All across the country, state Farm Bureaus are gearing up for or have just finished their annual meetings. In just a month, agriculturalists from every part of the United States will gather together in San Antonio for the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention. Why is this important? Why should it affect you?
For too long we have been content to care for our herds and drive our tractors with little thought to local, state, and national policy and advocacy. To sound cliché, the squeaky wheel gets oiled and we have not been squeaky enough!
People, speak! Be loud! Get involved! Be active!
I know you could really use those last few hours of daylight to get things done on the farm. I know that it’s really hard to take two days away to attend yet another meeting. Who’s going to take care of the herd? Make sure no one has come up to the house and stolen the four-wheeler? This is where you need to go out on the edge and leap. Ask your neighbors for a hand. Lock the tools up in the shed. Get involved!
Go to your local Farm Bureau meetings, to your annual state policy meetings. Book a flight and head to San Antonio and see what policy looks like on the national level. Farm Bureau is a grassroots organization. This means that you, the local family farmer, drive the policy and direction for the group as a whole!
Since my involvement in Farm Bureau, I have developed a strong belief that EVERYONE should make an effort to speak PERSONALLY with our elected officials. Yes, that is a lot of capital letters but I want to emphasize this. Personal contact and relationships with those who are in charge of writing and forming the policies that affect our industry are important. Putting a face to those who are affected by things like the Clean Water Act is invaluable. However, we still have jobs to do. We have food, fuel, and fiber to produce.
Thankfully the American Farm Bureau Federation and our state Farm Bureau organizations are there for us.
“But wait!” you say.
“How will they know what we want? What we need?” you ask.
The answer to this: you get involved. You come in from the field a couple hours early for that meeting. You become an active participant in the policy formation in your state. You become a squeaky wheel, and say listen up! You let Farm Bureau know what is needed so that they can be a defender of our industry in Washington, D.C. and our state capitols.