fb - voice of agriculture
April 2006

Farm Bureau Has a Tradition of Grassroots Excellence

Bob Stallman
American Farm Bureau
By Bob Stallman
President, American Farm Bureau

Farm Bureau has an outstanding reputation as an effective grassroots organization. For the past 87 years, Farm Bureau members have played instrumental roles in legislative efforts such as the enactment of the Grain Futures Trading Act, the National School Lunch program and the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The American Farm Bureau Federation is one of the most successful advocacy organizations in this nation. Whenever lists are assembled, we are always near the top. The reason is quite simple. It is the commitment of our members to play an active role in U.S. agriculture policymaking.

Action is Character

As I travel around the country, I listen to people talk a lot about issues in which Farm Bureau is involved. Most of the time what they have to say is good, some of the time it’s not. But in all of my travels, I have never heard anyone accuse Farm Bureau of lacking character. I am of the philosophy that action builds character.

As Farm Bureau members, it is ingrained in us to be actively involved, to fight for what we believe in and what we think will better our profession, but foremost, our country.  We are not ones to sit on the sidelines while others shape our industry. We are also not the type to make a lot of noise about an issue and stop there. Farm Bureau members roll their sleeves up and get their hands dirty when it comes to matters that are close to our hearts. 

Motion Does Not Constitute Action

There is a difference between being noticed and having an impact. While bad grassroots efforts may get attention, in all likelihood they are not going to influence the opinions of members of Congress. Instead, a well-thought-out and strategically executed grassroots campaign will have a greater impact.

For this reason, American Farm Bureau Federation relies on FB Act – a tool for our members to contact Congress effectively and efficiently. This online vehicle keeps Farm Bureau members engaged and active in issues they care most about.  And it takes less than five minutes to let your voice be heard.

Long gone are the days of mass postcard mailings. Instead, modern congressional offices today want to read personal emails and letters from their constituents. I don’t need to tell you that quality is more persuasive than quantity.  FB Act is a means for Farm Bureau to generate messages of higher quality rather than what I call "form letter communications.” So, if you haven’t yet, contact your state Farm Bureau and ask them to sign you up for FB Act. Roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty and carry on the Farm Bureau tradition of grassroots excellence.