The man who boldly led New York City through the aftermath of the Sept. 11 tragedy, and served as a calming voice of inspiration as his city and the nation entered a period of healing, will speak to Farm Bureau members during the American Farm Bureau Federation's 86th annual convention, Jan. 9-12, 2005, in Charlotte, N.C.

Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani will deliver the Monday afternoon keynote address during the AFBF annual meeting. Giuliani, mayor of New York City during the Sept. 11 tragedy, worked tirelessly after the attacks to coordinate the recovery of the city during its darkest hour. Giuliani has been widely lauded for his steady hand during frightening times and for bolstering the morale of city residents.

For his efforts, Giuliani was named Person of the Year by Time magazine, knighted by Queen Elizabeth II of England and dubbed “Rudy the Rock” by French President Jacques Chirac. Former first lady Nancy Reagan also presented Giuliani with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Freedom Award.

“If a person could ever be nominated as ‘America’s Mayor,’ Rudy Giuliani would undoubtedly be at the top of that list,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “We look forward to hearing Mr. Giuliani’s message of hope for America and the role he envisions for America’s farm and ranch families.”

AFBF’s 86th annual convention also offers an opportunity for Farm Bureau members from across the nation to meet up with old friends, make new friends and learn more about the current issues affecting their livelihoods, according to Rolland Hayenga, AFBF's annual convention coordinator.

“Members will also have the opportunity to learn about agriculture in North Carolina and enjoy some leisure activities during their stay in Charlotte, which is known for its connection to the roaring excitement of stock car racing as well as its tranquil southern charm,” Hayenga said.

The AFBF annual convention itself will feature a variety of sessions, special events and entertainment. AFBF President Stallman will deliver his annual address to members during the Sunday afternoon, Jan. 9, general session. Giuliani will be the keynote speaker at the Monday afternoon, Jan. 10, general session. The legendary Oak Ridge Boys will perform during a Monday night concert for Farm Bureau members.

According to Hayenga this year’s AFBF annual convention offers “a full schedule with something for everyone.” New this year, on Monday morning, the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture will hold its inaugural Flapjack Fundraiser.

Among the other 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 afternoon events include the annual parade of flags and awards ceremonies.

Another important feature on Sunday is the annual Farm Bureau Women's luncheon and business session. Other Sunday activities include the morning devotions service and the opening of the Showcase 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.

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