Sunday, March 3, 2013 — Blog by Farm Bureau Contributors
Changing with the times
While technological improvements are making it easier for us to communicate with our county volunteer leaders, there is no substitute for face-to-face communications.
Until you’ve looked someone in the eyes and shaken their hand, you don’t really know what is on their mind. Accordingly, during February and March, we held or have scheduled 10 district meetings across the state with our most active grassoots members.
Our most important job as Farm Bureau leaders is to make sure we do the things necessary to keep Farm Bureau growing into the future. So we asked some tough questions and received many valuable responses during these district meetings.
We discussed some of the challenges previously identified by board members and volunteer leaders, such as how to effectively develop working relationships with our elected officials. Currently, around 50 percent of the members of the North Carolina General Assembly are new to office. This makes outreach critical at this point in time.
This change in leadership at the state legislature is indicative of North Carolina’s evolving demographics. As one of the nation’s fastest growing states, population increases have focused on the state’s urban centers. Now, these areas have more votes than our rural counties. So, the majority of the state’s elected officials are representing urban constituents.
As North Carolina continues to change, the issues facing farmers have grown more complex. Therefore, we have realized the Farm Bureau member must adapt to new circumstances. Business as usual is not an option.
It is up to us to present our case as the state’s top agricultural ambassadors. We did just that during our Leadership Conference Feb. 26-27 in downtown Raleigh. Hundreds of our grassroots leaders attended this meeting, listened to the state’s top officials and visited the legislature.
This was a good first step in what needs to be an ongoing conversation with elected officials at all levels of local, state and federal government.