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Idaho Farm Bureau 2021 Convention

Idaho Farm Bureau 2021 Convention

(Opening banner, Music, dancing)

There were both familiar and new sights and sounds at the 2021 Idaho Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting. The convention was held at the Shoshone – Bannock event center in Fort Hall and included a cultural celebration with a performance by the Spirit Horse drum group, and an assortment of dancers performing various traditional native dances. This year’s event was held in person, unlike the previous year, where because of the pandemic, meetings were held remotely over zoom.

“We were really thankful and happy that we didn’t have to go back through that this year because again, we had five locations and we were in another location and so we had groups and it was just hard to navigate. Much easier and much more efficient and effective being here today face to face,” said Bryan Searle, President of the Idaho Farm Bureau.

“To be able to visit with people, see expressions on their face and mingle together, that’s what we’re about. People, we’re social and it’s also opportunities to actually take care of business. So much more effective,” said Searle.

“If you want to take your seats we’re going to go ahead and call our house of delegates to order.”

“You know, the whole purpose of this is to establish policy for Farm Bureau and our members have worked on resolutions all year long, and now they come together after it’s gone through all these steps to meet in the house of delegates where there’s two representatives from every county and we go through the process. And what passes goes into a policy book and becomes our policy that will go forward into this next year to defend agriculture and promote agriculture,” said Searle.

“I think one of the most important things to realize about the Farm Bureau is it is the biggest organization in the country of unified farmers, and also in the state. It’s a way for you voice to be heard. When there are problems coming up in agriculture, you want to be there at the table with Farm Bureau,” said Bonneville County Delegate Andrew Mickelsen.

“Every one of those debates and discussions that we have there, they’re important.” “We only have a couple days here where we talk about those really important issues an put them in our book. They all matter,” said Mickelsen.

There was also a new format with the leadership learning sessions.

“We wanted to change things up and so we did, an opportunity we put us all in one room. It was a little noisy but there was six areas with different presentations going on with some desserts in the middle for people to interact and mix,” said Searle.

“Every presenter will go for just about 25 minutes, maybe up to 30 minutes. They’ll just give you the first session to understand what they’re about, and then we’ll rotate.”

And when it was time for the next presentation… -Cowbell ringing- …there’s nothing like a little cowbell to get their attention. Alright, next session for next 25 minutes is beginning.” “Yeah, just like the farm.” – laughs –

There was even a demonstration of a mechanical rock picker.

“I want you to come up with a guess for the whole room.”

A variety of games entertained folks between events, with a variety of prizes.

Another new event was a cornhole competition in the hallway.

“I wasn’t very good, I don’t know if I hit the board very many times, but we laughed, we had fun, and the biggest problem was there was too many teams that just kept signing up. And that is a very great success to the event, so we’ve had times to network and times to get down to business and take care of business and that really the big change this year is the networking, the interaction, the laughs as well as taking care of things,” said Searle.

During meals there were multiple presentations from Farm Bureau leadership, tributes to valued employees, and the presentation of the President’s Cup Award.

“I think I’d just add that we’ve got the strongest, greatest members there are. They have passion and love for Farm Bureau, and I personally just thank them and our professionals who work in this great organization. This year to be able to come back together, reunite, we’re going forward stronger and as we work together and looking forward to the future.”

And in case you were wondering about the Young Farmers & Ranchers and the discussion meet finals, we’ll have another story about them coming up soon!

For the voice of Idaho Agriculture, I’m Paul Boehlke.