Influencing the Political Process through Farm Bureau Policy Development

Several years ago, New York Farm Bureau staff began engaging hop growers and craft brewers on ways to take their respective industries to the next level. The result of these discussions was the introduction and successful passage of the Farm Brewery Act in 2012. Additional amendments were successfully added and approved this past year.

The craft brewing, hops and barley sectors of agriculture in New York are growing exponentially. The question moving forward is, how do we continue to grow these very important parts of agriculture and what legislative policies need to be in place to accomplish the goals of these respective segments?

Enter New York Farm Bureau and the fifty two county Farm Bureaus across New York State. Farm Bureau is the largest, grassroots advocacy organization representing the rural landowners as well as the food and fiber industries. We have over 22,000 members statewide and over 6,000,000 members nationally.

Each year, Farm Bureau members congregate at their respective county Farm Bureau annual meetings in October to begin formulating policy initiatives. Some of those policies remain local and may deal with land use planning, local taxes or other issues. State and national policy recommendations are forwarded to New York Farm Bureau for consideration by their county Farm Bureau delegates at our State Annual Meeting in December, held this year in Rochester, NY on December 9-11.

So how do you as a brewery owner, brewer, or grower influence Farm Bureau Policy? First, join today! Farm Bureau has been supporting the craft brewing industry for years by instigating both legislative and regulatory changes that have benefited the industry.

You can join online at www.nyfb.org. or contact me for a membership application at mjames@nyfb.org. Then, join fellow members of the ag industry at your county Farm Bureau Annual Meeting and introduce your policy ideas for consideration.

A schedule of those meetings and locations is listed at: http://www.nyfb.org/img/uploads/file/2014_County_Annual_Meeting_Dates%283%29.pdf.

The wording of your policy resolution does not have to be perfect. We have trained field advisors across the state that can assist you with the proper wording. The important thing is to have your idea become part of the conversation.The bottom line can be summed up with a phrase that current NYS Deputy Secretary of Agriculture (and former NYFB staffer) Patrick Hooker has often used, “The world is run by people that show up”. I encourage all of you to join Farm Bureau today and begin participating in this truly unique democratic process this fall.

Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.

POLICY DEVELOPMENT CHART

Mark James