Duvall also noted that Farm Bureau has worked at the state and national levels to represent farmers on environmental issues, speaking out against overreaching and burdensome U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations regarding dust, water and endangered species.

“An appointed government bureaucrat in Washington, D.C., will never know the importance of a clean environment like the farmer does, because we’re the ones that actually live on the land; we have more to lose than anyone else,” Duvall said.  “Farmers have no intention to poison their own families. Farmers simply want to make a living without excessive government intervention into our livelihoods.”

Duvall discussed the upcoming farm bill, saying Farm Bureau would support a mirror image of the 2008 farm bill if it were possible, because it has succeeded in providing Americans with a safe and abundant food supply, while helping farmers, but recognized the current budget crisis would likely require a much different farm bill.

“Things have changed since the 2008 farm bill was negotiated,” Duvall said. “Congress is taking a more serious look at the federal budget, and that is a difficult process. Nothing points that out more than the recent failure of the Super Committee to come to a budget agreement. That lack of consensus will make agreement on the 2012 farm bill difficult as well, but Farm Bureau will continue to be there to make your voice heard during the farm bill deliberations.”

Duvall also described the efforts Farm Bureau has made to fight metal theft, as increasing numbers of farmers in recent years have had copper wiring stripped from irrigation pivots and farm buildings by thieves.

“This year we worked with a coalition of public utilities, law enforcement, general contractors, recyclers and others to raise awareness of this growing problem. We printed copies of a Metals Compliance and Prosecution Guide to educate victims and law enforcement about how to bring a case against metal thieves. We also hosted meetings with law enforcement and recyclers as we seek more effective ways to reduce the crime of metal theft.”

Duvall commended Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black for his visionary approach to restructuring the Georgia Agriculture Department.

“Gary and I have a strong relationship and our beliefs are united in doing whatever we can to help farmers in this great state. Many of you witnessed an example of the partnership as you visited the new Georgia Agriculture Building at Sunbelt Expo.”

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black also addressed the convention attendees during the general session of the Dec. 5 proceedings. Black, who served as president of the Georgia Agribusiness Council for 21 years before being elected commissioner of agriculture last year, delivered a speech titled "30 years, 30 weeks, 30 days and 30 minutes."

Black, who coordinated the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer program before moving on to the Agribusiness Council, recognized former members of the GFB Young Farmer Committee who now hold leadership roles in the organization or state government.