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Arkansas Farm Bureau.

Farm Bureau -- Still Speaking Out For Farmers After Almost 60 Years

This is the year of Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation's 59th convention. We've come a long way from our humble beginnings. When we began in 1934, we were a small group of farmers without a voice. Today, we are more than 180,000 farm and rural families in Arkansas who, when we speak with our one voice, are heard.

We have had a very good year in 1993, accomplished through membership growth, action and close attention to finances.

This also has been a very busy year. We've set goals and worked toward them, one by one.

One of our recent long-range goals has been to improve our communications, both internally and with the public. We have improved our video production capabilities and are providing regular issue-oriented features for county boards of directors and other leadership groups within the county Farm Bureau.

At the same time, we offer the consuming public news with an agricultural slant via News-Source, our call-in service for commercial radio stations.

And, we've stepped up our public advertising efforts to demonstrate to our urban neighbors in Arkansas the importance of agriculture in our state and in their own lives.

Our 1993 membership has topped 180,000 farm and rural families, and we're really proud of that. This marks the ninth straight year of growth for our organization and is another all-time high.

We truly value this milestone, for it is an achievement that indicates our organization is in tune with the needs and desires of the average Arkansan. It is, perhaps, most significant that 92 percent of our Farm Bureau members across the state repeatedly renew their memberships year after year. This is a vote of confidence that we in leadership roles, whether as volunteers or professional staff, do not take lightly.

Through our Young Farmers & Ranchers program, Arkansas Farm Bureau continues to stress the importance of our rural youth and the vital roles they play as future leaders of our organization.

We sponsor various training camps, too, and work hard to ensure our YF&R program a meaningful place within our organization.

We also have traditionally supported 4-H and FFA programs, and we continue to do so with great enthusiasm. With our Farm Bureau Short Scholarship, established to honor our first state president Romeo E. Short, we annually help sponsor 10 worthy students studying agriculture or home economics at the University of Arkansas. Our Farm Bureau Marvin Vines Scholarship, set up in memory of that long time Arkansas farm broadcaster, each year helps a deserving student studying broadcasting at Arkansas State University-Jonesboro.

Additionally, many of the 76 county Farm Bureaus throughout Arkansas annually award their own scholarships to deserving local young men and women studying some facet of agriculture or home economics in college.

We have placed computer equipment in 154 vocational-agriculture departments in the schools of the state and have instituted an accelerated market education program in cooperation with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.

In the legislative arena, we have spent much time dealing with regulatory issues--and this has become critical with regard to the environment. In recent months, we worked to bring together a coalition of agricultural groups under the Farm Bureau umbrella to address certain environmental regulations and to improve the farm community's public image.

We have gathered background information for our county Farm Bureau leaders to utilize when they craft Farm Bureau's stance--its policy--on the wide range of issues that affects the daily lives of our state's farm and rural people. As time passes, it is increasingly difficult to get policies implemented that the delegates have developed. We see it simply as a job that must be done, however, and we pledge our best efforts to the task.

Through the years, we have been fortunate to have strong and healthy affiliated insurance companies that have escaped, for the most part, the worst that Mother Nature can throw at us--and still provide our membership with fast and fair service. For the past several years running, Arkansas Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. has been designated by a prominent rating bureau as one of the 50 best firms in the country.

Our agency force of 321 career agents has worked daily to provide insurance services our members have desired. Our claims adjusters have been prompt in settling those claims where they occurred. We are determined to continue to provide the best possible service.

The staff of Arkansas Farm Bureau understands the organization and is absolutely dedicated to its purpose. Along with the county office secretaries and volunteer leaders, we strive to address day-to-day problems in a competent manner. We hope that our efforts merit the confidence and trust of our members--and our urban neighbors.

We look forward to the challenges of the future with a positive attitude--and we say "Thanks" to each and every member who actively supports our proud organization and brings to it the spirit of cooperation that binds us together.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Journal Publishing, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Aug 16, 1993
Words:830
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