Most recently I was given the opportunity to present the morning keynote speech at the 92nd annual meeting of the Kentucky Farm Bureau. It was a fantastic experience and it gave me insight into a segment of True Americana. The Kentucky Farm Bureau is a voluntary organization of farm families and those allies of farming who serve as the voice of agriculture in the United States. The Farm Bureau does many things, including identifying problems, finding solutions, and taking actions to improve farm income, and to enhance the quality of life of farmers and the rest of the world.
The theme of the meeting I attended was “Celebrating Growth” and celebrate they did in Kentucky. The President of the group, Mr. Mark Haney, indicated that the Kentucky Farm Bureau set a new milestone in 2011 by recording a phenomenal 50th consecutive year of membership growth and maintaining the status of only three state Farm Bureaus with 500,000 plus in membership families. In today’s economic climate such growth is unprecedented. The most significant aspect of the growth, in my mind, is that it has all been accomplished by the leadership of the volunteers in the organization. These people are every day American’s who work from dawn to dusk on their own farms, every day, seven days a week, and then spend a few extra hours contributing to the organization they are members of with the aim of improving and advancing agriculture in America and around the world.
By its definition, the Farm Bureau is an independent, non-governmental, voluntary organization of farm families united for the purpose of analyzing their problems and formulating action to achieve education improvement, economic opportunity and social advancement, to promote the well-being of the United States.
As indicated in its own literature, the Farm Bureau is national in scope, nonpartisan, nonsectarian, and non-secret in character. It represents the entire farm population, is self-financed, and acts as a clearing house for agriculture, and as a voice for a free, independent, unfettered organization of farmers. It provides a place for members to bring together the problems of agriculture, compromise differences, agree on solutions, and present a solid front for agriculture. This, in my opinion, is the American Way.
A recent report I read on the internet stated that “America produces approximately 92% of the world’s natural gas.” This, of course, does not include the pontifications of our U-S Senator’s and Congressmen. All the bickering, debates, and conversation has not contributed one scintilla of progress and benefit to the American economy. It seems to me that Washington should take a cue from the work of the Kentucky Farm Bureau and Farm Bureau’s across America. The Farm Bureau is a group of ordinary citizens who meet for the purpose of analyzing what the problems are, formulating action to achieve improvement, economic opportunity and social advancement in their own communities. To top it all off they volunteer their time, energy, and talents to accomplish their goals. This is true, unadulterated, Americana! Thank you Kentucky Farm Bureau. May you have Fifty More Years of unbridled Growth.