LETTER: Farm Bureau responds to the needs of members

Editor:

Recently a letter was written asking us where our “power” as an organization comes from as Farm Bureau. Stark County Farm Bureau, as well as every other county farm bureau, is led by its members.

We have a 14-member volunteer board of farmers elected by its members at our annual meeting. We ask our members to get involved in the organization by leading, planning and implementing the different activities we do throughout the year.

We poll all of our farmer members for policy suggestions on issues that are important to them. Each one submitted is sent to our county annual meeting where every member in attendance gets to vote on each policy.

The same process happens at the state level and we elect local farmers to represent Stark County Farm Bureau and vote on these policies that affect our state and nation.

I encourage every member to attend their local county annual meeting and if you get a chance in December, come down and see how the state annual meeting works. I speak from experience as I have attended many of these meetings in Columbus over the years. We have had great discussion on topics from OSU Extension funding to getting agriculture back into the school system as a main subject.

Any way you look at it the members are in charge, and I want to make sure we keep it that way. Are we always going to agree? Probably not, but our members still get a chance to voice their position.

Many may already know the history but the Ohio Farm Bureau started an insurance company to help rural residents. The Ohio Farm Bureau Mutual Automobile Insurance Company was started and later was renamed Nationwide Insurance.

Nationwide is a partner still today offering members competitive rates. We work closely with them to help promote their products and they help promote membership in our organization. We appreciate everything our local agents do for our counties.

Without our members leading the way we would not survive as an organization. Our members grassroots involvement has started things like the Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV) program, helped get members’ heard at the local, state and national level and even last year got the Ohio Estate Tax repealed, to name just a few.

I believe that through hard work as a member/volunteer I am helping get the message of agriculture and Farm Bureau out to the many people we serve and to future members. I believe without this organization farmer’s would have lost their voice a long time ago.

I encourage you to get involved and to be a part of the process. We may not always get the answers or outcomes we want, but we listen to our members and try to get an outcome that is beneficial to our members.

Ben Ream

Stark County Farm Bureau President

Massillon, Ohio

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