CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A city known as much for its connection to the roaring excitement of stock car racing as it is the tranquility of its Southern charm will welcome Farm Bureau members this coming January. Charlotte is the site for the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 86th annual convention, Jan. 9-12, 2005.

More than 5,000 Farm Bureau members from across the nation are expected to converge on the Queen City to celebrate agriculture and hammer out policies to guide Farm Bureau through 2005.

“Charlotte represents the new accent of the South, and I think Farm Bureau members will be pleasantly surprised to see how this dynamic city has preserved the past while embracing the future,” said Rolland Hayenga, AFBF’s annual convention coordinator. “While visiting Charlotte, farm and ranch families from across the nation will meet up with old friends, make new friends and learn more about the current issues driving the polices that affect their livelihoods.”

The 2005 AFBF annual convention will feature a variety of sessions, special events and entertainment, and offers “a full schedule, with something for everyone,” according to Hayenga.

Among the many highlights this year’s are the annual Young Farmer and Rancher contests. Some of the nation’s top young farmers will participate in the Young Farmer and Rancher discussion meet and the final rounds of the Young Farmer and Rancher achievement awards.

Jan. 9 will be highlighted by the address to members by AFBF President Bob Stallman, a Texas rice and cattle producer. The annual parade of flags will begin at that afternoon session, which will also feature the president’s award and foundation awards.

Other activities include morning devotions service and the opening of showcase exhibits. New commercial displays will be set up in the showcase trade-show exhibit.

Seminars will be held throughout the day Jan. 9-10. The seminars will include presentations on agri-terrorism/farm security and energy. General informational sessions on Farm Bureau priority issues, commodity outlooks and special presentations on personal development also will be included.

The convention wraps up with the annual meeting of state Farm Bureau delegates discussing and voting on the policies that will guide AFBF in 2005.

For additional information contact Tracy Taylor Grondine at 202-406-3642 or Mace Thornton at 202-406-3641.