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On October 30, 1922, representatives from 12 farm Bureaus met in Jackson to form a state farm bureau to promote Mississippi crops.
Today, 100 years have passed since that monumental day, which prompts me to reflect on the influence that this wonderful organization has had over the last century. Here are a few reasons why I believe it has been so successful and why it will continue for centuries to come.
Meets the most urgent needs of farmers
In the early 1900s, agriculture was the No. 1 industry in Mississippi, but it had no voice or a place at the table in local, state, national, and international legislative arenas. With the creation of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, Mississippi farmers gained a single voice that they continue to rely on.
It works as a grassroots organization
One of the distinguishing features of Farm Bureau and other organizations is its bottom-up structure.
Twelve established County Farm Bureaus worked together on the MFBF charter on October 30, 1922. By 1956, all 82 Mississippi counties had chartered the County Farm Bureaus, which were members of the MFBF.
Through the structure of the Agricultural Office – starting from the County Agricultural Office, and then through the state and national level – producers annually evaluate the problems of agriculture and rural life in order to formulate the policy of the Agricultural Office.
Develops innovative ways of solving problems
Since its inception, MFBF has been a leader in the field of economic, technological and legislative development.
In the 1940s, farm families needed inexpensive insurance options, so MFBF helped organize the Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company and Southern Farm Bureau Accident Insurance Company.
In 2010, the MFBF was forced to find new ways to protect the private property rights of Mississippi residents through a two-year Initiative and Referendum campaign, which resulted in this important issue being voted on in the November 2011 general election.
Consumer perceptions of agriculture have changed rapidly in the 21st century, prompting MFBF to pursue innovative educational activities, including the founding of Farm Families of Mississippi, a non-profit organization that uses multiple forms of advertising to promote the importance of agriculture to consumers.
Chooses quality leaders
From the first president, CL Neill, to the current organizational officials, MFBF members have selected outstanding, progressive individuals to lead the organization. These leaders have weathered many crises by advocating agriculture, farmers, livestock farmers and a rural way of life. I am humble to serve among them.
I believe that if we continue to work with these successes in mind, there is no doubt that we will have another century ahead. Although a lot has changed since that day 100 years ago, the goal of the MFBF has not changed. We’re here to create an environment where farmers, ranchers, and members of the Mississippi Farm Bureau can have a better life and live better lives.
Therefore, I would like to wish the organization that has contributed so much to my life and to countless others a great happy birthday!
Mike McCormick is president of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation and a Jefferson County cattle farmer and timber farmer.