Georgia Farm Bureau represents the needs of Georgia’s farmers in state and national legislative arenas. GFB is unique in its approach to tackling our state’s agricultural policy issues due to its member-led, grassroots nature, as embodied by the organization’s policy development process.
GFB’s Public Policy team uses the organization’s annual policy book to guide its support or opposition of particular bills in the state legislature and Congress. The policies GFB’s Policy Development (PD) Committee pass during their fall meetings are considered by the GFB voting delegates and are submitted to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) voting delegates.
GFB’s PD Committee consists of the GFB Board of Directors, GFB’s 20 Commodity Advisory Committee (CAC) chairmen, GFB’s members of AFBF Issue Advisory Committees (IAC), and 30 county Farm Bureau presidents.
The number of members on the committee may vary from year to year, but the committee always contains Farm Bureau members from each of GFB’s ten districts with a wide variety of production and agribusiness expertise. The 2021 PD Committee, chaired by GFB First Vice President Daniel Johnson of Pierce County, includes 76 individuals from 62 counties.
The committee reviews submissions from two sources – the GFB Commodity Conference held each August and directly from county Farm Bureaus.
At the commodity conference, each of the 20 CACs reviews policy sections for its commodity in both the GFB and AFBF policy books. CACs are encouraged to add new policy that is not currently covered and amend or delete existing policy that may no longer be relevant.
Most policy resolutions submitted by county Farm Bureaus reflect broader issues impacting farmers in their communities or on their farms in the past year. Many counties hold their own policy development meetings to develop their annual submissions.
The 2021 Policy Development resolution submission period closed on Sept. 3. The PD Committee will meet on Oct. 4 and Nov. 2 to review this year’s submissions. The final draft of policies the committee approves will be presented to the GFB voting delegates at the GFB annual meeting on Jekyll Island Dec. 7. Federal policies that are moved forward by the voting delegates will be submitted to the AFBF Resolutions Committee, which takes a similar committee-reviewed structure the second week in December before heading to the 2022 AFBF Annual Convention in Atlanta.
GFB did not hold a policy development process in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We thank county Farm Bureaus for participating and reconnecting to the policy development process. Our organization may be 84 years strong, but it is only because of the grassroots support and engagement of our membership that we will continue to thrive for future generations of Georgia farmers.
Katie Duvall is GFB’s advocacy and policy development coordinator. She may be reached at email@example.com or 478.474.0679, ext. 5217.