GFB News Magazine

GFB launches Land & Leadership Advocates Program

Posted on February 18, 2019 12:00 AM

By Erin Nessmith

Since it began in the early 1970s, Georgia Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) program has helped shape many of Georgia’s agricultural leaders. GFB will continue its YF&R program with leadership development activities geared toward members ages 18-35. Now, GFB has leadership and advocacy activities for agriculturalists ages 36-50 through the new GFB Land & Leadership Advocates program.

GFB’s Advocates program will bring together members 36-50 years-old with a vested interest in advocating for agriculture, mentoring youth and beginning farmers, providing trending industry education, and refining/promoting their voice in policy development and regulatory matters. This program is the first of its kind in Farm Bureau!

The Advocates program has unique features specifically geared toward the 36- 50 demographic. Two annual functions will be offered at the state level.

The first is an Advocates to D.C Trip that coincides with the YF&R Trip to Washington in March. The Advocates trip will offer some distinct agenda items. Both groups will meet with AFBF lobbyists to discuss current talking points and receive training on speaking candidly with elected officials. Then, Advocates will meet in small groups with the YF&R members to offer mentoring. After the capitol visits, Advocates will travel out of D.C. to visit local farming operations for a national farm experience.

The second state event will be a weekend conference, the Georgia Advocates Development Conference, which will provide hands-on educational workshops, new product demonstrations, GFB–specific training in parliamentary procedure, county board development, social media and public media training. The conference will also focus on GFB’s grassroots efforts and have a family component.

The first conference will be held in Atlanta in February 2020.

Additional program activities will include a Farm Experience Day to be held in each GFB district annually, which will invite consumers and thought leaders from the local community to farming operations to experience the day of a farmer.

The Advocates program is also working to create the GFB Farmers Forum – an online community for GFB farmer members that will provide a communications platform to connect our farming members statewide.

The GFB Advocates Council will advise the Advocates program. The Advocates Council consists of six statewide seats that will not be assigned by GFB districts but based on applications from couples or individuals who have an interest in telling the story of Georgia Agriculture. Council members will serve a three-year term. This group will help plan the Advocates conference and serve as the faces of GFB Farm Experience videos.

The Advocates program will also offer a competitive award. The Land & Leadership Prosperity Award will recognize farmers age 36-50 based on the following areas: farm production (goals achieved, innovative technologies used); ag advocacy (impact of applicant on educating consumers/elected officials about agriculture & involvement on social media, media outlets); Farm Bureau involvement/mentorship (participation in Farm Bureau activities, positions held & volunteer hours provided).

For more details about the Land & Leadership Advocates Program, visit or contact GFB Young Farmers & Ranchers Coordinator Erin Nessmith at 478-474-0679, ext. 5232 or