As much fun as I’ve had at the rest of the 95th Annual Convention, today is one of the absolute high points for me. If you talk to someone involved in Farm Bureau long enough, you’ll hear something along the lines of “the strength of the organization is in the grassroots,” and today is where we see that in action. The voting delegate session is when all of the policy recommendations that started at the county and state Farm Bureaus around the country are voted either for inclusion or exclusion from the American Farm Bureau policy book. Essentially, today will provide direction to our organization and its leaders when they are discussing agricultural issues.
One of the coolest things about this organization – really, the characteristic that separates it from most groups – is that it says and does exactly what its members tell it to say and do. Every single piece of policy that you’ll hear Farm Bureau advocating started with someone standing up at a county or state Farm Bureau meeting and saying “I propose that…”. Is it always easy? No. Are there disagreements? Absolutely. But at the end of the day, everyone involved respects the process of forming our voice, even when a vote or two doesn’t go the way he or she wanted.
From a personal experience, I submitted policy concerning farm data use at the Hamilton County Farm Bureau annual meeting, then spoke in support of it at the Nebraska Farm Bureau annual meeting, helped craft the wording in the American Farm Bureau resolutions committee meeting, then spoke in support of it at the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention. The policy we passed today sounded different than the few lines I cobbled together back in September, being greatly strengthened by the voices and expertise of other Farm Bureau members and staff.
Watching the grassroots work is what gives us all the motivation to keep working for the betterment of agriculture. I couldn’t be more proud to help shape the voice of America’s farmers and ranchers.
Zach Hunnicutt, a Nebraska farmer and chair of the national AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee. He farms with his dad and brother, growing field corn and soybeans for livestock, and popcorn for people. Find him on Facebook and Twitter (@zjhunn).