The America Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) annual policy session is a great way to experience first-hand the organization’s dedication to grassroots policy. And the 2018 session, held last week in Nashville, Tennessee, was no exception.
The wide diversity of accents, as members rose to speak at the delegate session, was one way to see that Farm Bureau’s policy comes from the grassroots. We heard the deep drawls from Dixie, the clipped cadence of New England delegates and about everything in between.
More importantly, the grassroots dedication showed through in the wide range of issues discussed by the hundreds of Farm Bureau delegates. That diversity really highlights the organization’s dedication to listening to, and to addressing, issues that affect members in every state.
For the Iowa delegates attending the national session, many of the issues discussed were familiar. There was talk of improving the farm bill commodity programs to help offset a very tough agricultural economy. There were efforts to pass policy to protect and boost ag exports in an unsettled world economy. And there was a lot of back and forth on improving existing farm programs.
A good example of that was the Iowa Farm Bureau delegation’s successful effort to include policy changes for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) .But there were also discussions on issues that few Iowa farmers ever deal with, such as management of wild horses and burros, peanut price supports and maple syrup labeling.
This range of discussions highlights the diversity of American agriculture and the strength of Farm Bureau. By listening to the concerns of all members in all parts of the country and by developing policy at the grassroots level, Farm Bureau is the organization that can truly speak for all of American agriculture.