Zippy Duvall, the Georgia farmer who last week was elected president of the American Farm Bureau Fed­­­eration (AFBF), pledged to work with lawmakers, as well as with other farm organizations and agribusinesses to build a strong and unified voice for American agriculture.

"I bring the ability to build relationships, and I will spend the next few months reaching out to policy makers," said Duvall at a press conference following his election during the 97th AFBF annual meeting in Orlando. "We are also going reach out to other commodity groups and with agribusiness people so that we can bring agriculture to one voice and with common goals."

At a press conference following his election, Duvall also pledged to keep up AFBF’s work to stem government overregulation, boost trade and the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, and work to reform immigration laws to provide farmers with a reliable labor force.

Duvall replaces Bob Stallman of Texas, who chose to step down from the AFBF presidency after 12 years.

Duvall was elected on the third ballot by the some 350 delegates after the annual meeting’s policy session. The delegates also elected Scott VanderWal of South Dakota as vice president.

Vincent (Zippy) Duvall is a poultry, cattle and hay producer from Greene County, Georgia, and was most recently president of the Georgia Farm Bureau. A Farm Bureau member since 1977, Duvall has represented Georgia as a voting delegate at the AFBF convention since being elected to the state board and served on the AFBF Board of Directors in the 1980s as chairman of the AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee.

VanderWal, who was nominated by Iowa Farm Bureau Fed­eration (IFBF) President Craig Hill, raises corn, soybeans and cattle on his farm near Volga, South Dakota.

IFBF’s Hill said Duvall is a very well-prepared and passionate leader who will further strengthen Farm Bureau’s position as the country’s largest farm organization and the voice of American agriculture. "Zippy is definitely grounded in faith, family, farm and Farm Bureau," he said.

The election of Duvall and VanderWal is a testament to AFBF’s grassroots strength, Hill added.

"They both come from small family operations that they are growing and developing, and both have worked their way up through the grassroots of their county and state Farm Bureaus," Hill said. "It shows that Farm Bureau is still very much a grassroots organization that has a huge influence across the country and around the world."