To protect the rights, encourage the growth and be of service to our members in the best interest of agriculture.
What is the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation?The Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) is a non-profit association that promotes and represents the interests of farmers in the Commonwealth. It is a federation, or union of smaller organizations, which consists of 11 County Farm Bureaus representing a total of nearly 6,000 member families. MFBF, along with Farm Bureaus from the 49 other states and Puerto Rico, is a member of the The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). The county, state and national organizations are all linked and work closely together, but they remain independent organizations. Nationwide there are about 2,800 County Farm Bureaus representing a total of more than 6 million member families.Who Makes up Farm Bureau Membership?
Farmers, not surprisingly, make up the bulk of membership in all of the various Farm Bureau organizations. Agriculture is a broad field. Farm Bureau membership is diverse and includes members involved in fruit and vegetable production, dairy, livestock, greenhouse and nursery, aquaculture, forestry, equine, beekeepers and others. Membership provisions vary a bit between states. MFBF has several levels of membership including:
Platinum member – Platinum members provide financial support to Farm Bureau at the highest level. May vote on issues & sit on committees. Recognition is given to Platinum members in state annual meeting program.
Gold member – A member actively engaged in the business of agricultural production or service as described in the county and/or state-by-laws. Recognition is given to Gold members in state annual meeting program.
Regular member – farmers who produce an agricultural commodity or own land, which they rent to other farmers.
Business Allied to Agriculture –A member that offers products or services that are essential to agriculture.
Associate member – Non-farmer members that do not receive agricultural income.
Student member – Full-time students, age 16-25.
Friend of Local Farmers – Non-farmer members that want to support local farmers and local agriculture.
Non-farmers who want to support agriculture and/or have a strong interest in agriculture are also invited to be associate members. Associate members receive all the communications and discounts that regular members receive and are welcome to participate in meetings. Associate members cannot however hold office, or vote. Student members receive the same benefits as associate members and are also eligible to participate on the Young Farmers Committee as well as various leadership trainings.
What do members get out of their Farm Bureau Membership?
Farm Bureau serves its members by providing educational and social opportunities, information relative to their businesses and by representing their interests with local, state and federal governments:
Farm Bureau offers various seminars at county and state annual meetings, as well as leadership training workshops. They may also develop various educational publications, such as the Best Management Practice Guides developed by MFBF working with UMass.
Social opportunities include county picnics and meetings, state annual meetings and the National Annual meetings. Aside from having fun, these events give members an opportunity to share ideas and concerns about agriculture, and to brainstorm…
By participating in meetings, members have the opportunity to shape and drive Farm Bureau policy at the county, state and national level.
Regular members receive technical assistance and advice from Farm Bureau staff.
Farm Bureau membership also provides various discounts on items you regularly purchase like insurance, tools, supplies, vehicles, etc.
How does Farm Bureau develop policy?
Farm Bureau is a true grassroots organization. All policy is developed and driven by members through the resolution process. A resolution is a policy statement that sets the agenda for much of Farm Bureau advocacy work. In Massachusetts, resolution development generally goes through the following steps listed below. Most states follow a similar process.
A member introduces a resolution at a County Farm Bureau meeting. Members vote on whether to approve the resolution at that meeting.
Resolutions approved by County Farm Bureaus are reviewed by the Resolutions Committee of MA Farm Bureau. The Resolutions Committee is made up of members of each county, who are voted into the position by their county members.
Resolutions are discussed and voted upon during the delegate session of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Annual Meeting. Delegates are comprised of several members of each County Farm Bureau, who have been voted into that position by county members. The number of delegates per county depends on the size of the membership of the county. The annual resolution process takes the better part of the day, and generally involves a lot of discussion and editing. Resolutions which are adopted at the county meeting become MA Farm Bureau Policy.
Resolutions are valid for a period of 3 years. At the conclusion of the three year period, the Resolutions Committee reviews them to determine if they remain relevant. If they are determined to be relevant, Delegates must vote at the annual meeting whether to reaffirm them for another three year period.
Resolutions which are voted in at the annual meeting, and which have national applicability, are brought to the American Farm Bureau (AFBF) meeting for consideration. The process is similar to the Delegate Session with presidents of all 50 states reviewing and voting upon resolutions. Those adopted become part of AFBF policy.
Do all Farm Bureaus share the same policies?
No. While policy development at Farm Bureau is heavily focused on achieving consensus, states and counties form policies specific to their needs. For instance, policies of Massachusetts Farm Bureau organizations focus heavily on issues relative to small farms, direct sale, farmers markets, etc – as these are areas that are critically important to Massachusetts agriculture. Further, as independent organizations, county and state Farm Bureaus can adopt policies that differ or even conflict with each other and the AFBF.
Who runs the Farm Bureaus?
County Farm Bureaus are run by volunteer members. They are voted into offices such as president, vice president, treasurer, etc by other members.
State Farm Bureaus are also run by officers who are elected by the general membership. In addition to officers, state Farm Bureaus have a number of committees to guide, develop and implement policies. Existing committees at MFBF include: