CONVENTION DECLARED A HUGE SUCCESS
By V.B. Morris
Members and delegates from across the nation
converged on Oklahoma City January 25-28, 2001 for the 22nd Annual convention of the
American Agriculture Movement.
Executive Vice-President Arthur Chaney was master
of ceremonies. Arthur did a very fine job of keeping the convention moving and making
everyone feel welcome. During the Friday session, the membership heard from Alan Guebert
who is an award winning free lance agriculture journalist who was raised on an 800 acre,
100 cow dairy farm in southern Illinois. Also on the agenda was Gene Wheatley, a long time
agriculture reporter on both Tulsa and Oklahoma City television stations. Both are
long-time supporters of AAM and rural America.
Larry Mitchell, farmer from Arlington, TX, and
past lobbyist for American Agriculture Movement and most recently past Deputy
Administrator of Farmer programs with U.S.D.A., spoke of the huge effort by him and his
staff to always do the most possible for farmers and rural America. Others who spoke were
past president of AAM Corky Jones. Corky had just arrived from attending Marvin Meek's
funeral in Plainview, TX.
We also heard from E.D. Schaeffer, past General
Accounting Office staff economist. E.D. informed the group that he worked in D.C. during
the late '70's and into the early '80's. He was mostly responsible for researching and
then reporting to U.S.D.A. about the need for 100% PARITY in rural America. He said his
report was altered and then covered up by U.S.D.A. officials.
Alvin Jenkins finished up the Friday session with
a very informative and encouraging speech. It is amazing after 22 years how that man can
still fire up a tired and worn out group of tractorcaders, but Alvin had the group ready
to put forth effort and hang in there one more year and continue the battle. Alvin stated
that he would never quit until he had drawn his last breath.
Saturday morning started off with Dean Cook, a
labor union representative, enlightening the membership of the hardships labor is
encountering trying to survive with multi-nationals who are robbing them just as they are
robbing the family farmer. Larry and Miki DeSha both spoke to the membership about the
vast power the media has in informing the public and others in rural America of the Power
of PARITY. Miki also explored with the ladies how they can help in getting more
information out to local media. She said that women had a strong message to share and they
should not be shy about doing so.
Merle Willard, past Vice-President of National
Organization of Raw Material (NORM), spoke on the power of PARITY and the work that Vince
Rossiter and others before him had accomplished. Merle's speech is printed on page 5 of
David Senter, a man who needs no introduction,
was also at Marvin Meek's funeral and arrived in Oklahoma City to share with the members
some of the events of the funeral and also to encourage everyone present not to give up.
David said we are too close to making some real changes to give up now.
During the business session, Buddy Vance,
Panhandle, TX was elected President for the next four years. Wayne Allen, Perkins, OK was
elected as Vice-President to complete the one year that was left on Buddy's term as
Vice-President. Others that were re-elected were Lynn Kirkpactrick, (MO), Vice-President
of Marketing, John Willis, (TN), Vice-President of Political Action, and Marc Wetzel,
(TX), Vice-President of Membership. The membership reconfirmed our five basic goals, which
stand as the backbone of this organization.
The Sunday morning services were very inspiring
with Brother Wayne Allen leading the group and the ministry of Ms. Vicki Myers singing and
ministering to us. Those of you who missed the Sunday morning services missed a very
During the Sunday afternoon wrap up meeting, the
members present agreed to hold next year's convention at the Biltmore Hotel. I can tell
you that next year's convention will be on January 24-27, 2002 at the Biltmore Hotel. Mark
your calendar -you will not want to miss what will be the best agriculture convention that
you will ever attend.