The origin of the Farm Bureau followed a different path and didn't occur until shortly after the turn of the century.
Farm Bureau grew out of the Extension education movement occurring at land grant colleges across the nation.
The devastating boll weevil gave an unexpected boost to the concept of traveling professors and field demonstration projects.
The “active” member classification was officially broadened to include individuals whose livelihood is affected by agriculture, meaning those who work in ag-related industries, but not direct production agriculture.
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“And to be blunt,” he added, “we’re going to need all of them.”That change in Farm Bureau to become more inclusive is one of the things that Jack Fisher points to as a major accomplishment of his 20 years as executive vice president of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.
Fisher announced earlier this fall he would be retiring in 2016, and the organization has hired an executive search firm with the goal of naming his successor next spring.
The earliest organizations of farmers began to develop in the late 1800s.
Those groups organized under a variety of names and philosophies, including The Grange, The Farmer's Alliance, The Agricultural Wheel, The Ancient Order of Gleaners and the Equity.
Hirsch rattled off a list of returns that members receive for their dues investment, from policy experts keeping abreast of issues and lobbying on the farmers’ behalf, to the ongoing work on water quality, or to revise Current Agricultural Use Valuation, and responding to public criticism on agriculture.
“What’s the cost if somebody doesn’t do these things? Hirsch said the new membership model makes Farm Bureau more inclusive.