Make your voice heard – November 2018
This November has two important things I encourage Farm Bureau members to do. One is to vote in the election on Tuesday November 6. This is an “off year” election so traditionally people don’t turn out to vote in the same numbers they would in a presidential election year. Wyoming, however, elects several statewide officials including the top five elected officials.
Some countries have a mandatory voting law that requires all who are of voting age to vote and if they don’t vote they are subject to penalties. We don’t have a requirement in the U.S. to do this and there can certainly be a good debate about forcing someone to vote who doesn’t want to take the time to learn about a candidate or an issue. Wyoming does have an advantage where we have a small enough population. With a little effort we can find someone who knows a candidate if we don’t already know the person personally. Taking the time to learn about a candidate and voting is one of those responsibilities that everyone should do and take seriously.
The other thing Farm Bureau members can do is attend our annual meeting. This year the Northeast District is hosting the meeting and we’ll be holding it at the Holiday Inn in Sheridan.
County Farm Bureaus send representatives to the meeting, kind of like what we as citizens do, who consider resolutions which lay out our positions on issues important to them. Sometimes the resolution gets amended, sometimes it gets defeated and sometimes it gets passed by the representatives, but they all get heard and voted on by those delegates.
Once policy is adopted by the voting delegates, staff has the responsibility to represent the positions to others in the public policy arena to let them know what members think and what action they hope will be applied on specific issues. That’s what we keep referring to when we talk about the organization being a grassroots organization.
Like voting in elections, adopting policies at the annual meeting is a way to make your voice heard.
We do more than just discuss policy though. Ryan Yates from the American Farm Bureau and Robin Kinney also from the American Farm Bureau will be able to attend as well. Ryan will talk about how the election may affect some of our western issues and what we can expect from Congress in the next two years. Robin will bring a message about getting folks to join the organization and give you ideas on what can work to convince your neighbor to join an organization that sticks up for agriculture.
Pete Michael, the Wyoming Attorney General, will stop by to discuss the latest case Herrera v. Wyoming which is to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. In the various county meetings, we’ve talked about this case and what the potential implication can be to our members who run on the Forest Service lands and by extension BLM ground.
Dr. Bret Hess is able to join us too and will discuss what’s going on with the University of Wyoming College of Agriculture. Dr. Hess was named interim dean until a replacement can be hired.
This all starts the day after election so I’m looking forward to seeing those county Farm Bureau representatives and hearing from our speakers. There’s a lot to do this November and I’m hoping these two important items make it on your calendar as well.
By Ken Hamilton, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation Executive Vice President