YUMA, Ariz. - Driving down East 31st street you may see a newer building with a sign reading Yuma County Farm Bureau out front.
In today’s Home Grown, we will take our first steps to learn more about Yuma’s agricultural programs.
As a national, state, and county agency, the Yuma County Farm Bureau (YCFB) is a part of the Farm Bureau Federation.
All members of the county board also automatically become members at the state and national level.
To put it simply, YCFB is the voice of agriculture.
“It’s an association of people who produce and do agricultural production for a living,” said Paul Brierly, board member of Yuma County Farm Bureau.
The Farm Bureau is made up of both staff and volunteers that work to bring up issues that affect farmers from irrigation to immigration.
Issues that are brought up at the county level can also be passed on to state representatives.
Most farmers often join the farm bureau in addition to their specific commodity organization.
“They have to be a farmer or rancher, somebody in production ag and the reason being is they’ve got skin in the game. If the organization is going to fight for a policy, it needs to be a policy that a farmer or a rancher wants implemented,” said Brierly.
YCFB just had their annual meeting to discuss current policies such as transportation.
“Making sure that when they re-do a road they don’t put guard rails that are too narrow and you can’t get farm equipment through. Or some of these roundabouts, they make we make sure they designed them appropriately for big equipment to come through,” said Brierly.
The Bureau works to make reasonable policies that allow the county and farmers to work together.
For example, if there was an air quality issue, the bureau and the county would need to come together to discuss when it is safe to plow the fields to decrease dust kick up.
An important part of the bureau is making sure the community understands what goes into farming.
“Because so many people are so far removed from the farm these days, they want to let people know here’s what it takes to have our production in the United States, and in Yuma County, and in Arizona,” said Brierly.
In addition to reaching out to the community, the Farm Bureau also reaches out to students.
“They teach thousands of kids about different parts of agriculture just so kids get a feel of what it takes to make the milk in the store, and that chocolate milk doesn’t come from brown cows,” said Brierly.
As a voluntary membership organization, if you are a farmer, the bureau wants to fight for you.
“People that want to join in, again if you are in ag production, you really ought to be a member because they are fighting for you on all these issues. And if you’re not in agriculture, again an associate membership is $59 a year and comes with lots of member benefits and lets you help support the ag industry,” said Brierly.
Elections for the bureau happen annually, meaning, the next election is not until next August.
But you can still be a part of the bureau.
You can join any time in addition to being an associate member if you just want to support the bureau.
As an associate member, you get access to insurance benefits, business discounts such as hotels and rentals.
You can visit azfb.org to join online.