Farm Bureau’s Grassroots Policy Development Gives Farmers A Voice On Beacon Hill

For more than 100 years, Massachusetts farmers have expressed their concerns about regulations to Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) staff and leadership through the organization’s grassroots policy development process. Taken in the form of resolutions at county annual meetings held every fall, these statements, if approved, are added to MFBF’s policy booklet for guidance.

“The grassroots policy development process makes Farm Bureau one of the most unique advocacy organization in the United States,” said MFBF President Mark Amato, who manages Verrill Farm in Concord. “There is no elusive board making decisions for farmers. Instead, it is a farmer bringing the concern up and providing the staff and board guidance on policy. The process all starts with one farmer.”

During the 11 county Farm Bureau annual meetings, a farmer brings their concern forward for discussion and approval by other county members. If a resolution is adopted at a county Farm Bureau annual meeting, it is then reviewed by MFBF’s resolution committee, which prepare and forward it onto the statewide annual meeting. The resolution is then discussed and voted upon by delegate farmer members. This year’s meeting is set to be held on Nov. 29-30 at the Sheraton in Framingham.

“Personally, I am looking forward to the resolutions brought forward this year,” Amato said. “Farmers are innovators and we always see creative solutions to problems expressed during the resolution process.”

But the process doesn’t end on the state level. If an approved resolution has national applicability, MFBF will forward it along to American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) for discussion and approval at their annual meeting. This means a farmer member can make a difference at the national level.

“The process all starts at local county Farm Bureau annual meetings,” Amato said. “I would like to encourage all members to attend these meetings or forward their resolutions along with other members, such as the county president.”

To become a member of Farm Bureau, please visit https://www.farmbureau.co/online-application/.