You campaigned or received encouragement from your County Farm Bureau president (in Arizona we have 14 active Farm Bureau counties), and earned the coveted slot of being a delegate representing your county at the Arizona Farm Bureau Annual Convention in November 1, 2 and 3. Or, maybe you didn’t attend your county Farm Bureau meeting and they elected you as a delegate. Either way, delegates are sitting atop a golden opportunity to influence agriculture’s most important and hot topics while having an enjoyable time, learning a lot and visiting with fellow farmers and ranchers throughout Arizona.

In preparation for the meeting and exercising your vote, it’s valuable to visit with your County President or Policy Development Chair to learn which policies your county has submitted for consideration at the state level and key policies that other counties have submitted. This is often discussed at your county’s October board meeting, so you’ll want to attend this month’s scheduled county board meetings if one is being held.

Mindy and Randall Claridge were delegates from Greenlee County in 2016. Delegates from County Farm Bureaus around the state discuss and vote on policies that lead Farm Bureau’s work on key issues that will affect agriculture. Delegates should be prepared to weigh in on proposed policies.

Of course, if you were in the thick of your county’s policy development you already know what policy issues are most important to your county. The value of being involved in such discussion is by the time you make it to the state’s November Annual Meeting is that your opinion is established and you’re informed about the issues.

Be sure to register for the hotel and convention, and then it’s on to the convention this year in Mesa, Arizona.

Thursday, November the 2nd is a full day of working on resolutions, as well as hearing from some great speakers. All Farm Bureau policies start at the county level and are discussed, amended and approved by delegates elected by the grassroots members. Working together during the resolutions session, your county delegates will be able to influence the final language to be adopted as state policy or sent on to American Farm Bureau. This may mean convincing delegates from other counties to support your policy positions.

The day ends with an elegant awards banquet recognizing people who have made their mark on agriculture and Farm Bureau. Friday has a great line-up of political and informational speakers that you won’t want to miss. This year we will be releasing the latest economic numbers for Arizona agriculture.

So be sure to get registered and prepared to fully participate in the Annual Convention. You’ll go home to the farm or ranch reinvigorated with new knowledge and new friendships. And you’ll have made a mark on the industry that you love and want to see prosper in our country – agriculture.

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