MFBF President Kevin Paap
Thank you American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Bob Stallman for your service to AFBF and American agriculture.
The role as a leader in any organization is to “direct and protect.” President Stallman has spent the last 22 years on the AFBF Board of Directors. The last 16 years as our national president has clearly demonstrated his dedication and passion for Farm Bureau by directing and protecting our organization. Many times, we have heard him talk about the importance to “ride for the brand,” and this west Texas cattle rancher rode hard for our Farm Bureau brand and protected our brand well.
The movie title “What about Bob?” has absolutely nothing to do with Bob Stallman. Bob never has been, is not now, and I am willing to bet will ever be about Bob. He is about our members, our mission, our vision and our values. He is about faith, family and farming and ranching. President Stallman has an admirable talent of broadening the roles of all Farm Bureau members to help them personally grow.
The next AFBF President will be elected at the voting delegate session of the AFBF Annual Meeting in January. Although Bob Stallman will no longer hold the title of President, we can each carry on the lessons learned from his leadership to strengthen our Farm Bureaus.
President Stallman has looked to our members to surface and empower the right person to be at the table representing Farm Bureau policy and Farm Bureau beliefs. He has valued all different kinds of leadership and recognized that strong leaders and leadership styles can work together for the betterment of agriculture with the unique ability to see potential in others and take them to the next level.
Just a few years ago, the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) was a vision. But with President Stallman at the helm, the USFRA became a reality and has become a driving force in engaging with consumers.
Another example is the agriculture labor coalition that brought together groups that rarely work together. We needed all of agriculture at the table to think through and work together for viable, common sense solutions to represent agriculture. President Stallman was able to bring everyone to the table.
Sometimes this is not an easy task. Many may say that it is like keeping frogs in a wheel barrow, or bringing the extended family to eat together for a holiday meal. A family that prays together and eats together – stays together.
Some have asked, “Why does a Texas cattle guy care about the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS)?” President Stallman had nothing to personally gain, only that it is good for all of agriculture. We must stand together.
Other leaders have looked to President Stallman as an advisor. It was not uncommon for him to receive a call wanting to know what he thought about a trade negotiation. Did he have any ideas or solutions? His opinions are respected and trusted because he looks to the good of all of agriculture.
I recall a trip to the airport with President Stallman where I naively asked him if he was going back to the ranch. He responded, “My goal is to get to the ranch one weekend a month, and I don’t make it every month.” I don’t know if everyone recognizes how much of a commitment it is to serve in this capacity.
Serving Farm Bureau members across our country and serving agriculture could not be done alone. Family and spouses are a key component. Thank you to President Stallman’s wife Stacey Bryan and to the entire Stallman family for your commitment to ride for the brand and to serve Farm Bureau and agriculture.
President Stallman is about our members, our mission, our vision and our values. Thank you for demonstrating strong Farm Bureau leadership.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Paap family.