By Sydney Garrett
Through its annual County Activities of Excellence Awards, the American Farm Bureau Federation celebrates county Farm Bureaus for their unique, volunteer-driven programming. The following county Farm Bureaus were among 24 county Farm Bureaus recognized for their programs and activities in 2021 and 2022. The programs featured here focused on public relations and information.
Historic 1920s Farm Bureau Office Project – Fulton County Farm Bureau, Ohio
Fulton County Farm Bureau was given the opportunity to take part in a local Living Historical Village and Museum’s creation of a 1920s Main Street by sponsoring a 1920s Farm Bureau office. Since the county and state Farm Bureaus had just celebrated their 100th anniversary, they saw it as a great opportunity to preserve the organization’s history.
The 1920s office visitors learn how Farm Bureau was created, what Farm Bureau was like in the 1920s and how Farm Bureau is still relevant today. The museum hosts 80,000-plus visitors from across the United States, so the Farm Bureau story will spread nationwide.
Due to an alarming increase in the mental health crisis facing the agricultural industry, Bureau, Marshall-Putnam, and Stark County Farm Bureaus worked together to bring more awareness to mental health and encourage open discussion regarding this topic.
Over a short period of time, along with a local mental health provider, the coalition hosted farmer breakfasts, launched podcast interviews through the local hospital, released an informational video, and rolled out a portal where farmers can speak to professionals in the comfort of their own community.
Party for Pollinators – Cook County Farm Bureau, Illinois
Thirteen Cook County Farm Bureau leaders designed this project to communicate farmers’ efforts to preserve and increase pollinator habitat as well as to illustrate the connection between pollinators and the food system to urban consumers.
This project included four sub-projects: the creation of a community pollinator garden; community presentations; a pollinator garden community event; and a large-scale community education event. This project impacted over 5,500 individuals while engaging 13 Farm Bureau leaders, 34 community volunteers and 17 community partners. Community partners included for-profit businesses, state and local associations, local greenhouses, a suburban municipality and a major zoological society.
Farm to Table Experience and Policy Development – Lucas County Farm Bureau, Ohio
The county annual meeting is one of the premier Lucas County Farm Bureau events. To promote the meeting differently and potentially generate more interest around it, the board suggested the meal be crafted with local foods. The event not only promoted consuming locally grown foods, it also supported the local economy.
county and state Farm Bureaus had just celebrated their 100th anniversary, they saw it as a great opportunity to preserve the organization’s history.
Meet and Greet at the County Fair – Angelina County Farm Bureau, Texas
To strengthen current connections and build new ones, the Angelina County Farm Bureau hosted a meet and greet at the county fair. The event highlighted various aspects of Farm Bureau and provided a free meal to all county fair attendees.
Applications are now open for the 2024 County Activities of Excellence. Up to 24 counties will display their winning activities at the 2024 American Farm Bureau Convention in Salt Lake City in January. County award winners receive up to four free registrations to the Annual Convention (cost of travel and housing not included) and a $2,250 stipend to apply toward the cost of travel and exhibition.
Sydney Garrett is the communications assistant for the American Farm Bureau Federation.