Helping volunteers help themselves through advocacy

By Pete Hanebutt, NDFB Public Policy Director

Without volunteers, NDFB would not exist. So, it’s nice to provide those dedicated folks with opportunities to help chart our course in public policy activities and to share their personal stories with policy makers.

While we’re in annual meeting mode, I get to see many fresh faces and meet new Farm Bureau members. The district resolutions process also gives me a chance to meet folks who are getting involved in policy development for the first time.

The summer and fall meeting season puts several NDFB staff members on the road a lot. You might think many nights a week away from home with late-night driving would  tend to burn us out. But I think the opposite is often the case. It’s invigorating to see new growth in county Farm Bureaus.

For me, this past week was a fitting example of that.

I started my week at the McIntosh County Farm Bureau annual meeting. They have two new county board members who are both young farmers.

McIntosh - Rocky1

The following evening, I was at the District 6 resolutions meeting. The District 6 Director, Nathan Fegley, is a former YF&R Committee member. The current YF&R Chair, Joe Sheldon also attended the meeting. It’s not all about young people though; Bottineau County also brought a new board member to the meeting. Don Antram is the FFA instructor at Westhope, and brings a wealth of experience to Farm Bureau.

District 9 held its resolutions meeting on Wednesday and five new board members representing Adams County were in attendance. It was heartwarming, to say the least! In addition, this district has the Dickinson State University Collegiate club, meaning there are always a few first-time participants.

2017DSUCollegiateDM
DSU Collegiate Farm Bureau students participate in the organization’s Discussion Meet.

My highlight of the week, however, was having NDFB host a meeting with Senator Hoeven in our Bismarck office. Both Burleigh and Morton counties had new board members attending this meeting.

Hoeven listening session 1
Seated facing camera from left: Senator Hoeven, NDFB President Daryl Lies, NDFB Vice President Chris Brossart, Burleigh County Farm Bureau board member Eric Quale, Morton County Farm Bureau board member Toby Olin.

What a wonderful opportunity for these two guys, who are fairly new to Farm Bureau, to have a face-to-face small group meeting with their United States Senator.

Our organization opens doors, expands horizons, and inspires leadership within the farm and ranch community, and I couldn’t be prouder.

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