Noting that deliberations are expected to begin for the 2012 farm bill, Haney warned that farmers "might have to make do with less" because of the federal budget deficit.

"Our country faces dire economic problems that no doubt will impact our children and grandchildren if we don't get a handle on the situation," Haney said to an audience of more than 1,200 farmers from throughout Kentucky. "Our nation's debt and budget deficit are staggering. This threatens to collapse our economy.

"In developing a position for the next farm bill, sacrifices must be made. We can't embrace the popular view that our share is sacred and it is others who must take the pain. If we're going to solve this crisis, everyone must bite the bullet."

Haney also urged members to take an active stance against special interest groups that have been attacking agriculture on issues like animal welfare, food safety and the environment.

"This non-stop criticism of contemporary agriculture is something we must take seriously," he said. "It is vital to communicate about our values and how we continue to produce safe and affordable food in a humane and environmentally-friendly manner.

"We must not let the activists and self-appointed food experts drive a wedge between us. We cannot be idle when others are seeking to reshape our industry to fulfill their idea of how agriculture should look. We must do a better job of telling our story"

The KFB leader also expressed appreciation to county leaders for helping the organization reach the 500,000-member level this year. He described the achievement as "a landmark event in our storied history."