Illinois proved to be one of the 2015 stops on the campaign schedule for the new president of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), Vincent "Zippy" Duvall. The Georgia farmer said he visited with farmers in Illinois, and 28 additional states, as part of his quest to become the leader of the nation's largest general farm organization after its former president, Bob Stallman, announced his Farm Bureau retirement last July.
"My journey to try to become the American Farm Bureau president really started at my dad's breakfast table," said Duvall, during an interview with the RFD Radio Network. "I was sitting there discussing milk prices, regulations, all of the things we're still discussing today. He challenged me and said, 'Son, you got to manage your business, but you also got to be part of the policymaking of agriculture, and to do that you've got to get out of your fencerows and be a part of it.'"
Duvall worked his way up the Farm Bureau leadership ladder by becoming chairman of the AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee, and then president of one of the nation's largest state Farm Bureau organizations.
At a press conference following his election, a reporter enquired about Duvall's unusual first name.
"I was born with that name, and I will continue to use it," said Duvall.
In the November 10, 2015 edition of Southeast Farm Press, a weekly farm publication, writer Brad Haire noted the new AFBF leader's legal name is Vincent Mearl Duvall. The article pointed out that the Georgia farmer acquired the name "Zippy" as a result of being "...a cesarean, or C-section baby. He left the hospital with the nickname ‘Zipper.’ Soon after, his mother and father were watching a TV show with someone named ‘Zippy’ in the show. And there you go."
Duvall raises cattle, poultry, and grows hay in northeast Georgia, and served as president of the Georgia Farm Bureau for nine years.