22nd Annual AAM Convention
The 22nd Annual Convention of the American Agriculture Movement will go down in the history books as the best one we have had in several years. Members from all across rural America attended this years convention at the Biltmore Hotel in Oklahoma City, January 24-27, 2002.
The membership heard from a wonderful and informative list of speakers. All aspects of the farming and livestock industries were discussed. David Senter and Larry Mitchell both combined their messages to compliment each other. They then answered questions for about a hour. A new comer to the political arena Pat Trask, a South Dakota rancher, spoke on forming coalitions to bring about legislation that would declare the Agriculture and Livestock industries vital for the National Security of this Nation.
Alvin Jenkins, who needs no introduction, spoke on the vital importance of PARITY in the market place if this country is to survive as a free nation. His statement is printed in the newsletter. William (Bill) Gill, a 36 year veteran of the Washington scene, spoke on the free trade of the Americas that the administration is pushing hard to get passed. Bill said we still have a slim chance to defeat fast track in the Senate when it comes up for a vote.
Again this year Merle Willard, former Vice-President of NORM, spoke on the history of PARITY and how the relationship between agriculture and all other parts of the economy were related. Sidney Perceful, a federal mediator, has uncovered a lot of corruption in Oklahoma and several states in the Farm Service Agency, Farm Credit and many of the other federal agencies that have contact with farmers and ranchers. She said to always follow the money. There is where you will find the truth.
Don Deichman concluded the general session with a report of his activities the past six months working on the hill jointly for A.A.M. and with Americans for Trade Defense.
The business session found all members in full support of 100% PARITY. The membership supported legislation to oppose packer ownership of livestock. Strongly opposed trade promotion authority, know as fast track, which promotes corporate globalization of our trade policies totally destroying the solvency of all nations that participate in such trade practices. Members strongly supported legislation that would declare the agriculture and livestock industries vital for the national security of this nation. The labeling of country of origin was once again reconfirmed. Country of origin labeling was first promoted by A.A.M. in 1986. Members also voted to support legislation that opposes large sums of money going into the financing of political candidates and parties.
The delegates re-elected Wayne Allen as Vice President, for a four year term. Lynn Kirkpactrick was elected as Vice President of Marketing, Marc Wetzel was elected as Vice- President of Membership, and Don Deichman was elected as Vice- President of Political Action. All will serve a one year term.
Those of you that missed this convention missed a very informative three days. We hope everyone will put next years convention on their calendars today as you read this report. Next years convention will be January 23-26, 2003, at the Biltmore Hotel in Oklahoma City. Further details will be in future newsletters.