As Iowa farmers continue to deal with the lasting impacts of a global pandemic, they also seek to look forward, using what they’ve learned to become more resilient in the face of obstacles. This forward thinking is the root of “Our Farms. Our Future.”— this year’s theme for the 2021 Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s (IFBF) annual meeting, Dec. 7-8 at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in downtown Des Moines.

The IFBF annual meeting will feature agricultural experts to discuss topics pertinent to farms as a business and way of life. Eastern Iowa farmer and Successful Farming magazine contributor, Jolene Brown, will bring her 30 years of consulting experience to share how to create a positive transition for farm labor, management, leadership and ownership. Missouri farmer, national radio broadcaster and five-time Oscars in Agriculture recipient, Andrew McCrea, will focus on how to give rural communities a “Total Town Makeover” to standout, provide unique experiences and retain and attract residents. Other speakers will include Greg Peterson, also known as Machinery Pete from his popular RFD-TV show, and American Farm Bureau Vice President of Public Affairs Sam Kieffer will provide pertinent policy updates to attending Iowa farmers. 

Throughout the meeting, awards will be presented to the recipients of IFBF’s Young Farmer Leadership Award, Distinguished Service to Ag Award and more. Graduates of IFBF’s Ag Leaders Institute will also be recognized. Tuesday evening’s entertainment will be provided by the Barn Owl Band, and Wednesday morning, IFBF members will hear from President Craig Hill, who after 10 years of service in the president’s office, will be retiring from his role. “It’s been an honor serving with and for farmers from across the state—listening to key issues, striving for solutions and advocating for policies to protect the family farm. I’m glad we will be able to convene in person at this year’s annual meeting to recognize another year of challenges overcome and honor many of the incredible farming leaders who are at the foundation of this influential and impactful organization,” says Hill. 

Following Hill’s speech, farmers will hear from Staff Sergeant Keni Thomas who was part of a special operation to find and capture a criminal warlord which resulted in an 18-hour firefight later recounted in the well-known book and movie, “Black Hawk Down.” Staff Sergeant Thomas will tell the incredible story of extraordinary individuals fighting to bring each other home and the importance of leadership at every level, even if the only person you are leading is yourself. He has been a regular guest on major news networks as a military analyst, has been awarded the American Patriot Award and is the national spokesman for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation which provides college education to children of special ops personnel who died in combat or training.

Click here for more information, a detailed agenda or to register to attend the 2021 IFBF annual meeting.