A Message from AFBF President Zippy Duvall
Farm and ranch families know how to stretch every dollar, and we take that same care here at Farm Bureau with every dollar that comes our way. We want you all to get the best value from your membership. Everywhere I go, I ask folks—from FFA and 4-H kids to long-time farmers—if they’re members because I believe my Farm Bureau membership dues were one of the best investments I made as a young farmer—and still are today. For nearly a century now, the American Farm Bureau Federation has been the leading general farm organization. While we’ve upgraded our way of doing things to meet the times, our values haven’t changed, and the value we bring to your Farm Bureau membership has only grown.
1. A united voice in Washington, D.C.
Thanks to the membership dollars your states send to support our national organization, we all share in a united voice in Washington, D.C. From the Capitol to the White House, we are able to stand together on the top issues facing agriculture and make our voices heard. We’re in continual communication with the Administration on the trade issues farmers and ranchers are dealing with right now, for example. We’re also making progress with Congress on agricultural labor, disaster assistance, rural broadband Internet access and other issues. Our strength is in both our numbers and our unity. Your American Farm Bureau has built a strong reputation on Capitol Hill and among other leading ag organizations, and we regularly have a seat at the table with our nation’s leaders and lawmakers because of the respect the name Farm Bureau carries around town. I love looking back at the history of our great organization and seeing how right from the beginning our forefathers and mothers were front-and-center in shaping policy to build strong farms and rural communities. And we’re still working just as hard today protecting the business of farming and ranching for this generation and the next.
2. A seat at the table with leading ag businesses
At AFBF, we understand that policy isn’t just shaped in government buildings but in company boardrooms around the country. Our team in Washington, D.C., has built—and continues to build—strong relationships with food and agriculture companies around the country. It’s no secret that there’s a lot of misinformation about agriculture, and companies face pressure from consumers responding to that misinformation. When a company takes a bold stand for safe and sustainable farming practices, we want them to know that farmers have their back. And if a company promotes messages that get it wrong about modern farming, then we want to come alongside and provide them with the facts. We ensure we are working together across the food chain to protect the business of farming. It’s up to all of us to educate consumers on where their food comes from, and we want to support companies who stand with the farmers who grow and raise the food we all enjoy.
3. Leadership development and grassroots advocacy training
In my opinion, this one of the greatest values membership brings. I grew up in Farm Bureau, and it’s hard to put a price tag on the training I received through the young farmer program or the relationships my wife, Bonnie, and I have formed over the years through Farm Bureau. I’m so grateful for the leadership and advocacy training team we have at AFBF, and I’m proud of each of you who have taken advantage of these programs to take your advocacy to the next level. Advocacy and leadership are muscles that we all need to train and exercise, and when we do we help make the whole body stronger. If you haven’t already, I’d urge you to take advantage of these training programs and get involved in any and every way you can. From special advocacy trainings and boot camps here in Washington to our online Farm Bureau University, we are committed to bringing you the tools you need to lead in advocating for agriculture in your community, your state capital, and all the way to Capitol Hill.
On behalf of our whole team here at your American Farm Bureau, I want to thank you for investing together with us to strengthen our agricultural and rural communities. I hope you will let your friends and neighbors know about the value of Farm Bureau membership, so we can continue to grow the Farm Bureau family and its influence. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or any member of our staff, to let us know how we can serve you and your farm better.
This column originally appeared in the 2019 August|September issue of Rural Route.