> The Zipline

Being A Force for Good

Zippy Duvall


photo credit: Berrien County, Used with Permission

One of the earliest lessons I learned from my dad was to see value in the things around me. Whether it be the value of a hard day’s work on the farm, the value of contributing to the community or the value of friends and family. When we appreciate what we value most, we gain a better understanding of who we are. At Farm Bureau, I have found countless ways to put my values into action as we work to ensure a bright future for agriculture while also giving back to our communities.

Farm Bureau’s member families see value in service, innovation and hard work to provide a safe and sustainable source of food, fiber and renewable fuel for families both at home and across the globe. We also work to ensure decisions by our elected leaders and others ensure a bright future for agriculture. And we serve our communities in a multitude of ways that range from alleviating hunger to sponsoring local sports teams. Our shared values help showcase who we are and demonstrate how we are better together—not just in Farm Bureau and agriculture but across our communities.

So, how do we help others see that value? Countless organizations are currently at a standstill, struggling to grow membership, often because they cannot articulate how their values translate to stronger communities and improved lives. We can’t take our values for granted when they are an important part of growing our membership. Highlighting our values isn’t about showing off all the good we are doing but rather explaining the “why” that drives us.

Farm Bureau truly is a family.

Farm Bureau is well known and respected for our advocacy work to advance smart policies at every level—from county boards to Congress. But that’s not all we do. We are helping our members become better leaders – sometimes elected leaders – and more effective liaisons with a public that has little understanding of agriculture and lot of questions. The heartbeat of Farm Bureau is our grassroots members who are committed to identifying how we can best serve and strengthen our communities. They also look out for one another, which is sometimes as simple as helping out on the farm if another member is ill and as intense as jumping into action when natural disasters or severe weather strike with vengeance. Talking about our commitment to strengthening communities and improving lives will naturally draw-in new members.

A great example of what can happen when we align our values and work towards something bigger is Harvest for All. Together, our amazing Young Farmers and Ranchers program collaborated with county and state Farm Bureaus across the country to bring over 25 million pounds of food and $1 million to local food banks in 2022. Recently, this awesome effort was honored with the Power of Associations Summit Award from the American Society of Association Executives. We truly are having an amazing impact when we work together, and we’re getting better at communicating about it and the values behind it.

Farm Bureau truly is a family. I say that a lot because I have personally experienced the love and support of this family in good times, and in hard times. We come together, supporting and celebrating one another and working together to strengthen our farms and rural communities. Talking about the good work we’re doing is a simple recipe for attracting new members. The more members we welcome to the family, the more impact we’ll be able to have as a force for good.