Farm Issues Take the National Stage
This past week the American Farm Bureau Federation's annual conference was held in Nashville and farmers from all over the nation gathered to network and discuss issues that will affect their livelihoods in the year ahead. A highlight of the conference was the appearance on Monday of President Trump for a keynote address, a signal that his administration is interested and willing to listen to the concerns of this important segment of our local and national economy. Local farm families like the Jepson's of Orlinda and the Elliott's of Adams have been highlighted in regional news stories as they prepared for this important conference.
Our Robertson County ag contingent was well represented at the Nashville event and their agenda included making sure that the President was well aware of the importance of the ag economy to Tennessee and the nation. Issues like trade and immigration reform are front of mind for Robertson County farmers, who have seen profit margins dwindle in recent years. Trade agreements make a huge difference to the ability of farmers to sell their products at prices that keep operations profitable.
And with workforce shortages affecting every business in Robertson County from the smallest to the largest, immigration policies are a critical concern for the farm community. Bringing in H2-B workers, particularly from Mexico, is a necessity for most of Robertson County's large farming operations and talk of stricter immigration controls and wall building have many farmers concerned. They want to be sure that the President understands the hurdles that they already face in bringing much needed seasonal workers into Tennessee and that he considers those issues in any new policy.
Aside from politics, the AFBF convention being in Nashville offered a opportunity for Robertson County farmers to network with other farmers from across the country, participate in educational workshops and check out displays of the latest technology and equipment. Robertson County is blessed to have a generation of young farmers who are embracing technology and new processes to make their operations more efficient and productive and to keep agricultural products an important and vital part of the local economy. In fact, Robertson County's own Robert and Lindsay Elliott were the recipients of 3rd place overall in the American Farm Bureau Excellence in Ag competition.
Contributing more than $130 million per year to our county's economy, ag business contributes greatly to the overall economic prosperity of our community and plays a huge role in the sense of place that makes Robertson County unique in Middle Tennessee. It is great to see farm issues debated and discussed on the national stage and to see our Robertson County farm families representing us so well.