The Public Policy Department coordinates the implementation of Farm Bureau policy on state and national levels. This includes conducting and maintaining contact in the state and national legislative arenas, as well as with regulatory entities that govern our laws. The purpose of the Public Policy Department is to develop and implement a program that mobilizes the full resources of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation to carry out the policy determined by the organization’s voting delegates.
Today, less than two percent of the U.S. population are farmers. Tremendous technological strides have released more and more people from the task of growing food and fiber, allowing them to seek other professions. Their understanding of farm life grows smaller with each generation. The challenge facing farmers in their continued efforts to maintain state and national legislation that is favorable and economically sound for rural America has never been greater.
That is why Farm Bureau’s public policy efforts are so important. The best legislative influence comes from informed, concerned farm families communicating their beliefs to their elected representatives. Farm Bureau’s role on both the state and national level is to keep members informed with good and factual information concerning Farm Bureau policies and farm issues.
One of the distinguishing features between Farm Bureau and most other organizations is the “grassroots” philosophy in developing Farm Bureau policy. Through the Farm Bureau structure beginning at the county level and proceeding through the state and national levels, producers annually evaluate the problems of agriculture and rural living and make recommendations to formulate Farm Bureau policy. In the fall of each year, the Public Policy Department carries out a series of policy development meetings held throughout the state in order for members to review Farm Bureau’s actions and policies. Ideas brought forth in these meetings form resolutions in counties that are forwarded to the state Farm Bureau for consideration at the Resolutions Meeting held at the beginning of November.
Farm Bureau presidents or their representatives from all 82 counties convene to discuss these resolutions. Once the resolutions have been favorably voted on, they are sent to the voting delegate floor at the annual convention. Resolutions then must pass the voting delegate body in order to become official policy governing the officers and staff of Farm Bureau.
Without public support of farm policies, getting favorable legislation passed in the state legislature or the national congress is nearly impossible. But with sound policies that appeal to the masses, the job can be done.