Why Summer Conference?
This meeting is a catalyst for policy development within our organization. There are 15 committees that meet; ranging from commodity specific committees like livestock, weeds and water, to outreach and advocacy committees like health and safety, women’s leadership and promotion and education.
At summer conference the committees have time to delve into specific issues and develop policy ideas they believe are important to our organization. Committees may bring in speakers to provide information on a variety of topics important to their commodity. This provides an opportunity for members across Montana to understand important industry issues and discuss how MFBF’s position on those issues should be reflected in policy.
But MFBF is a grassroots organization—policy comes from the county Farm Bureaus, right?
Right! MFBF is a grassroots organization guided by the policy directives that start at the county Farm Bureau level.
No committee has the authority to make policy without it first being approved by a county Farm Bureau and being discussed and voted on during annual convention. Rather, these committees give members with specific commodity interests the ability to dial down and peel back the layers on important issues and trends in our industries. After listening to experts and discussing with their peers, committee members are tasked with taking these ideas back to their county Farm Bureaus for further discussion and policy development. If a committee deems necessary, they may decide to hold a second meeting during annual convention.
Only when a proposed policy is voted on and approved by a county Farm Bureau at their annual meeting is it eligible for discussion on the voting delegate floor at annual convention.
Sounds interesting—how do I get on a committee?
Each committee is made up of 10 primary members (one representative from each district) and 10 alternates. Nominations must be made during the district caucuses held each November during annual convention. Not sure what district you’re in? Find out here: http://mfbf.org/county-farm-bureau/.
After the district caucuses, the nominations are submitted and the President makes the final committee appointments following annual convention. Each committee is assigned a MFBF staff contact. This contact works with the committee chair and members to set the agenda for each meeting, share pertinent information between meetings, and collect resources for the committees to use when discussing policy.
Not sure if these committees are for you just yet? That’s OK! You’re welcome, and encouraged, to participate in our summer conference even if you’re not on a committee; anyone may sit in and listen to the presentations and discussion.
To see a complete conference agenda and to register by June 1 check out our website: http://mfbf.org/event/2016/04/2016-summer-conference/