How Is Your Policy Developed?
IFB Goes Deep with Grassroots
Do you remember the first time you heard your dad say, "ask your mother"? At that moment you learned an important lesson... that no matter if it's a Fortune 500 company, the military, or even good-old Mom, decisions are made from the top down.
That's one reason why Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) is so unique. At IFB, the direction of the organization comes from the ground up... below the ground in fact – from the grassroots.
The real strength of this grassroots-approach is the policy development process. Its policies, and the work behind them, help unite the ag industry and give each farmer in Illinois a powerful voice in Springfield and Washington. To take advantage of the policy process, you need to understand how it works, though.
POLICY: IT STARTS WITH YOU!
Step 1: You have an idea, need, or concern. You share it with someone, such as your County Farm Bureau (CFB) president or a board member. You can also share your ideas through CFB meetings and surveys.
POLICY: UNDER CONSTRUCTION!
Step 2: Your CFB researches and considers your idea. If supported at the county level and it is appropriate for statewide policy (some issues may be acted upon at the local level), your proposed policy change is submitted to the Illinois Farm Bureau's (IFB) Resolutions Committee.
Step 3: The IFB Resolutions Committee considers your idea. What is the Resolution Committee? It is a statewide policy development committee made up of farmers just like you to review policy submittals in July and November. This committee acts upon your idea. Once your idea is accepted, it is prepared for the IAA Annual Meeting.
Step 4: Farmers throughout Illinois (more than 350 delegates from 96 County Farm Bureaus) vote on your idea at the IAA Annual Meeting in December. Your proposed policy changes are passed with a majority vote.
Step 5: If your IFB policy has national significance, it is then forwarded to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) to be voted on at the AFBF Annual Meeting in January. Another majority vote turns your IFB policy into AFBF policy.
POLICY: IN ACTION!
Step 6: You share your story with decisions-makers and elected officials, turning your idea into a law, regulation, or statement that supports you and your fellow farmer.
After all, it started with you!
The policy process is created to you empower, the member, to make a difference. For this organization to be a direct reflection of the interest of its members, it is critical that you provide input into your process. If you, as a member, don't participate and don't provide input, then Farm Bureau policy will not accomplish your objectives. Make sure your objectives are met by participating. Contact your county Farm Bureau today and tell them what's important to you!
So, what are the policies of the American Farm Bureau Federation and the Illinois Farm Bureau for 2017?