The Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation is now accepting applications for its first-ever nontraditional membership scholarship. One of the organization’s main drivers for offering the scholarship is to get commercial farmers who are not traditionally members involved in Farm Bureau’s policy development process. Examples of nontraditional members include urban farmers, new entry farmers, immigrant farmers and more.
“Farm Bureau membership has always been open to everyone; however, one of the biggest barriers to joining can be approaching a group of people where you know no one,” said MFBF President Mark Amato. “By creating this scholarship program and in turn a cohort program for the recipients, we hope to break down those walls and introduce nontraditional members to our current members in an environment where the new people are comfortable. In turn, we hope to see the scholarship recipients bring in other, nontraditional members to provide input on our policy process and expand our membership.”
Scholarship recipients will receive a scholarship membership into the organization (valued at $225) for one year and will be expected to complete an orientation webinar, a mid-year survey and participate in one county-level policy event.
“The feedback that we get during the Farm Bureau policy development process can have national impact,” Amato said. “We need all types of farmers involved in this process and value all input. I’m looking forward to seeing this scholarship bring new ideas to the table.”
Learn more about the scholarship here. The deadline to apply is July 31 and applications will be reviewed by a committee of MFBF board of directors.
The scholarship is funded through a Strategic Action Fund grant from the American Farm Bureau Federation. In 2021, AFBF has awarded grants of up $5,000 each to six state Farm Bureaus for new programs, like Massachusetts Farm Bureau’s scholarship. 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.
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.