LITTLE ROCK — More than 500 farm and ranch
leaders will explore “New Fields” July 18-19 through speakers and
workshops at Arkansas Farm Bureau’s 63rd annual Officers and Leaders
Conference. The conference will be at the Hot Springs Convention
The conference serves as a training and information event for local Farm Bureau leaders.
“Keeping our leaders educated and abreast of current issues
is a key component of the Officers and Leaders Conference,” said Randy
Veach, Arkansas Farm Bureau president. “The conference also gives our
leaders the opportunity to learn from one another.”
The conference has several additional activities, including
keynote speaker Rulon Gardner, Olympic gold medalist in Greco-Roman
wrestling and Biggest Loser contestant. Gardner will share his story about overcoming adversity.
Entertainment for the conference will be provided by the band Exit 123.
Several conference workshops will be available, including:
Food Security / Farm Bill. In this
workshop, Mary Kay Thatcher, senior director of congressional
relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation will discuss the
challenges agriculture faces as it moves toward writing the 2012 farm
bill and the priorities of the American Farm Bureau.
Labor / Immigration. State legislatures continue
to struggle with immigration issues. Employment,
identification/driver’s licenses and law enforcement remain top
areas of interest for immigrant-related bills. This workshop will
discuss the current status of labor and immigration in Arkansas.
Policy Development. This workshop will focus on
policy development and how counties can rejuvenate their efforts.
You will also learn about the procedure, pitfalls and best
practices of policy development. Pick up ideas about revitalizing
work on the county level, infusing policy with fresh ideas and
making the most of resources available. Also, share with your fellow
leaders what works in your county while picking their brains about
the challenges faced in the policy-development process.
Telling Agriculture’s Story. This
workshop will cut through the abstract and examine some of the new
tools Arkansas Farm Bureau is using to tell the farm story. More
importantly, we’ll show you how to use the tools in your own
State Water Plan / Mineral Issues. Water
quantity and quality have been growing issues throughout Arkansas.
The 88th General Assembly prioritized the State Water Plan,
funding the start of a review process, and considered numerous
proposals dealing with water usage and concerns in the
Fayetteville Shale natural gas production area. Our speakers are
directly involved in these matters and will discuss what's going
on presently and what might happen in the future.