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I have had the privilege of working at various duties within Florida Farm Bureau for more than 25 years. That experience has given me a broad-based perspective on the organization.
I have participated in county Farm Bureau events, Young Farmers and Ranchers activities and state office operations. Like many of you, I have also worked to uphold public policies that support agriculture in our state.
What has impressed me the most in this time is the volunteer service of our Farm Bureau leaders and our members. They have been willing to give their time, their labor, their leadership and their money for the good of their communities.
The evidence is all around us. Our people are volunteer leaders for churches, civic clubs, youth athletic leagues, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and any number of other worthwhile groups. They raise funds and supplies for food banks, homeless shelters and special facilities for disabled persons. They are adult role models who continually help to nurture the next generation of responsible leaders in our society.
I see the same kind of community-minded spirit at our county Farm Bureau annual meetings. We routinely have the honor of recognizing individuals and families who have made a difference in their local communities. At nearly all of these meetings we welcome our local elected officials. These officials join us because they know that the people who attend are leaders in their communities.
More importantly, they know that Farm Bureau members contribute so much to the economic life and social stability of their hometowns.
During this season of county Farm Bureau annual meetings I am reminded again and again about how much our members give back to their fellow citizens. They have earned their influence as powerful voices of agriculture and of humanity.
The first and most important purpose of county meetings is to develop final versions of policies that are submitted for discussion and voted on at our state annual convention. The informal protocols we have adopted over the years also give us a time to celebrate our many collective successes of the past year. Great food and fellowship only add to the festivities.
In addition, our county Farm Bureau annual meetings reaffirm our collective commitments. As our Strengthening Family Farms and Communities Initiative has demonstrated, Farm Bureau has always promoted improvements in our communities throughout our state. Economic, social and personal development are part of our identity, they are centered in the core of our organization.
I urge you to attend a county Farm Bureau annual meeting this fall. You will enjoy yourself while you take part in a major civic event. The volunteer spirit and the solidarity of purpose on display will be obvious to you and anyone else who is present.
That same combination gives me tremendous faith in the capability of our organization. I know that whatever difficulties we might face as agricultural producers, we can count on our Farm Bureau leaders and members to be involved. They will always make a difference for their calling, for you and for me.