By Cyndie Shearing
The American Farm Bureau Federation has awarded grants of up $5,000 each to six state Farm Bureaus for new programs through its Strategic Action Fund. State Farm Bureaus with fewer than 25,000 members were eligible to apply for funding of up to $5,000 for public policy-related projects. Half of the funding will be released in May, with final disbursement slated for the fourth quarter of the year provided final reports on the completed projects are received, reviewed and accepted by Oct. 31.
“This program, now in its second year, supports smaller states in conducting meaningful policy-related projects,” said Sam Kieffer, AFBF’s vice president, public affairs. “I’m excited to see how these state-driven initiatives will creatively advance AFBF’s board-approved strategic policy issues,” he added.
Summaries of state Farm Bureau programs selected for funding in 2021 are below.
Colorado Farm Bureau
Funds will be used to support and enhance fundraising activities for the initial phases of the Coloradans for Animal Care campaign, which was formed to protect the state’s pets and livestock from the impacts of a proposed electoral ballot initiative. The measure, known as Initiative 16, could potentially end all livestock processing and dairy production in the state. The continuation of modern livestock reproductive practices such as artificial insemination and pregnancy checking is also at risk.
Delaware Farm Bureau
A survey of livestock farmers and small poultry producers will be conducted. This will include determining the volume of various livestock species raised by farmers in Delaware for sale both in-state and out-of-state. Livestock producers in neighboring states will be surveyed in collaboration with the Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania Farm Bureaus. Data collection will include the volume and type of livestock species entering Delaware from neighboring states for slaughter.
Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation
Two projects submitted by Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation were selected for grant funding.
Development of a scholarship program will encourage non-traditional farmers to join MFBF for free for one year. Participants will complete an orientation webinar and mid-year survey, in addition to attending a county-level policy event. A new video will highlight farmer members growing a variety of crops who are implementing sustainable farming practices that benefit the environment.
New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau
A River to Dinner event will spotlight the conservation efforts of farmer and rancher members who produce iconic New Mexico foods including beef, onions, green chiles and pecans. A key objective is to help attendees understand water is a requirement for food production, and that farmers and ranchers use it judiciously.
New York Farm Bureau
Grant funding will be used to facilitate conversations between farmers and urban members of Congress on topics including the role of agriculture in addressing climate change and sustainability. As part of the project, NYFB will partner in exhibit development with the Queens County Farm Museum, a 47-acre educational farm in the heart of a concentrated urban area that welcomes 400,000 visitors each year.
South Dakota Farm Bureau
A series of educational presentations at regional member meetings will cover a variety of topics including climate change, carbon impacts and current Biden administration initiatives such as 30x30 (the Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful report).
Several state Farm Bureaus – Idaho, Kansas, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas – each contributed $1,000 to the Strategic Action Fund for this round of projects.