The Farm Bureau of America is an umbrella organisation covering fifty state farm bureaus. Founded in 1911, it exists as the Voice of Agriculture and to work for strong and prosperous rural communities. Besides providing a voice for farmers, it offers other services, but its position on climate change has been strongly criticised by ecologists. This article provides you with a guide to the Farm Bureau of America.
Origins and purpose
The first farm bureau was founded in 1911 by a farmer, John Barron, in Broome County, New York. Originally it was linked to the Broome Chamber of Commerce, but the two organisations soon split. Farm bureaus began to spring up at county level and then at state level. Now, each state has a farm bureau, and there is an affiliate in Puerto Rico. All are affiliated to the federal organisation
It is a non-profit-making organisation, whose original purpose was "to make the business of farming more profitable and the rural community a better place to live in." The aim was to do collectively what could not be done individually. More recently, billing itself as the Voice of Agriculture, it declared that the farm bureaus were working through grass root organisations to enhance and strengthen the lives of rural Americans and to build prosperous agricultural communities.
Sometimes known as the American Farm Bureau, it exercises several functions, such as lobbying for farmers and rural interests. It speaks out on agricultural matters to politicians and the press. It originally had an educational function in providing training for farmers and their workers.
However, the bureau offers a wide range of services. Farm bureau health insurance is vitally important in a country with little public health provision. Farm Bureau Financial Services and Farm Bureau Car insurance provide services to rural communities and farmers. The Farm Bureau Insurance Company offers a range of services for life, property and retirement insurance.
Recently, the Farm Bureau has been involved in controversies over climate change. It has taken a sceptical approach to climate change, arguing that there is no scientific consensus that carbon dioxide emissions are causing it ,and pointing out that anti-climate change measures will raise the cost of fertilisers and fuel, thus forcing up food prices and business costs. They were strongly criticised by the Union of Concerned Scientists over their stance, and this issue is ongoing.