By Sunny Andersen
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 counties were among 18 recognized for their programs and activities in 2020 and 2021. The programs featured here focused on policy implementation.
Drive-thru COVID Testing for the Community
When Broward County (Florida) Farm Bureau learned members were having difficulty locating a COVID-19 testing center that did not require spending extensive amounts of time waiting in line, the BCFB president established a relationship with a testing laboratory and set up an additional drive-thru space at the local Farm Bureau office. This allowed BCFB to provide the community a service and created an opportunity to distribute information about Farm Bureau and recruit new members.
Measure V Campaign
When a parcel tax ballot measure to fund fire services was created in Tuolumne County (California) with lack of community input due to COVID-19, Tuolumne County Farm Bureau connected with tens of thousands of voters via a postcard and a social media and radio campaign encouraging them to oppose the measure, which would have created an applied tax on every parcel of real property, with the funds generated going to local fire departments for fire services. Many landowners in the county own more than one parcel, with many having remote properties that are difficult to reach in an emergency.
TCFB’s campaign resonated with voters, who rejected Measure V. TCFB board members have since met with county officials to begin work to help fund a stronger fire prevention and suppression budget and plan.
Land Use Actions for the Future of Our County
Because Wayne County (Ohio) Farm Bureau members have a vested interest in how the county approaches land use and management, the organization became involved in the Land Use Actions for the Future of Our County Project.
After the county government updated its comprehensive plan in 2019 following a period of feedback from the community, which included a listening session organized by WCFB, a four-part brown bag seminar was put together in 2020 to help catalyze action on the revised plan around balanced land use. Each session drew 50 to 80 participants, including Farm Bureau members and other community stakeholders. The feedback suggests there is interest in continuing these discussions and engaging stakeholders to develop shared solutions to the county’s biggest land use challenges.
Sunny Andersen, a senior at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, is an intern in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Communications Department.