Friday, November 11, 2011

Grassroots Organizations

This week I am at the Wyoming Annual Farm Bureau Convention, held in Cheyenne. Since my work is no longer a conflict of interest with being personally affiliated with select organizations, I have enjoyed increasing my involvement in Wyoming Farm Bureau through running and being elected to the Wyoming Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee.
My personal belief is it's a necessary act of community service to serve on boards, committees, in public office, etc... It's through personal involvement that you see your community become what you want, how you create positive change that you believe in, and is critical to the future of communities. It's also how you make others aware of issues pertinent and relevant to you and your lifestyle. My family has a long standing history of involvement for these reasons, and I'm excited to increase mine in upcoming months and years.
The thoughts I just mentioned are relevant at the local, county, state, regional, national or international level. That's the beauty of being involved. I am also a very strong believer in grassroots organizations, which are those where local members make policy, and pass it locally, then present it at the district, state, and national meetings, should it pass at each previous step. Grassroots organizations are how local people get local issues heard at a national level by government and other entities through a large and unified voice. This is the opposite of the federal government creating an idea, then passing it down to the local communities they know nothing about. Grassroots is how things should happen.
The American Farm Bureau Federation is the largest farmer and rancher based grassroots organization in the U.S. today, and as I type this, policy is being passed at the state level that has already been voted on at the local and district meetings. These are the ideas, concerns, changes and improvements Wyoming people want to see happen on more issues than you can count. Through creating policy, the people involved lobbying for Farm Bureau at the state or national level have a resource they can refer to on any number of issues to see just what the people back home think on a subject. Then they can use that policy to accurately represent member needs. 
For example, policy was passed today that states Wyoming Farm Bureau supports population control of wild horses through various means including sterilization, humane euthanization, etc... (those aren't the exact words, which in policy exact words are very important, but that gives you the general idea).
With that policy in place, the Farm Bureau lobbyists can refer to it any time there is legislation that encompasses the wild horse, and speak from the point of the organization supporting population control. If there wasn't policy, the lobbyists wouldn't know what the majority of members thought on some issues, and may not represent accurately.
The other side is, having a huge organization with members from every state in the union gets a lot more attention at state or national legislatures than one farmer, or rancher, with a concern or idea.
It's all quite fascinating, and so very important to the future of our country. I encourage anyone who has ever said, "they should do that, or do it that way," to go join the organization you were referring to, and become a part of making it the way you want and believe it should be.

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