When you’ve lived and worked in a place for decades, you’re fully invested in its success.
Now, imagine living in every Iowa community for 98 years (or longer), and you’ll understand why Farm Bureau devotes its energy and millions of dollars annually to the pillars that help support our entire state, from farm families and rural communities to students of all ages.
The first county Farm Bureaus formed in 1912, and by 1918 there was a Farm Bureau in every Iowa county. Those counties gathered to form the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation in 1918, a unifying voice for the counties. Why? Because Iowa needed an organization committed to uplifting the state’s economic engine (agriculture) and the other foundational blocks of Iowa.
Today, there are 100 county Farm Bureaus (one in all 99 counties and two in Pottawattamie County), working toward the same goals. As you can see on the map below (indicating county Farm Bureau offices around Iowa), we’re right in your backyard!
Iowa Farm Bureau’s 98th annual meeting is December 6 – 7, and Governor Terry Branstad has proclaimed December 5 – 11 “Iowa Farm Bureau Week.” Even if you don’t farm (less than five percent of Iowa’s population does), that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate along with us. We’re your neighbors, after all, and our work has most likely touched you in some way. See how:
Agriculture was the foundation of Iowa’s economy back in 1918, and we believe it’s just as critical to Iowa’s future. Today, agriculture pumps $112.2 billion a year into Iowa’s economy and creates 1 out of every 5 jobs in the state. As the state’s largest grassroots farm organization, we help keep ag’s engine running by working for family farmers in areas that are critical to their businesses, from representing their public policy interests at the local, state and national levels and enhancing market opportunities to providing critical information and leadership classes.
Ten years ago, Iowa Farm Bureau created Renew Rural Iowa, a program providing education, mentoring, financial assistance, and recognition to grow and expand rural businesses and aide communities.
Today, the program has reinvested more than $125 million in rural communities and has provided mentoring services to more than 3,000 Iowans seeding new opportunities in rural Iowa. The map below identifies communities helped by Renew Rural Iowa in the past decade. Do you see yours?
If your school has state tournament banners hanging in its rafters, you know that Iowa Farm Bureau is the longtime title sponsor of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union and Iowa High School Athletic Association. We also provide nearly $500,000 in annual scholarships for college students, and we support educational programs like Ag in the Classroom, Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation, FFA, and 4-H, which enable students to pursue their interests in agricultural topics and careers, including critical STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.
Through our comprehensive health care program, Farm Bureau members (you don’t need to be a farmer to join us) have access to everything from quality health insurance and supplemental health benefits, to preventive and innovative community health services. We also work to keep physicians in rural communities. Every year, the Iowa Academy of Family Physicians Foundation (IAFPF) and the Iowa Farm Bureau Foundation award four scholarships to medical residents and students who plan to pursue careers in rural Iowa communities after graduation.
And that’s not all! To learn more about Farm Bureau’s work in your community, contact your county Farm Bureau (or check out several stories we've highlighted on IowaRiseUp.com), and join our efforts to keep Iowa rising!
By Zach Bader. Zach is Iowa Farm Bureau’s Online Community Manager.