LITTLE ROCK — Farmers, ranchers and agricultural leaders from across the state will come together for Arkansas Farm Bureau’s 84th annual convention set for Nov. 28-30 at the Hot Springs Convention Center.


USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney, Regional Administrator for EPA’s South Central Region, Anne L. Idsal, comedian Ed Wiley and Arkansas Farm Bureau President Randy Veach headline the speakers for the convention. Stephanie Payne with I’m Alive 2 Thrive will serve as keynote speaker for the Women’s Leadership luncheon that is planned as part of the convention.


The event is expected to attract more than 1,000 farmers and ranchers and will include a trade show that features vendors of farm services, equipment and supplies.


The convention’s theme, “Empower Your Grassroots,” will be reinforced through workshops that include topics such as engaging the public, leadership, effective advocacy communication and legislative session previews, along with discussions that cover management and profitability for livestock, row crop and specialty crop producers.


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 encouraging to see leaders across Arkansas – from every county and segment of agriculture – who want to empower and be an effective part of Farm Bureau,” said Veach, a third-generation farmer from Manila (Mississippi County). “Empowering our grassroots will help support the future of family farms as well as Farm Bureau.


“Plus, the business of Farm Bureau is one of the most inspiring parts of our state convention. The policies we adopt are the result of a grassroots effort that includes input from all over the state. These policy positions will guide us as we advocate on behalf of the men and women of agriculture and rural Arkansas.”


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 Ag in the Classroom Teacher of the Year, the Ag Education Instructor of the Year and the Young Farmer & Rancher Discussion Meet. The organization will also recognize the recipient of the Stanley E. Reed Leadership Award.


Arkansas Farm Bureau is a private advocacy organization of more than 192,000 families throughout the state working to improve farm and rural life.