We may be living in one of the most politicized and polarized eras of our country’s history, or at the very least, in my lifetime.  Deep, deep lines have been drawn in the sand and the mantra, ‘if you’re not with us, you’re against us’ reigns supreme.  One person sees the wheels coming off this wagon while another looks ahead and believes we are on the cusp of a truly great revolution in our country.

Whatever your opinion may be one thing that hasn’t changed in this charged, sensationalized and politically correct world is the need for people to step up and lead.  We need armies of people who can look through this divisiveness, identify the goal and compel both sides to work for their commonalities, not against their differences.  But, what does any of this have to do with Farm Bureau?

My answer: everything.

Things aren’t just volatile at the national level or only in politics, if we look hard enough we’ll see volatility abounds; in local governments, in family businesses, in state legislatures, and throughout our communities. Farm Bureau was built on the fundamentals of grassroots efforts.  Meaning, our organization is guided from the bottom up—everything starts (and stops) at the local level with you, our County Farm Bureau Leaders. While Farm Bureau has truly harnessed the power of grassroots, the concept is not unique to us; rather it’s arguably how most things were originally started if we look close enough. Every accomplishment requires some level of compelling motivation; there is always at least one individual behind a group of people helping them realize a common goal. 

Being a leader means more than being a county Farm Bureau President for twenty years running, it’s more than making the most trips to D.C. or always being the first to volunteer for an interview with the local newspaper.  Those are all positive attributes, but I challenge you to keep pushing, keep growing, and keep looking for new opportunities to support not only the Farm Bureau, but your community and your rural lifestyle as well.

Advocate. Communicate. Educate.

We are currently accepting applications for the second class of ACE, MFBF’s premiere leadership and advocacy training program.  We have some big changes in store and I’m very excited to bring you awesome, new content on personal and professional development and advocacy. 

The goal of the program is to foster growth among participants in three areas: Developing Leaders, Engaging Local Communities and Issue Education.

Develop Leaders

Participants will refine and establish premiere leadership and advocacy skills necessary to effectively communicate industry issues, represent Farm Bureau interests and agriculture at a local, state and national level and welcome new leadership responsibilities within their County and State Farm Bureau.  

Participants will:

  • Learn and practice key leadership skills:
    • Public speaking
    • Active listening
    • Conflict management
  • Learn key techniques and strategies for working with:
    • Elected officials
    • Media
    • Non-ag audiences
  • Use learned skills and techniques through real-time networking and advocacy opportunities.  

Engage Local Communities

The program encourages participants to actively build coalitions in local communities through teaching and practicing the necessary skills base and providing learning opportunities to engage local communities and county Farm Bureaus.

Participants will:

  • Learn about and form mentorship and networking partnerships within their local communities and across Montana.
  • Use these partnerships to identify shared interests and goals with other groups or individuals and build collaborative coalitions at the local level.
  • Use learned skills to encourage others to participate in advocacy efforts and to offer educational opportunities for their county Farm Bureau and community. 

Issue Education

Top AFBF and MFBF staff will educate and inform participants of key industry issues and actionable steps necessary to communicate Farm Bureau policy and affect change.

Participants will:

  • Study emergent industry issues to gain a high level understanding and working knowledge.
  • Identify and learn about fundamental agriculture issues.
  • Create relationships with members who have knowledge and expertise in other areas.

Future leaders within Farm Bureau are important, but more important is nurturing your desire to be a strong advocate for our organization and our lifestyle in a way that best suits your talents, abilities and ambitions.  Through this one year training program you will learn to identify your talents, expand your abilities and harness your ambitions—all while practicing key strategies for directly advocating on behalf of Farm Bureau and agriculture.

If this sounds like an opportunity you want to learn more about; the program application has all the information you need to know.  Space is limited and the application deadline is October 31st.

Leadership is not a talent withheld from some; it is a drive pursued by a few.  Are you choosing to pursue leadership in Farm Bureau and in your community? 

Apply for ACE