Common Ground: Policy Reflects Diverse Agriculture, but Shared Vision

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Every fall, year after year, an important piece of North Carolina Farm Bureau’s foundation takes shape. I could not be more proud of this organization’s policy development process, which truly represents our grassroots-based leadership and gives direction to the organization’s efforts to improve the lives and careers of North Carolina’s farmers and rural residents.

North Carolina has the seventh-largest agricultural economy in the nation – and the third-most diverse agriculture. North Carolina Farm Bureau’s volunteer leadership certainly represents that diversity, with members in all 100 counties, representing all agricultural products, farming methods, farm sizes and so on.

So, how does the state’s largest general farm organization, with that great

diversity, reach consensus? I believe we have been able to find common ground every year, without fail, by sharing a common mission: to seek what is good for agriculture, what is good for rural North Carolina and how our business can best continue to improve the state’s entire economy.

We are living in an age of divisiveness, where it almost seems fashionable to disagree. However, I am encouraged as I see as our volunteer leaders work together to develop our guiding policies. By discussing the issues covered in our policy book from a variety of farmer perspectives, we vet them thoroughly, and what filters up represents what is for the greater good of agriculture and by extension, our state. I believe that the genius of Farm Bureau lies in our policy development process.

Through our commodity advisory committees, members who gather at county and district meetings, and the voting delegates who adopt the proposed policies at our statewide annual meeting each December, our focus remains on maintaining a culture of civility and cooperation. Our county leaders and state board have made it a priority to lead in harmony and a shared commitment to recognizing the breadth of what’s good for agriculture. This common vision is what gives North Carolina Farm Bureau its considerable stature at the N.C. General Assembly and in the halls of the U.S. Congress.

The spirit of cooperation we foster extends beyond our own doors. Our state can be proud that its Farm Bureau has strong collaborative partnerships
with Cooperative Extension, land-grant universities, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and commodity groups. When agriculture has strong, aligned leaders behind it, consumers can enjoy knowing their farmers have one less obstacle to delivering an abundant, safe and affordable food supply.

– Larry Wooten

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