You’ve heard it a million times.

It might be the local diner, a church potluck or across the hood of pick-up on the county road. The conversation is often a mixture of mild chatter about variable weather conditions, volatile market prices and probably a little local gossip. However, you  save the best for last and the conversation doesn’t end without discussing those cursed government agencies, environmental groups, animal rights activists and others who target American agriculture and attempt to regulate us straight out of business.

It’s true, there seems to be new demands on our management practices and products every day.  The reality is that’s not going to change any time soon and, unfortunately, lamenting with our closest family and friends isn’t going to fix the problem either.

But being a member of the Montana Farm Bureau Federation and participating in the policy development process can.  As a voting member you have the ability and authority to create, discuss, and ultimately pass new policy that guides the organization.

As a grassroots organization, it all starts at the local, county Farm Bureau level.  This time of year many county Farm Bureaus are holding policy development meetings—so don’t miss your chance!  If you’d like to find out if your county Farm Bureau is holding a policy development meeting, contact your Regional Manager or your county President.

All you need to get started is an idea, but here are a few suggestions to help you out along the way.

Three tips to writing Farm Bureau policy:

  • The formatThe policy book has 54 sections and each of those sections contains lines of policy. When crafting your policy, be as concise and specific as possible.  Most policies begin with ‘We support’ or ‘We oppose’ but there are plenty of exceptions.  For more on crafting the perfect policy resolution, watch for the next post in this series!

  • The process — Policies start with your ideas. Then, at the county annual meeting, they must be voted on and approved.  From there, a policy is submitted to the state Policy Development Committee for their consideration and, finally, must be discussed and voted upon by the voting delegates at MFBF Annual Convention.

  • The delegates — You are the delegates! Each county Farm Bureau appoints voting delegates to represent them at the annual convention.  Those voting delegates have the ability to change and vote on all the policy resolutions submitted that year.  Voting delegates are appointed at the annual meeting, so if you’re interested be sure to attend your county annual meeting.

Be sure to check out the earlier posts in this series:

Policy development: keeping the wolves at bay.

Reviewing policy could save y(our) bacon.

Next, we’ll be discussing how to write your policy resolution and correctly submit it to your county Farm Bureau.