Representing issues that matter to you – September 2017
Every year about this time Wyoming Farm Bureau members should receive a notice to renew their membership in their county Farm Bureau organization. Not many organizations have a local group that you can join, but Farm Bureau has long felt that being a member of your county Farm Bureau was an important step in keeping Farm Bureau a grassroots organization.We have a lot of dedicated leaders on the county level that work on agricultural issues. They participate in a process that defines policy positions on a state, national and international level. We are certainly proud of our legacy of representation of agriculture for close to 100 years.
There are a lot of folks, however, that don’t have livestock or produce crops and they are members too. These folks also help support agriculture. With their help we have resources that help us work to improve food production. That is probably the best reason for being a Farm Bureau member.
There is a saying that when you have enough to eat you have many problems, but when you don’t have enough to eat you only have one problem. Americans have been blessed to not have to experience the food shortages that other countries have experienced. In today’s world, food shortages begin with bad food policies by political entities. Farm Bureau has a strong presence in our nation’s capitol to work to ensure political issues don’t become food issues. We also work on a state level towards providing input to our elected folks about member’s policies.
For many of our non-agriculture members annual dues amount to less than $3 per month, or less than a dime a day. With this contribution it helps Farm Bureau work to support those policies agricultural members have identified to support and improve food production in Wyoming and the nation.
Food production is one part of the picture. Getting crops like sugar beets or corn or malt barley to grow in Wyoming most likely entails utilizing water to raise those crops. Livestock utilize forage that can be converted into a high quality protein source. Keeping those animals alive is a full time job, one which ranchers and farmers take on every day of the week.
Harvesting the crops or shipping the calves points out the need for a strong transportation infrastructure so Farm Bureau works on transportation issues.
Communication is important to our rural communities as well as farmers and ranchers, so Farm Bureau works on communication issues.
All of us are affected by tax policies. Good tax policies help support a lot of the infrastructure of this state and nation, but bad tax policies can drive food production off shore or drive producers out of business, so Farm Bureau works on tax issues.
Property rights are our foundation. Property rights matter whether your property is a ranch or your backyard in town, so Farm Bureau works on property rights issues.
That is why it is important for both agricultural and non-agricultural members to work together to insure we don’t ever have just one problem.
By Ken Hamilton, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation Executive Vice President