Effective process established 100 years ago – February 2019
For the second year in a row President Trump was the closing presenter to the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention. The American Farm Bureau Federation also celebrated its 100th Anniversary where we recognized some of the accomplishments of the nation’s largest general agriculture organization. We certainly should be proud that we have a national organization that is still going strong after a century of working on agriculture issues.Wyoming Farm Bureau’s president was also selected by those members in the West to represent the Western Region on the AFBF Board of Directors. The time commitment and effort to work for agriculture on both the state and national level is immense. When you consider that our vice president also served on the AFBF Board when he was AFBF YF&R Chair this speaks well of the reputation of the leaders elected to lead WyFB. We’ve also been fortunate that several WyFB presidents have served on the AFBF Board in the past.
Resolutions are adopted by the voting delegates that will help direct the organization. Listening to the debate on some of the resolutions helps a person understand the scope and the challenges to representing all sectors of the agriculture economy so that it works best for agriculture as a whole.
We also met with many of our counterparts to discuss how we can move forward with immigration reform that can benefit all segments of agriculture. During the last session of Congress there were several attempts to address this issue which failed, and we’ve already learned there is another bill being proposed in the House to start the process again. We’ll see how well Congress does this time. Of course, one of the main topics of the President in his address to the AFBF Convention was the need to address illegal immigration on our southern border. Obtaining an adequate work force for many agricultural producers is paramount, particularly when you consider many of the workers that harvest the crops that end up in grocery stores are not Americans. Development of a workable guest worker program is critical to many sectors in agriculture. We in Wyoming rely on H2A workers in the livestock segment and there are many other industries that rely on other types of guest workers. Getting that portion of immigration legislation right is critical. Support for efforts by the President to curb illegal immigration was also evident from many of those same folks who need workers.
Representing American agriculture is an immense undertaking and given the challenges that we find in Congress it’s important that we keep working to get ag’s message to those, sometimes less than sympathetic, elected representatives. AFBF lobbyists do just that day in and day out to represent Farm Bureau members. AFBF recently had three of their lobbyists identified as some of the most influential individuals in the non-profit world in Washington, D.C.
Being around for 100 years, having a sitting president come talk to the members not once, but twice in the last two years and having people working for us identified as influential points to the effectiveness of the process established 100 years ago.
By Ken Hamilton, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation Executive Vice President