Kris Descheemaeker and her husband Dennis farm and ranch with their family east of Lewistown. Kris is currently serving on the Montana Farm Bureau Federation's board of directors. She attended the American Farm Bureau's annual convention this winter.

Dennis and I don’t take the time to go on vacation very often, unless said vacation involves something to do with the industry in which we make our living.  This was the case with our recent five-day trip to Austin Texas for the American Farm Bureau convention.

One of my Farm Bureau friends had made an off-hand comment at the Montana Farm Bureau convention that it would be fun to go to Austin to the American Farm Bureau convention.  After convention I called her up and asked how serious she was about going. The next thing we knew we had tickets booked,called Montana Farm Bureau to get us registered and were set to visit the great city of Austin.

We left Montana on the 17th of January with -4 temps and the wind blowing. We landed in Austin to find temps in the 40’s.  The first thing Dennis did when we got to the motel was to get out of his tee shirt and long johns. Then we went to find food. Austin has great food!

I love seeing the culture of the big cities. It is so different from what we see in Montana. Sixth Street downtown Austin certainly has culture! Lots of music, food and bars. It’s not every day you see a person with a chicken (yes, it was live) roosting on his head. 

Montana Farm Bureau membersFarm Bureau also has a culture, but this culture is one I am familiar with. Our policy, which drives the organization, comes from the producer at the local Farm Bureau’s through the state organizations to the American Farm Bureau. Montana is one of the smaller states membership wise, but we can foster coalitions with other states to get our policy accepted into the American policy book. 

The convention culture is very familiar too. Our Montana convention follows the same format. Workshops, trade show, policy development, key note speakers and lots of networking among those attending.  Although I doubt we would ever get the President of the United States to our Montana convention. 

Seeing President Trump, and hearing his positive message gives us hope for the future of our children and grandchildren carrying on the farming and ranching tradition. It is the third year in a row that President Trump has attended the AFBF convention. Attending along with the President were Sen. Pat Roberts, Kansas and Sec. of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue who addressed convention attendees at the closing ceremonies.   

American Farm Bureau presented Sen. Roberts with the Distinguished Service Award. Roberts will be retiring from the Senate after 31 years of service to his state of Kansas and the nations farmers with his work in the Senate agriculture committee. The Distinguished Service Award is the oldest award given by AFBF having started in 1928. 

I will leave you with a couple of quotes from convention. Texas Department of Agriculture, commissioner Sid Miller, said, “Without agriculture, we would be hungry, naked and sober!” and Sec. Sonny Perdue reminded us to “Speak out loudly and proudly about the Agriculture story.”

Dennis and I enjoyed our time at the AFBF convention and even had time to do a day of site seeing at the Capitol in Austin.