP benefits.

For more information on policy development and convention events, please visit www.fb.org.