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Picture this: Trump and farmers

Slideshow: Farmers turned out by the thousands to hear President Donald Trump address members of the 99th annual American Farm Bureau Federation convention.

Holly Spangler

January 9, 2018

14 Slides

Inside the Opryland Resort and Convention Center, anticipation for President Donald Trump’s Monday address to the 99th annual American Farm Bureau Federation convention was palpable.

The numbers were also daunting: 7,000 registered attendees, most of whom wanted to get into a room slated to hold 4,400. Farmers began lining up by 8 a.m., for doors that would open at 10 a.m., for a speech that would begin at 3 p.m.

Security was thick throughout the facility, and major highways nearby were shut down for parts of the day. Once farmers passed through metal detectors and entered the secured perimeter of the convention hall, they were not allowed to leave; if they did, they’d have to come back through security, with no guarantee they’d get back in. Snacks, water and bathrooms were available.

Lines snaked throughout the convention center atriums until doors opened at 11 a.m. and farmers filed in to take their seats.

Here’s a look at some scenes from the day.

About the Author(s)

Holly Spangler

Senior Editor, Prairie Farmer, Farm Progress

Holly Spangler has covered Illinois agriculture for more than two decades, bringing meaningful production agriculture experience to the magazine’s coverage. She currently serves as editor of Prairie Farmer magazine and Executive Editor for Farm Progress, managing editorial staff at six magazines throughout the eastern Corn Belt. She began her career with Prairie Farmer just before graduating from the University of Illinois in agricultural communications.

An award-winning writer and photographer, Holly is past president of the American Agricultural Editors Association. In 2015, she became only the 10th U.S. agricultural journalist to earn the Writer of Merit designation and is a five-time winner of the top writing award for editorial opinion in U.S. agriculture. She was named an AAEA Master Writer in 2005. In 2011, Holly was one of 10 recipients worldwide to receive the IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Ag Journalism award. She currently serves on the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation, the U of I Agricultural Communications Advisory committee, and is an advisory board member for the U of I College of ACES Research Station at Monmouth. Her work in agricultural media has been recognized by the Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Corn, Illinois Council on Agricultural Education and MidAmerica Croplife Association.

Holly and her husband, John, farm in western Illinois where they raise corn, soybeans and beef cattle on 2,500 acres. Their operation includes 125 head of commercial cows in a cow/calf operation. The family farm includes John’s parents and their three children.

Holly frequently speaks to a variety of groups and organizations, sharing the heart, soul and science of agriculture. She and her husband are active in state and local farm organizations. They serve with their local 4-H and FFA programs, their school district, and are active in their church's youth and music ministries.

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