A city known as much for its connection to the roaring excitement of stock car racing as it is the tranquility of its southern charm will welcome Farm Bureau members this coming January. Charlotte, N.C., is the site for the American Farm Bureau Federation's 86th annual convention, Jan. 9-12, 2005.

More than 5,000 Farm Bureau members from across the nation are expected to converge on the “Queen City” to celebrate agriculture and hammer out policies to guide Farm Bureau through 2005.

“Charlotte says it represents the New Accent of the South, and I think Farm Bureau members will be pleasantly surprised to see how this dynamic city has preserved the past while embracing the future,” said Rolland Hayenga, AFBF’s annual convention coordinator. “While visiting Charlotte, farm and ranch families from across the nation will meet up with old friends, make new friends and learn more about the current issues driving the polices that affect their livelihoods.”

The 2005 AFBF annual convention will feature a variety of sessions, special events and entertainment, and offers “a full schedule, with something for everyone,” according to Hayenga.

Among the many highlights of this year's tentative agenda are the annual Young Farmer and Rancher contests, scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 9, and Monday, Jan. 10. Some of the nation's top young farmers will participate in the YF&R Discussion Meet and the final rounds of the YF&R Achievement Awards.

Sunday's events will be highlighted by the afternoon's address to members by AFBF President Bob Stallman, a Texas rice and cattle producer. The annual parade of flags will begin at that afternoon session, which will also feature the President's Award and Foundation awards.

Another important feature on Sunday is the annual Farm Bureau Women's luncheon and business session. New this year, the FB Women’s luncheon will be open to all women, in addition to delegates to the FB Women’s business session. Advance tickets are required to attend.

Other Sunday activities include the morning devotions service and the opening of the Showcase exhibits. New and exciting commercial displays will be set up in the Showcase trade-show exhibit, which runs through Monday afternoon. The Showcase will again include the Farmer Idea Exchange and County Idea Exchange winners, ag research displays, and Cyber CafÈ featuring the annual Silent Auction.

Timely seminars will be held throughout the day on Sunday and Monday. The seminars will include presentations on agri-terrorism/farm security and energy. General informational sessions on Farm Bureau priority issues, commodity outlooks and special presentations on personal development also will be included.

On Monday morning, the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture will hold a pancake breakfast fundraiser.

The convention wraps up with the annual meeting of state Farm Bureau delegates discussing and voting on the policies that will guide AFBF in 2005.

For additional information contact Tracy Taylor Grondine at 1-202-406-3642 or Mace Thornton at 1-202-406-3641.