Agriculture is changing.  A new job requirement has been added to the demands; one that has little to do with the breeding, the seeding and the feeding, but everything to do with the success of our livelihood – advocacy. Advocacy has become a full time job, because the general population is two to three generations removed from agriculture. Instead of visiting the family farm or asking a friend, they get their information about agriculture from the internet.

Farmers and ranchers are effective advocates for our industry, but we also know that adding media interviews and social media management to your daily list of chores is daunting, overwhelming, and can be a little annoying at times. So, we want to do our part to equip members with the best tools, resources and skills possible to help make your advocacy efforts seamless.

That’s why we’re excited to unveil our newest advocacy programs at MFBF. This two-part series will showcase each program and help you become a more active and confident advocate for agriculture.

Are you A.C.E. material?

The first of these programs is ACE. The acronym stands for; Advocate. Communicate. Educate.  ACE is an organized team of people dedicated to sharpening their skills and sharing agriculture with policy makers, customers, family and friends.

The American Farm Bureau realizes the importance of organized advocacy and based on their results, MFBF is following suit and forming our own team at the state level.  We know Farm Bureau already excels as an advocacy organization; 23.8% of the 17,855 total advocates in the FB Advocacy database responded to a request to take action — the benchmark average for other advocacy groups is 2.9%.

That’s an impressive statistic and we want to apply those skills to other advocacy areas.  Any MFBF voting member is eligible to participate in ACE.  However, you must be nominated by your district caucus at the Annual Convention; once nominated, final appointments are made by the MFBF president.

ACE members will attend two in-person trainings a year.  Both of these trainings will concentrate on different aspects of advocacy and hone skills unique to each.  In between meetings, ACE members will be expected to participate in advocacy efforts with local, state and national elected officials and agriculture education within their own communities.

How to play your hand

There are a variety of ways a member of ACE may be more involved in state and local policy and education efforts:

  • Catch the social media wave—use your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or SnapChat account to share your agricultural life. Not social media savvy? ACE will introduce you to social media and teach you the tricks and tips to getting more likes, shares and reposts.

  • Write a letter to the editor — this is an easy way to advocate locally. We can help by providing resources and information about your topic.

  • Host a tour for local legislators — building relationships with elected officials is critically important. Offering them a chance to tour your farm, ranch, or agricultural business and get to know you and members of the local county Farm Bureau on a personal level is invaluable to your success as a member of ACE. Here are a couple examples from other state Farm Bureaus:

The next meeting of ACE is scheduled during MFBF Annual Convention in November.  If you’d like more information on how to get involved please contact Chelcie Cargill at 587-3153 or