Wednesday, June 28, 2017

AFBF President Visits Idaho

American Farm Bureau President tours Idaho

Shelley—American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall and wife Bonnie had breakfast this morning with Idaho Farm Bureau President Bryan Searle at his farm outside of Shelley. 

President Duvall said that he wants to see what Idaho Agriculture is all about. He says its all part of a promise he made:

“My commitment was to go to all 50 states the first two years of my presidency and to get out into the grassroots and talk to farmers and volunteers across the country,” said Duvall. He wants to represent farmer issues by experiencing it with them and hearing their stories. 

As the most powerful Agriculture group in Washington, Duvall has clout and its important to have first hand knowledge of Ag issues, not only in Idaho but across the nation.

“Its made me a more effective President. You never know who I’m going to be sitting in front of next week in Washington, whether it be a Senator, a chairman of a committee or even President of the United States. Its great to have the opportunity to share our grassroots opinions and issues with those people. We’re real excited to be here and it is a beautiful place and what a wonderful family we met this morning.”

President Duvall’s tour took him the potato fields of Shelly and the GPOD packing plant where he saw Russet Burbank potatoes processed, packaged and shipped. After that is was onto Idaho Falls.

Searle and Duvall visited the USDA’s Pale Cyst Nematode Program where they met with program manager Tina Gresham.  President Duvall got to sit at a workstation and observe nematodes through a microscope. 

President Duvall had lunch with the Bonneville County Farm Bureau and then took questions. One of the most compelling questions came from Stephen Bagley of Teton County. He asked what the President thought about the lack of management and local control on federal lands in the West.

“I’ve seen the mismanagement of wildlife, mistreatment of our ranchers out here because of the mismanagement of wildlife and the lack of input from local people. I know these people in the National Forest Service. They’re climbing a ladder. You may get someone in here from Ohio or someone from the Northeast United States and they know nothing about this area. You’re the ones that know.” 

Duvall gets it and added that there should be a way to have better communication and input to management of the lands.

“Thats what I told Secretary Perdue, that farmers and ranchers out west need local input. Their families have lived there for generations they should be able to tell you better than anyone how to take care of the livestock on the land, so he and I, we had that conversation,” said Duvall.

Idaho Farm Bureau leaders then took President Duvall to the Great Feeder Canal outside of Ririe.  That canal irrigates tens of thousands of acres across Southwest Idaho. Duvall was impressed at what he saw on the Snake. 

 The tour continues tomorrow in Boise and then onto Canyon County.

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