As a Farm Bureau member, one of the most important activities you can be involved in is the policy development process. MFBF is proud of its grassroots policy development process; it’s truly the backbone of our organization. Farmers and ranchers from around Montana are responsible for developing policy and guiding the direction of our organization. That sounds like a big responsibility—and it is, but thankfully Montana is full of passionate, intelligent people who care deeply about the future of agriculture and our rural lifestyles.

Policy development is the key to protecting ourselves against burdensome regulation, but we have to proactively develop that policy; not wait until the wolf is already at the door. While a policy recommendation may come from any individual voting member, it must be approved at the county annual meeting and by the voting delegates during annual convention before it’s added to the policy book.

The policy development process takes some time and only happens once a year.  Read on to learn how you can stay on top of policy development and keep the wolves at bay.

Appoint a Policy Development Chair

  • Appointing a Policy Development chair at the beginning of the year keeps policy on the agenda.

  • Remember—it doesn’t have to be someone who’s already a board member or officer. Invite another member to take this position.

  • Ask them to report to the board three or four times a year about current issues and areas where policy development is needed.

Utilize your resources

  • Check the current policy book. A policy may already exist that addresses your topic.

  • Use MFBF staff to help answer questions and provide information for your policy development process. Staff can show you how to find specific legislation, talking points, and contact information.

  • Communicate with the Commodity Advisory Committee representatives from your district. These committees meet annually at MFBF summer conference to discuss commodity specific issues and what MFBF can do to address them.

Be sure to watch the blog for the next few weeks.  We’ll be sharing more tips and suggestions to help you get the most out of your County Farm Bureau policy development process.  If you’d like to view the policy book online you can find it here.