IT'S A SUNNY forecast for Farm Bureau members attending the American Farm Bureau Federation's 84th annual meeting and convention, Jan. 19-22, in Tampa Bay, Fla. In addition to its beaches and sunsets, Tampa Bay will offer members a wide selection of entertainment, attractions, shopping, cuisine and architecture.

“We are thrilled to be visiting Tampa Bay,” said Rolland Hayenga, AFBF's annual meeting and convention coordinator. “I believe our members will really be impressed with all the area has to offer.”

The AFBF convention itself will feature a variety of sessions, special events and entertainment. America's favorite weatherman, Willard Scott will be the featured speaker at the Monday afternoon, Jan. 20, General Session. “We have a full schedule that offers something for everyone,” Hayenga said.

Sunday's events will be highlighted by that evening's address to members by AFBF President Bob Stallman, a Texas rice and cattle producer. The annual parade of flags will begin that evening session, which will also feature the annual awards program for the presentation of Membership, Gold Star, President and Foundation awards.

Another important feature on Sunday is the annual Farm Bureau Women's business session. Other Sunday activities include the morning devotions service and the opening of the Showcase exhibits. The Showcase trade-show exhibit runs through Monday afternoon and includes the popular Farmer Idea Exchange and County Idea Exchange.

Timely seminars will be held on both Sunday and Monday afternoons. New this year are presentations focused on the future technology that will affect agriculture. General informational sessions on such topics as Farm Bureau priority issues, commodity outlooks and special presentations on personal development also will be included.

The convention concludes with the annual meeting of state Farm Bureau delegates discussing and voting on the policies that will guide AFBF in 2003.

“The convention is the one time each year when Farm Bureau members from across the nation come together to meet up with old friends, make new friends and discuss and learn about issues affecting their agricultural businesses,” Hayenga said.