What Is the American Farm Bureau Federation . . .

. . . and what does the organization do for farmers?

At VistaComm, we strive to stay connected with ag resources and organizations who work hard every day on behalf of our farmers and agricultural businesses — small and large. Their messages are SO important to the work we do for our ag clients. So, who are these resources and organizations? What makes their work for our farmers/businesses so important?

In our efforts to “keep up” with these resources, organizations and what’s going on in ag, we came across some interesting and valuable information on the American Farm Bureau Federation and its subsidiaries: your State Farm Bureaus. We’re passing it on and hope you find it both historically interesting and helpful for whatever concern you might be faced with today.

Grassroots Growth

Headquartered in Washington, DC, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) is a federation of state Farm Bureaus. These local organizations began forming in the early 20th century in the United States. The first was at the county level in Broome County, New York, in 1913, where farmer members had direct responsibility and control over the organization.

The idea quickly spread throughout the country on the county level and the first state federation was formed in Missouri in 1915. Then, in 1919, delegates from state Farm Bureaus met in Chicago, Illinois and formed the American Farm Bureau Federation. Today, a century later, the AFBF still operates in a grassroots fashion—farm to county to state to nation.

See there history here.

A Membership of States

AFBF President Vincent “Zippy” Duvall

State Farm Bureaus make up the membership the of the AFBF—51 members: 50 state Farm Bureaus and the Puerto Rico Farm Bureau. Its current president is Vincent “Zippy” Duvall, a third-generation Georgia farmer, with extensive experience in agronomy, dairy, and poultry and beef cattle production. Duvall recalls, as a young man, complaining to his dad about markets, prices and government regulations, to which his dad replied, “Son, if you want to change any of those things, you have to get outside your own fencerows.” And that he did!

What Does the AFBF Do on Behalf of Farmers?

The following represents just a few of the primary activities of the AFBF:

  • Policy development
  • Lobbying lawmakers to implement AFBF policy
  • Amplifying the voice of farmers/ranchers through media and online communication
  • Advocacy programs to involve AFBF members in policy support
  • Enhancement of membership benefit programs
  • Promotion of public understanding of farming and ranching practices and issues
  • Leadership development to equip members with skills to be effective advocates for agriculture

What Are Some of the AFBF’s Current Priorities?

  • Building relationships with Congress and educating them about agriculture
  • Agricultural reform that addresses labor needs for farmers/ranchers
  • Promoting rural infrastructure investment — broadband internet access, ag research, roads, bridges, inland waterways, seaports
  • Defending and expanding international trade opportunities for U.S. agriculture
  • Harvest for All: donations from AFBF members that help feed the needy in our own country (In 2018, 32.4 million pounds of food and $362,000 donated by ABFB members assisted hungry Americans.)

For more information on the American Farm Bureau Federation, its initiatives and membership, visit https://www.fb.org/.

Resource: Agri Marketing magazine, May 2019, “Leading the Voice of Agriculture,” page 52.