When you look at the discounts you receive as part of your Montana Farm Bureau membership benefits—everything from 10-percent off your Mountain West Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company package policy, to discounts at hotel chains, discounts at Grainger, rebates from Ford and Lincoln Motor Company, discounts and rebates on Caterpillar, John Deere and CASE IH— it becomes quite obvious that the more products and services that you use, the greater the return on your membership benefit.

But let’s look at it a couple of other ways for you to see value in your membership.  First of all, when you pay your Farm Bureau dues through your county, you’re actually joining three organizations: your county organization, the Montana Farm Bureau Federation and American Farm Bureau Federation. Three memberships for the price of one is a real bargain.

Look at the benefits on the county level: As a county Farm Bureau member, you can be with other county members visiting with your local legislators, local county commissioners and school boards. On the state level, we have two well-respected lobbyists in Helena you can contact with any concerns or questions during the legislative session or even during the interim committee meetings. Keep in mind that Farm Bureau lobbyists love to have you testify before committee meetings in Helena. It’s very simple and fun to do. (Although you might be testifying virtually this year, we shall see.)

On the national level we have a very talented national affairs director who has many contacts with our congressional delegation as well as many agencies in Washington D.C.  She can answer your national policy questions or concerns you may be having.

As you know, Montana Farm Bureau is a non-partisan organization and I’m glad, because the wind changes directions regularly in Washington, D.C. and Helena. We are prepared to represent you no matter which way the wind is blowing and look forward to working with the new administration. There will be many changes in the agencies that directly affect agriculture, especially the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Department of the Interior, the Bureau of Land Management and the Environmental Protection Agency.  

One other great benefit is that as a member of the Farm Bureau, you are able to influence local, state and national policies. Many Farm Bureau policies originate around a table at the local coffee hang out and from there, move on to the county policy development committee, then are voted on at the county annual meeting which is then taken to the state convention to be discussed, debated and voted on. Some polices that are national in scope are submitted to the American Farm Bureau to be voted on at the venerable delegate session during their convention--and that policy idea may have started with you.

What is the real value of your Farm Bureau membership with a unified voice for agriculture? I’m talking about all of agriculture, not just individual segments, but all of agriculture. As a Farm Bureau member, you have the ability to influence policy, contact your Montana Farm Bureau lobbyists and your American Farm Bureau lobbyists. With the changes we will see in the next few months in Washington D.C., having a strong voice banded together is priceless!

Here’s to a productive, profitable and happy New Year.