What is Farm Bureau?
Farm Bureau is the largest general agriculture organization in the United States with more than six million member families. The Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation has more than 2,600 member families working in production agriculture. Farm Bureau members work together to develop agricultural resources, policy, programs and services to enhance the rural lifestyle of Wyoming. Farm Bureau is organized, controlled and financed by members who pay annual dues. This agricultural organization provides a means by which farmers and ranchers work together for the benefit of the agriculture industry.
Farm Bureau is the voice of American agriculture. Its purpose is to protect, promote and represent the economic, social and educational interests of America’s agricultural people in county, state, national and international affairs.
Farm Bureau is dedicated to the principles upon which our nation was built; the right of citizens to organize and speak through one voice — the principle of uniting to get things done on the basis of majority decision after discussion and debate. Farm Bureau believes in constitutional government, the competitive enterprise system, property rights and individual freedom.
Farm Bureau’s Policy Development Process
Farm Bureau is a grassroots organization whose real power lies at the local level. The organization operates within the scope of policies that originate at the county level. Policies cover a broad range of issues and include the interests of everyone in Wyoming who is directly or indirectly affected by agriculture.
The process begins when a member proposes a resolution at the county level. The county Farm Bureau members study facts, discuss options and make recommendations. Resolutions that pass proceed from the county level to district, state and national levels where they are discussed at each level.
At the state level, Wyoming Farm Bureau standing committees meet at the state annual meeting and make recommendations on resolutions for the entire voting delegate body to consider. Resolutions receiving support from the voting delegates enter the policy book and guide the work of the organization for the coming year.
History of Farm Bureau
Wyoming Farm Bureau is a unique agriculture organization. It was created by its members and continues to be operated by the members, who now number over 12,000. Over ninety years ago, food availability was a major concern of the American public and the highlight of agriculture’s challenges. World War I prompted the development of Farm Bureau organizations to help secure greater food production. An early historical account said, “These early community and county organizations of farm people did a great service in adding to the war food supply for the government Food Program in Wyoming.”
Aside from food production, Farm Bureau organizations were born with the main objective of solving problems involving “livestock and crop production, marketing, homemaking, training of boys and girls, and development of local leadership” at the community, county and state levels, the historical account also said.
The Agricultural Extension Service was fundamental in organizing and directing the efforts of the developing Farm Bureaus, most of which began in the late teens and early 1920s. Farm Bureau organizations provided an agricultural resource for the Extension Service to deliver producers the latest information gained from research in the Department of Agriculture, Ag Experiment stations, and colleges of agriculture.
Albert E. Bowman, the state Ag Extension director of that time, can be credited with starting the Farm Bureau in Wyoming. He traveled the state, met with agricultural producers and other organizations, and attended national meetings. By the fall of 1919, eleven county Farm Bureaus had been established. The American Farm Bureau was founded the same year.
The first Wyoming Farm Bureau statewide meeting was held in January 1920. The work of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation has formed a solid foundation of agriculture resources and service for our nation today and in the future.
The mission of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation is: “The primary goal of WyFB is to take appropriate actions to protect private property rights and help members achieve an equitable return on their investment.”