Monday, December 9, 2013

The shadowy organization you’ve never heard of

Last week Kris and I stole away with hundreds of other agricultural people for our annual meeting.

There - as part of an exclusive group - we debated and discussed and voted on book-length policy.   We covered everything from tagging cattle to the definition of a full-time farmer.  Over three days, every single word of every single change in our written doctrine was voted on.

And this was just in Michigan ... the same meeting was happening all over the country. 

There isn’t an organization for agriculture (dare I say) that has more governmental influence.  Elected officials come to address us.  People want our support.  Governmental people want to be associated with us.   

What is this shadowy organization?  It's Farm Bureau.

Ever heard of it?  No, it's not just an insurance company.  (We do have a partnership with Farm Bureau Insurance.  It's different.)  For 94 straight years, people in Farm Bureau have been getting together to make sure that the government hears the voice of people in agriculture. 

When Kris and I moved to the farm we got involved with Farm Bureau because we wanted to meet other farmers.  Kris is on the local board, so through that we met fun local people.  By attending the state annual meeting and a couple national ones, we became great friends with farmers from around the state and country. 

These meetings have everyone from new moms with babies to super old farmers who have been going to these meetings since ... they were the babies being brought along.  Sugar beet farmers mix with sheep farmers and apple farmers hang out with dairy farmers.  We're all in it together, working for the good of our industry.  More voices, louder voices - hopefully better results! 

Each year, we've gotten to know more and more people.  It's so fun walking around and talking to everyone - some people that you see only once a year - and hanging out together in vibrant Grand Rapids.  Michigan State always plays UNC in basketball one night when we're there, we always go out, and every single year has ended in dancing.

So yes, this age-old organization is responsible for working with government officials to implement member-driven policy.  It's also a fantastic way to get to know other driven, involved, and outgoing farmers. 

And, probably, the closest I'm going to get to joining a secret society.


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