Manifolds, Manolos, and Manure
My big-little boy is learning to read. Together we trudge through I Can Read Books. We laugh our way through graphic novels. And he studiously follows along with his audiobooks.
Unlike his older sister he will read the Magic Treehouse series, but he doesn’t openly enjoy it. But once he starts, he loves listening to the adventures of Jack and Annie. He followed Balto’s journey in Balto of the Blue Dawn. And, like Annie, he worried about the future of the narwhal in Narwhal on a Sunny Night. He does love the Dog Man series. I’m trying very hard to like it. Tolerate it. Okay. I’m trying very hard not to throw it out the window.
My big-little boy’s reading journey reminds me of our governmental affairs process. He’s learned his letters. Letter sounds. Letter blends. Popcorn words. You might call ‘popcorn words’ sight words in your house. Essentially, he’s working on the foundation of reading.
In Farm Bureau, the foundation of governmental affairs is the policy process.
Our policy begins with members. Regardless of the topic. It doesn’t matter if it’s state and local finance, transportation, or market access. Policy begins with members. Members identify a problem or issue and then discuss the issue and chose whether or not to submit it as a policy submittal.
In Cook County Farm Bureau, a policy idea or issue is forwarded to the Governmental Affairs Committee. Committee members investigate. Research the issue. Review existing policy. And in some cases, prepare a policy submittal for the Board of Directors to review.
Board members are tasked with deciding if a submittal should be sent forward to the state Resolutions Committee. Resolution Committee members determine if a policy submittal should be researched more. Amended. Not included. Forwarded to delegates. Cook County Farm Bureau’s most recent policy submittal, Urban Agriculture, was forwarded on to Farm Bureau delegates for their consideration.
Delegates are farmer members selected by County Farm Bureaus to represent their county during the annual meeting in December. Delegates review the submissions. Discuss the submission. Debate the submission. And may or may not approve the submittal. If approved, the policy submittal becomes part of the policy book.
Governmental Affairs Committee members, board members, Resolution Committee members, and delegates are all active Farm Bureau members. Policy generation begins and ends with Farm Bureau members. Members are the foundation of policy generation.
Once policy submittals are approved, they become the policy book for the Farm Bureau. These policies guide Farm Bureau’s engagement in legislative and regulatory issues. They also provide the framework for how Farm Bureaus interact with members. Educators. Elected officials. Affiliates.
As my big-little boy continues to learn the foundations of reading, Farm Bureau members continue to be the foundation of policy generation.