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Mississippi Farm Bureau’s Landmark Leadership Council Provides a Next Step for YF&R Members



Sydney Garrett

Communications Assistant

Mississippi Farm Bureau created the Landmark Leadership Council (LLC) to increase member engagement.

photo credit: Mississippi Farm Bureau, used with permission

Struggling to retain actively engaged members between the ages of 35 and 55, Mississippi Farm Bureau created the Landmark Leadership Council (LLC) to encourage engagement. LLC helps bridge the gap between the Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) program, for members between 18 and 35, and general Farm Bureau leadership, allowing members to continue their involvement in Farm Bureau while making an impact.

“Time is one of our member’s most valuable resources, so it is imperative that all Farm Bureau experiences be meaningful and impactful to the pressing issues they’re facing on their farms,” said Samantha Laird, Landmark Leadership Council coordinator.

Laird also shared that many members are willing to engage from “within their fence rows” through social media advocacy, calls to legislators and online comments on policy and regulatory issues. The problem they face is knowing where to begin, which is where the LLC program comes in, providing resources and an added sense of community.

LLC focuses on five main areas: (1) substantial engagement in critical agricultural issues; (2) significant participation in policy development and regulatory matters; (3) intentional agricultural advocacy; (4) mentorship of Mississippi’s young farmers and ranchers; and (5) comprehensive educational opportunities. Members may participate in as many areas as they wish but the focus areas allow individuals to expand on the interests, needs and abilities that are most meaningful to them.

The inaugural LLC meeting was held in June 2023 with 150 participants from across the state. Attendees took part in an in-depth family business and longevity workshop, a panel discussion with agricultural business advisors, and political engagement and advocacy training.

Since the conclusion of the June meeting, many participants have used their new skills to continue their Farm Bureau involvement. Two LLC members have joined Mississippi Farm Bureau’s Labor Committee, where they have led efforts to start an annual agricultural labor seminar. Four additional LLC members have connected with a land-grant university to host a Collegiate Farm Bureau Night. They built mentorships with agricultural students while exposing them to the purpose of Farm Bureau.

The LLC program has already made a substantial impact and Mississippi Farm Bureau looks forward to expanding the program while providing new resources and opportunities to its participants.

New Horizon Award

Landmark Leadership Council garnered Mississippi Farm Bureau a 2024 New Horizon Award from the American Farm Bureau Federation. The award, which honors state Farm Bureaus with the most innovative new programs, is presented annually at the AFBF Convention.