Last week I had the privilege of being at my Kansas Farm Bureau district’s issue surfacing meeting. We had a great meeting with very good attendance and a lively discussion of issues affecting farmers and ranchers in northeast Kansas. I would hate to say how many issue surfacing meetings I have attended, but I look forward to them each and every year because they are the very epitome of what Kansas Farm Bureau is about.
Just the week before I was explaining to a friend about how Farm Bureau’s policy development process works. It’s an explanation I have given many times over the years, and one I never get tired of sharing. Explaining how we do things also makes me so proud that our organization truly is one that works at a grassroots level.
The policy development process for Farm Bureau can be kind of clunky. It is never fast, but it is truly driven by the members in each county. At our meeting last week, I saw fellow members bring forth issues affecting them and their operations each and every day. Some were issues I am familiar with, but others were topics that I had not thought of. Everything discussed was important and relevant to individual members.
That every part of our policy started out as an issue surfaced by a member is something we should be proud of, and it should be the core of what we do. We should never lose sight that the most important part of our policy development are the needs of our members at the county level. An idea is brought forth at an issue surfacing meeting and then it is researched, discussed and policy is molded by Kansas Farm Bureau’s Resolutions Committee. Then in the fall, the refined policy proposal is brought to the membership that surfaced it to make sure it meets their expectations and needs.
Finally, the proposed policy is discussed and voted on by our delegates at the Kansas Farm Bureau Annual Meeting. Then, and only then, is it part of our policy that will guide our work with legislators and other organizations. I know I am repeating this to most of you involved in Farm Bureau, but it is a good refresher to remind us that all policy comes from our grassroots.
Those grassroots are the foundation and the strength of Kansas Farm Bureau. It is what makes us the most powerful general farm organization in Kansas and across the country. It is the power of millions of members coming together to represent agriculture. If you have been part of this process, thank you and keep up the good work. If you are a member and have not participated in the process, I urge you to take part either this spring or next fall.
The truth is that we need every member to be a part of our policy development; we need your perspective, your unique viewpoint and, most importantly, your input. Contact your county office and find out how to get involved and then make the commitment, I promise you won’t regret it.