This is where the rubber meets the road. You have a burning issue you want to turn into Montana Farm Bureau Federation policy; you’ve discussed it at the county policy development meeting and it was approved at the County annual meeting.

Congratulations! You’re well on your way to passing your first policy resolution, but let’s pump the brakes for a second. First, you need to write the policy. Writing policy resolutions isn’t rocket science, but there are several tips that will help you craft a high quality policy that gets passed at Annual Convention.

  1. Use plain English. We’re not all lawyers or politicians so we don’t have to write like them.  Say what needs to be said as clearly and concisely as possible.

  1. Use complete sentences and paragraphs. Each policy recommendation should be understandable without referring to any other document.

  1. Refer to present policy. Whenever possible, use accurate citations to current Farm Bureau policy.

  1. Review existing policy to avoid duplications. Make sure your recommendation is not already in the MFBF policy book.

  1. Keep arguments separate from policy. If you feel your policy needs some justification or explanation that’s fine, but separate those reasons from the policy statement itself.

  1. Identify where action is needed. Indicate on your resolution whether it addresses a national, state or local issue.

  1. Sign and date the recommendation. All resolutions submitted to the Policy Development Committee should be dated and signed by the County Farm Bureau President and Secretary.

  1. Get them in on time. This might be the most important tip.  In order for your policy to be considered by the Policy Development Committee and subsequently forwarded to the delegate body at Annual Convention it must be submitted to the MFBF offices on time.  This year’s deadline is October 3, 2016.

Now, that you’ve got the format for writing your policy down, let’s talk about what you actually write it down on.

Spoiler alert: correctly submitting a policy resolution doesn’t involve scribbling it on a napkin or piece of scrap paper and sending it to the state office after the deadline.  In case you were wondering.

We’ve developed a pretty user friendly system over the years; one that is easy for county Farm Bureaus to use and easy for the Policy Development Committee and MFBF staff to decipher.  Each county Farm Bureau receives a County Annual Meeting Planner handbook.  In fact, this year’s planners have already been mailed to the county president and secretary of each county. There is a series of forms in that planner specific to writing and submitting policy resolutions.

The forms are pretty self-explanatory and available on line by looking at the bottom of the page under ‘Forms.’  They’re also listed individually below:

Montana Farm Bureau Federation Bylaws Change Form

Montana Farm Bureau Federation State Resolution Form 

American Farm Bureau Federation (National) Resolution Form 

Once your policy is passed at the annual meeting, your county president and secretary can help you fill out these forms. If you have other questions about policy development, contact your Regional Manager or your County Farm Bureau President. Now, go get cracking on some new policy resolutions — you shape the future of Montana's farming and ranching industry in this work!

More posts in this policy development series:

Quit your belly-achin' — write some policy!

We can cuss and discuss at the coffee shop all day, but there’s only one way we know we can make a real difference: make Farm Bureau policy that supports and defends our farms and ranches. Here's how.

Reviewing policy could save y(our) bacon.

Checking the existing Montana Farm Bureau Policy Book to determine where the grassroots organization already stands could save your bacon. It not only prevents us from have contradictory or repetitive policy proposed, it also keeps our organization up-to-date and relevant.

Policy development: keeping the wolves at bay.

Don’t wait until the proverbial wolves are knocking at the door. Now is the time to develop grassroots Farm Bureau policy to protect your farming and ranching interests. Here's how.