Idaho Farm Bureau Federation members elected Richard Durrant of Meridian as the organization’s new vice president, and honored Potlatch-area producer Bob Callahan and others during the group’s 80th annual meeting Dec. 3-5 in Coeur d’Alene.
IFBF delegates also determined policy positions for the coming year — including a reaffirmation of their longtime support of hemp production. The Idaho Legislature again in 2020 will likely consider legalizing the crop in keeping with the newest Farm Bill.
The state is one of three that do not allow production of hemp, though Gov. Brad Little recently signed an executive order allowing truckers to ship it across the state.
Delegates also reaffirmed their support of Idaho Power cloud-seeding efforts, which increase the snowpack, and took positions on issues including water rights, land use, open range, wolves and grizzly bears.
Durrant, 59, won a two-way race with longtime vice president Mark Trupp, a producer from Teton County. The term is for two years.
“It’s kind of a humbling experience,” Durrant said in an interview.
The vice president works extensively with the resolution process, which features substantial vetting at county and district levels before IFBF adopts policy positions. Durrant said Trupp “had worked hard to streamline our resolution process as we go through and make recommendations as to what our governmental affairs team will work on at the legislature.”
Durrant plans to visit each county as much as possible to connect with producers.
“There is a lot of diversity there, and I want to make sure the Farm Bureau is listening to all of the diverse interests,” he said.
He also plans to help in further developing Young Farmers & Ranchers leadership training. YF&R is open to Farm Bureau members 18 to 35.
Shelley-area farmer Bryan Searle was also re-elected to his third two-year term as president. He ran unopposed.
Callahan received the President’s Cup, which is the 14,000-member IFBF’s highest award and reflects commitment to Farm Bureau. He is a retired University of Idaho agronomist. His family owns a farm, pasture and timber operation.
“The award is very flattering,” he said in an interview. “There are many members of the Farm Bureau who would be much more deserving. It is a very nice gesture and I much appreciate it.”
Over 35-plus years of Farm Bureau service, he has worked to bring forward issues important to farmers, he said.
“I believe we should be working for the benefit of everyone in the nation and never to the detriment of anyone worldwide,” Callahan said. “We state our purpose as one that benefits Idaho agriculture, but my intent is to benefit everyone. … Policies that benefit agriculture, whether in Idaho or another state, will benefit the nation overall.”
IFBF’s Women’s Leadership Committee presented Women of the Year awards to Ann Moedl of Franklin County, and Carol Chamberlain of Custer County, Amie Taber of Gooding and Lincoln counties, Mary Blackstock of Owyhee County and Kathy Riebli of Boundary County.
Moj and Kelsey Broadie received the Achiever in Agriculture Award, a YF&R honor that recognizes producers who have excelled in their operations and honed their leadership abilities.
Jerome County farmers Craig and Erica Louder received the Excellence in Agriculture Award, a YF&R honor that spotlights young Farm Bureau members who are agricultural enthusiasts but have not yet earned a majority of their income from a production-agriculture enterprise for the past three years.
Sydnee Hill, a member of the Blaine-Camas Farm Bureau, won the YF&R Discussion Meet competition.