Georgia Farm Bureau’s purpose is to advocate for farmers and rural Georgia. That’s why our organization was founded. During our 81-year history, GFB has been successful in achieving legislative victories that have kept Georgia’s farmers and rural communities strong.
As more people live off the farm, it’s become increasingly important that Farm Bureau increase its advocacy efforts with consumers and students, who are our country’s future voters and decision makers.
A year ago, in this column I told you about my Harvest 20 Vision. It consists of three elements: Inspire. Educate. Preserve. GFB’s goal is to inspire our members to get involved, educate consumers about agriculture and preserve the future of Georgia agriculture.
GFB took action last year to make the Harvest 20 Vision reality, and we’re building on those actions this year.
In an effort to inspire our members to get involved, we met with a group of farmers in the 36 to 50-year age group to get their input on establishing a program that will keep them involved in our organization after they age out of the Young Farmers & Ranchers Program.
I’m proud to announce GFB has begun the Land & Leadership Advocates program. It’s designed to keep former YF&R members active in our organization and recruit new members who may have felt there wasn’t a place for them.
There are a lot of misconceptions out there about farmers and food in general. Anti-agriculture groups aren’t shy about sharing their criticisms of us. We can’t be shy about sharing the truth about agriculture.
That’s why GFB is committed to putting an Ag in the Classroom Mobile Unit on the road by the end of 2020. Our county volunteers and staff have been doing a fantastic job of taking the Ag in the Classroom program into their local schools and libraries for years.
The AITC mobile unit will be an added resource to support our volunteers as it travels the state providing interactive lessons to promote ag literacy in schools and educate consumers about farming.
To preserve Georgia agriculture, GFB awarded grants to Georgia scientists to fund five research projects last year. This year your GFB Board of Directors has budgeted $100,000 to fund research projects studying issues impacting Georgia farms.
We know our members want agricultural research because our policy calls for it. So, it makes sense for us to play a role in funding it.
GFB’s volunteer members are key to our organization’s success. We’re blessed to have many committed members across Georgia as demonstrated by the incredible support you gave our “I Farm. I Vote.” campaign last fall.
GFB doesn’t endorse candidates, but we do encourage our members to vote. There were 12 rural counties where voter turnout was greater than 70 percent. I can’t help but think our campaign helped with that.
If you aren’t already actively involved in your county Farm Bureau, please join us! The more of us who roll up our sleeves to inspire, educate and advocate for Georgia agriculture, the bigger our harvest will be.
GFB President Gerald Long is a farmer from Bainbridge, Ga. His family raises cattle and grows cotton, peanuts and a variety of vegetables that they sell to the public through a U-pick market.