By Julie Johansen
Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau President, addressed over 200 members at a luncheon Thursday at Miller’s Landing in Huntington. President Duvall is from Georgia and was elected to this office last January. He has been in agriculture all his life. He started as a dairy farmer and now owns over 750,000 chickens that he sells to Chick-fil-a.
President Duvall made a commitment to attend every invite he received since taking office, and so far has been to 29 states. President Duvall stated that agriculture faces some of the same challenges all over the nation. Utah’s terrain is very different than in the East, mainly we have public lands and they don’t. Many of the issues in the West are foreign to him and in order for him to help in Washington, he feels he needs to tour these different situations.
Farm Bureau has a staff of 19 specialized lobbyists who address farm and ranch issues in Washington D.C. He stated that the strength and power of this organization is its members. When there is a call for action they need members to respond with emails or phone calls. This is the power of the organization. “It won’t happen if you just pay your $65 dues and wait, they need your voice,” he pleaded with the group.
President Duvall illustrated the power of the organization by stating that following his election he received phone calls from Ben Carson and Donald Trump, then candidates for president, congratulating him and wanting the organization to support their cause.
He wanted to know what he could do for the members in Castle Country. His philosophy is, “Sow a seed and change a life.” Some seeds will take root and change your life, others will not. “If anything is worth doing it will require sacrifice,” he said.
Utah Farm Bureau President Ron Gibson then told the audience that they would entertain any questions. Questions on the future monuments in Utah, wild horses increasing in numbers, EPA lawsuits, corporate advocacies, depressed prices on commodities, water rights and farm labor were discussed. Once again both President Duvall and President Gibson told of the state and national Farm Bureau involvement in these issues. They both called for member involvement in educating their families and neighbors. More members need to become advocates for agriculture.
His closing statement was, “The thing that we have going for us is that we have heart bred into us and we will survive. We love what we do.”