News and Commentary - Voice of Idaho Agriculture
Searle Takes Reins as 14th IFB President
It is a great honor to be elected President of the Idaho Farm Bureau. My name is Bryan Searle. I’ve been a Farm Bureau member for 30 years. I grow potatoes, alfalfa, grain and canola seed in Bingham County. My wife’s name is Mary and we have five grown children.
I have served on the Idaho Farm Bureau Board of Directors for the past 24 years. Prior to that I attended Ricks College and Eastern Idaho Technical College. I have passion for agriculture and my time on the State Board has taught me a lot about leadership. Through the years I’ve learned that you can’t just stay home and complain and hope things will get better. You have to be involved and my involvement with Farm Bureau has both taught me a lot and allowed my voice to be heard. Now, it’s time to put that training to use and train others who are moving up in the organization.
The Idaho Farm Bureau is the Voice of Idaho Agriculture. That’s not just a catch-phrase. It comes from our grassroots policy development process. We work harder to involve our members and encourage them to come forward with their concerns. Our process is amazing and I’ve never seen another organization that comes close. We have full-time lobbyists in Boise and active volunteers in 36 counties who are willing to testify and stand up for our policies. Because of our policy development process, we have a direction and we know what we stand for when the legislative session starts every January.
One of our biggest challenges going forward is likely to be how we manage and allocate water. Our state’s population is growing and placing more demand on this resource. Increasing the amount of stored water is a critical need for Idaho.
One of our most important tools is marketing. When we work as hard as we do in agriculture, we have to make a return on our investment. We need opportunities and options. We can’t be like robots. Through increased competition we gain the ability to demand better commodity prices and export excess commodities. As a potato grower, I know that even a slight increase in market demand can make a big difference and keep you in business year to year. Increasing marketing opportunities for Idaho farmers will be a priority for me in the future.
Developing sound policy is critical for this organization. We can always do better and as a grassroots organization we need to reach further into our counties and find new members who are willing to give some of their time. We need strong county Farm Bureaus and we need to reach out to more farmers and ranchers around the state who can help make our policy development process even better.
I know that I have big shoes to fill in this new position. Frank Priestley and his wife Susan have dedicated 18 years leading this organization forward. Frank has been a mentor to me and many others who have served on the State Board of Directors. Now it’s important for us to move forward and improve on what many previous leaders established here.
We have faced big issues in the past and more difficult political issues are most certainly in our future. I believe if Idaho’s farmers and ranchers are willing to work together and support each other, we can find solutions that maintain our industry as the vital engine that powers Idaho’s economy.
Once again thank you for your support and please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.