January 4, 2018 – SANDY, Utah – Approximately 90 agricultural leaders and Utah Farm Bureau members will be traveling to Nashville, Tennessee to join more than 6,000 other agricultural leaders from around the country at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) 99th 2018 AFBF Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show, January 5-10, 2018.

The Annual Convention is an opportunity for members across the nation to come together for business, educational and networking opportunities. During this meeting delegates selected from across the nation will discuss and adopt policies for the coming year and elect leadership to guide these policies forward.

“This year’s convention will really focus on the theme of uniting agriculture,” said Ron Gibson, President of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation. “As the largest general farm and ranch organization, we know it’s important to bring everyone together – to unite as an industry – so we’re more effective at advocating for issues that impact all of us.”

The convention kicks off Saturday morning with a series of farm management and informational breakout sessions, as well as opening rounds of competitive events for Young Farmers & Ranchers. AFBF President Zippy Duvall will share Farm Bureau’s direction for 2018 with the opening general session Sunday morning.

Donald J. Trump, the 45th president of the United States, will address farm and ranch families from across the nation on Monday as part of the convention’s closing general session.

After three consecutive years of decline in farm sector profits, President Trump will speak to Farm Bureau members during a period of prolonged economic challenge across farm country. Profits have fallen and many farmers have seen declines in equity. Though the Agriculture Department forecasts that farm profits will be relatively stable in 2018, action on key issues on the president’s agenda could help farmers turn the corner as they head into the new year.

“President Trump is fully aware of the economic difficulties farmers and ranchers have gone through these past few years,” Duvall said. “The economic issues he has outlined, including reform of our nation’s tax and regulatory systems, match many of the issues on Farm Bureau’s agenda.”

Iconic entertainer Reba McEntire will join AFBF President Zippy Duvall during the closing General Session on Monday, Jan. 8, for a Q&A keynote touching on her rural roots, family, career and, of course, country music. Reba is no stranger to agriculture—she grew up in rural Oklahoma on her family’s 8,000-acre ranch. 

The Utah Farm Bureau delegation will be hearing issues ranging from the economic outlook for the 2018 crop and livestock markets, managing water availability for the future, exploring the implications of the new political landscape, consumer confidence in agriculture, several biotech and immigration issues, and more.

“Successful farming and ranching in the 21st century involves managing a vast amount of knowledge and information on a day-to-day basis,” Ron Gibson said. “This can be a real challenge, but by attending the national Farm Bureau’s annual meeting in Nashville, Farm Bureau members can cut through the clutter and return home with a better understanding of how all the various issues impact their lives and livelihoods.”

The Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge will also be culminating at the convention. This is the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs with food and agriculture businesses. Rural Entrepreneurs compete for $145,000 in startup funds.Four teams were chosen from 471 applicants – including Albert Wilde from Wilde Valley Farms in Croydon, Utah – and were each awarded $15,000, in addition to advance to the next phase of the challenge.

The final four teams will compete in a live competition on January 7th to win either the Farm Bureau Entrepreneur of the Year award and an additional $15,000 for a total of $30,000 in prize money (chosen by judges), as well as the People’s Choice award and an additional $10,000 for a total of $25,000 in prize money (chosen by public vote).

The Entrepreneur of the Year award and the People’s Choice award will be awarded to two different teams. The team that wins the Entrepreneur of the Year award will not be eligible for the People’s Choice Award. The competition timeline, detailed eligibility guidelines and profiles of past Challenge winners are available at www.strongruralamerica.com/challenge

In addition to the convention, Farm Bureau members will able to attend the IDEAg Trade Show and dozens of workshops covering a variety of topics and issues. Three young Utah farm families will be competing with their counterparts across the country for awards given to the top, young farmers and ranchers in the country. These families will be representing the Cache, Millard, and Sevier County Farm Bureaus. 

For more information please contact Matt Hargreaves, Vice President of Communications for the Utah Farm Bureau Federation, at matt.hargreaves@fbfs.com, or you can follow the convention hashtag at #AFBF18. 

Farm Bureau will be live streaming President Duvall’s annual address and other events at (https://livestream.com/FarmBureau) with sharing links such as Facebook available from this site. We will also provide shareable recorded video streams of selected content from the convention at https://livestream.com.