Commentary: Strength in numbers powers Farm Bureau advocacy


Issue Date: May 25, 2016
By Kate Tscharner
Kate Tscharner
Increasing Farm Bureau membership assures the organization will remain a leading advocate for farmers, ranchers and agricultural businesses.
Graphic/Matt Salvo

Membership in Farm Bureau is a choice, and nearly 29,000 of you have chosen to join Farm Bureau in California as agricultural members. Members and volunteer leaders form the lifeblood and strength of our organization, and it is because of members like you that Farm Bureau can rise to meet the daily challenges facing family farmers and ranchers.

However, given the ever-changing California political landscape, it is important that our organization continues to grow to meet these challenges. Strength in numbers assures Farm Bureau can remain a leading advocate for farmers, ranchers and agricultural businesses, today and in the future.

From the beginning, Farm Bureau has worked to protect and promote family farms and ranches. Its foundation was built by farmers and rural residents joining together for a unified cause. Founding members of the California Farm Bureau Federation wanted to ensure that agriculture had a seat at the table as rural America was beginning to change in 1919.

Fast-forward nearly a century, and the need for farmers and rural residents to have their voices heard is more important than ever in an increasingly urbanized state.

During Farm Bureau’s history, the concept of having a family membership was central to the organization. It was not uncommon for a family to have one membership that provided benefits to not only a husband and wife, but also their parents, children, brothers and sisters, etc.

As the dynamics of California began to shift, members within Farm Bureau realized that increasing the number of individual members would strengthen our organization. As a result, the CFBF House of Delegates approved a bylaw amendment at the Annual Meeting in December 2014 that a membership would consist of an individual and their spouse, not an entire family.

During the time since that change took place, we have come to recognize that a number of Farm Bureau members may remain under the impression that their entire family—immediate and extended—is covered by a single membership. This is no longer the case.

Membership in Farm Bureau is a professional investment allowing farmers, ranchers and agricultural businesspeople to be informed and engaged on issues facing California agriculture. We want our members, who know the value of their membership, to encourage others to become part of the organization.

Each generation of your family plays an important role in our organization. We need your help to reach out to those in your own family and encourage them to become Farm Bureau members themselves, so we can sustain our work in protecting family farms and ranches today and for future generations. Individuals in each generation of your family need to have their own memberships and become full-fledged participants in the important work we do.

Asking someone to join Farm Bureau is as simple as starting a conversation at the dinner table or at a business meeting. Sharing your story, and the impact Farm Bureau has had in your daily life, is the best message to share. Oftentimes, people do not realize the breadth of work Farm Bureau does on their behalf and how its workings have affected their bottom line.

Help expand Farm Bureau within your family, friends and neighbors, and spread the word among your business associates whose livelihoods depend on agriculture.

As farmers and ranchers, we produce the finest quality and most affordable food, fiber and foliage in the world. Farm Bureau strives to preserve the unparalleled bounty and diversity of California agriculture. However, this can be achieved only if we continue to expand our support from throughout the agricultural community.

Whether you are voting in an election, speaking to legislators or rallying others to join your cause, numbers matter. This creates a lasting impact and shows a level of engagement and strength. We need your help to ensure our membership continues to grow, which will allow Farm Bureau to continue to lead and advocate on your behalf for many years to come.

Farm Bureau is like a tree—strong and stable, yet that growth and stability depend on a sturdy, deep root system. Farm Bureau can only grow if we provide its root system with the proper nutrients and management it requires: members.

People interested in joining Farm Bureau may contact a county Farm Bureau, visit the CFBF website at www.cfbf.com or call our toll-free member help line at 800-698-FARM.

Together, we can prosper today, tomorrow and in the future.

(Kate Tscharner is marketing manager for the California Farm Bureau Federation. She may be contacted at ktscharner@cfbf.com.)

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.