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Arizona Ag Member: Help the Voice of Ag Be Your Voice July 24, 2013

By Paul Brierley, Guest Blogger and Director of Organization for Arizona Farm Bureau

This article is reprinted with permission by Arizona Farm Bureau. It originally appeared in the July 2013 issue of Arizona Agriculture.

Participate in your county’s Policy Development and Annual Meetings

Arizona Farm Bureau is almost 100 years old, and a lot has changed since the first county Farm Bureau was organized in 1914.  But one thing has stayed the same over all this time:  Farm Bureau’s members come together once a year to decide on issues and solutions that their organization should engage in. 

 

Why are we so successful?  Because our on-the-ground production Ag members are the ones who know what’s going on, and what will best solve the problem.  Who are these “on-the-ground production Ag members?”  You are!

Arizona Farm Bureau members designated as delegates sit in policy sessions enacting policies that aim to protect Arizona agriculture.

 

Tim Dunn is 1st vice-president of Arizona Farm Bureau and chair of the Policy Development Committee. “In order for Farm Bureau to truly be the Voice of Agriculture, we need to hear from every sector of our industry. I encourage all Ag members to have their voices heard by attending their county’s PD and annual meetings,” says Dunn.

 

As an agricultural member of your county Farm Bureau, you will be invited to your county’s policy development meeting this summer and to the county annual meeting this fall.  You are not invited just to watch, but to tell us what we need to be working on.

 

Any issue is fair game.  The Arizona Farm Bureau commodity committees have recommended that policy be considered on issues such as restrictions on drone monitoring, PM10 dust regulations, border security, guest worker programs, crop insurance in the new farm bill, food labelling, animal welfare, forage testing, water augmentation and transfer, and biotechnology education.  The Commodity Committee reports are available upon request.

 

The American Farm Bureau commodity committees suggested work on policies regarding Endangered Species Act reform, confidentiality of proprietary information, raw milk, and the Renewable Fuels Standard.  And of course issues of water and land use restrictions, taxation, and property rights are always ripe for discussion.

 

All of these and any other issues that are important to you, your family and your operation can lead to new policy suggestions to be approved as official Farm Bureau policy.  Once that happens, yours is no longer a single voice in the field, but a strong chorus of voices with the power of the Farm Bureau behind you.  A voice that legislators and regulators listen to because they know that it’s YOUR voice!

 

All this starts with you participating in your county Policy Development meeting, so make sure to watch for your invitation and bring you concerns and solutions to the discussion.

 

Later in the summer, you’ll be invited to attend your county’s annual meeting.  As an Ag member you will vote on proposed policies, and elect local leaders and delegates to represent your county at the state annual meeting.

 

County policies that require state or national-level solutions are forwarded to the State Annual Meeting where the elected delegates from all 13 county Farm Bureaus will discuss and approve them.

 

Policies approved at the state level become part of the Arizona Farm Bureau Policy Book, from which their implementation is pursued.  Likewise, approved policies regarding national issues will be sent on to the American Farm Bureau, where delegates from all 50 states will approve final policies. Current Farm Bureau policies can be found at www.azfb.org, click on the Public Policy tab at the top.

 

Don’t miss this opportunity to make a difference on the issues you care about, and make Farm Bureau’s “Voice of Agriculture” be YOUR voice! The latest schedule of county policy and annual meeting times is on azfb.org.

To discuss this further or to get involved, contact Paul Brierley at email hidden; JavaScript is required or 480.635.3612.

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