Harvest is winding down or already completed. Cattle are turned out on winter pasture. And I’m sure some have already selected their turkey for Thanksgiving. Yes, the end of 2020 is approaching fast — thankfully, mercifully.
Like the previous 101 years, this one won’t end without Kansas Farm Bureau’s annual meeting. Normally we’d gather hundreds of members in person to celebrate another harvest, recognize agricultural leaders and conduct the business of this great organization.
We’ll still do all that good stuff at our 102nd annual meeting Dec. 3-4, with the slight change of beaming the workshops, speakers, panel discussions, general sessions and more to your living room, tractor cab or barn.
The virtual sessions on Thursday and Friday will allow all Farm Bureau members in Kansas to participate for free, including Vance Crowe’s keynote address to lead off the meeting Thursday morning. Members can view the annual meeting agenda and register at www.kfb.org/annualmeeting.
Other highlights include an appearance from U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, an update from Andrew Walmsley on American Farm Bureau Activities in Washington, D.C. and a townhall with our newly elected federal officials.
Additionally, there’s time set aside for networking, chatting about sessions and providing feedback. It’s similar to what would happen in the hallways and around meals at a regular convention.
I won’t try to sell you on the notion technology will fully replicate the KFB annual meeting experience because it can’t. However, like so many other things this year, it’s the safest way for members and staff to mark the trials and tribulations of 2020 and honor the achievements of agriculture and its practitioners.
Believe me, I know social distancing, mask wearing, avoiding public spaces have become tiresome chores. But we’re getting closer to the end of this malignancy. Just last week promising news of a vaccine was announced. Others are in the works as well. With the aid of science, hopefully this will be the first and last annual meeting held over computer screens.
The fact is right now, there’s no good way to bring hundreds of people together from every corner of the state and have them gather together for an extended amount of time. Significant modifications have been made to allow delegates to conduct KFB business when they gather on Saturday.
Voting delegates will debate and adopt policy statements for 2021, elect the KFB president and board members from even-numbered Farm Bureau districts. Delegates will attend in-person at one of the 10 hubs corresponding to their district. Attendance on Saturday is limited to KFB staff and voting delegates. These will be small groups with masks and plenty of space to spread out.
The logistics behind this year’s annual meeting are mind boggling, and I’ve been impressed with how many solutions, as imperfect as they may be, are available to help connect everyone at a distance. The show will go on with or without you, but I strongly urge you to take a look at the agenda, register and make plans to join us. There’s so much to see, learn and do, I know you’ll find something to grab your attention. I hope to see you there. And, of course, as with every other virtual event this year, pants are optional.
“Insight” is a weekly column published by Kansas Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm organization whose mission is to strengthen agriculture and the lives of Kansans through advocacy, education and service.