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Reflections of my first AFBF Annual Convention, part II

By Carla Lawrence, Carbon/Stillwater County Farm Bureau

Don't miss Part 1 of Carla's American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention recap here. This week was jam-packed with ideas and great experiences for Montana's Farm Bureau family!

Leadership Luncheon


Several Montana members attended the Leadership Luncheon following the opening ceremony.  The keynote speaker for the luncheon was Matt Lohr.  Matt spoke about “Your Strongest Link.”

  • Embrace your story through heritage: traditions, achievements, beliefs that are a part of your history. That part of history that is handed down from generation to generation.

  • Tell your story: Communicating the proper message, a clear and concise message to both rural and urban folks. Fight misinformation.

  • Be persistent in your journey: when dealing with difficult situations it is how you respond that matters and your ability to overcome that difficult situation. Life is not Fair, so rise to the occasion with faith, family and friends, let them help you in your struggles. Be Resilient.

  • Keep your faith, no matter what happens, remember you are part of a bigger plan


IDEAg Trade Show/Major Sponsors



The trade does not open one second before the schedules time, in this case 4 p.m. on Saturday.  And when it does, it is worth the wait.  It is a massive room with equipment and major sponsors from all over the nation and a few international.  It brings the participants and exhibitors together with educational events and food and drink and the sharing of knowledge and what is in the future for Agriculture.

I could not help but notice the major sponsors that are a large part of the entire event:

  • DuPont, Nationwide, Pioneer, Case, Farm Credit, Chevrolet, American Agriculture Insurance Company, John Deere, ADM, Monsanto, Farm Bureau Bank, Dow AgriSciences, sygenta, STIHL, Farm Bureau Financial Services, CAT and Farm Bureau insurance as well as other local sponsors.


Closing General Session sponsored by Nationwide



Again, during the closing session the state sat together, and Montana staff was able to secure us great seats toward the front and off to the left of the stage. The reason this is important is because of who the featured speakers were at the closing session, Peyton and Archie Manning.

Peyton Manning and his father, Archie Manning, were a perfect way to close out AFBF convention.  Archie was introduced and walked across the stage first, followed by Peyton.  Both received well deserved standing ovations at the start and the end of the interview.  They were engaging and funny, soft spoken and humble when they answered questions about their family life, their NFL careers, philanthropy and how playing professional football parallels the life of a farmer or rancher.

It was not hard to tell they were son and father, as Peyton lovely referred to Dad several times during the interview.  Their mannerisms, facial expressions, and voices, are very similar, one in a younger or older version of the other. They were even dressed similar, in a version of a plaid sports coat, brown to tan slacks, and shirts in blue, one in tiny stripes and the other in tiny checkered print.  Neither would commit to predicting who would win the Super Bowl this year but in their soft mannered approach answered the question without answering the question.  It was a great 30 minutes and I wished it could have gone on longer. 

Reoccurring themes throughout convention 



There were reoccurring themes throughout the week:

  • UNITE

  • Faith, Family, Friends and Farming

  • AFBF is one big family

  • Leadership and being an Advocate for Agriculture

  • Working with local, state and national legislators and decision makers to put Agriculture in the fore front

  • Sustainability – from the ag producers perspective, not from the special interest groups

  • Education of youth, educating urbanites

  • Farm Bureau Proud

  • Celebrating grassroots

  • Standing up against overregulation

  • Volunteerism


I would like to thank the Carbon/Stillwater County Farm Bureau and the Montana Farm Bureau for their support making it possible for me to attend my first American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention. I appreciate their support very much. I would encourage members who have not attended this event to put it on this “Things to Do List.”  It is a rewarding experience.