Typically, a county Farm Bureau holds one general membership meeting each year—it’s the Annual Meeting and almost always takes place in August or September.  Those meetings are jam-packed with agenda items: guest speakers, policy discussions, office elections and more. 
Holding an additional general membership meeting in the spring is a great chance to bring more members together throughout the year.  An added bonus; (because you don’t have so many other agenda items that are must-dos) you can really focus on one or two topics and allow attendees to ask questions and learn from the presenters.  What a great way to start your Policy Development Process early…ahem.
Despite the abundance of wintery weather, Rosebud/Treasure County persevered and held a spring meeting in Forsyth on February 7th.  The evening’s agenda included presentations from Senator Duane Ankney and Fred Wacker, 1st Vice President for the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA).
Senator Ankney, who was a recipient of MFBF’s Golden Windmill Award after the 2017 Legislative Session, shared updates on important policy issues being discussed during the legislative interim and Fred Wacker delivered an update on the Chinese Beef Trade Agreement and proposed packing plant and feedlot that MSGA recently unveiled.
Changing up your County Program of Work in 2018 doesn’t mean you have to try something entirely new; it’s completely acceptable to slap a little lipstick on a current event and mix it up a bit!

Tips for a Successful Membership Meeting:

Location, Location, Location—try a different venue than you would normally use for your Annual meeting.  People appreciate new scenery.
Provide Food—at the very least, provide some heavy snacks.  This will likely be a longer evening than a typical county Board Meeting.  Plus, not having to cook dinner one evening is usually a big bonus in everyone’s book.  If a catered meal is too hard on the budget consider incorporating a meal like Richland County’s Soup-er Bowl event.
Give Speakers the Stage—if the goal is to provide a different atmosphere than the Annual Meeting, be sure to keep your business agenda short and sweet.  Make the event more about focusing on what your speakers have to say and allow time for your attendees to interact and ask questions.