BILLINGS — Over 500 farmers and ranchers gathered in Billings this week to celebrate the 100th convention of the Montana Farm Bureau.
Over the past two years, author and historian Laura Nelson has compiled Montana Farm Bureau's rich history in the new book, "Legacies", that shares Montana's agriculture story.
“I think what's really interesting about studying history is that when we look at the past, I think we can gain some tools to help us prepare for a better future,” Nelson explained. “When we study our agricultural history, we do find a lot of commonalities. We find that we were struggling with challenging marketing prices. Challenging trade issues. Even challenging issues in our rural communities.”
It was from these challenges that MFBF was created.
“Trying to find a collective voice where farmers can come together and make progress for our industry, our communities and our nation,” Nelson said. “We find those same issues a hundred years ago and today.”
Over the last 100 years, issues have changed but challenges remain. Executive Vice President of MFBF, John Youngberg, explained that's why Farm Bureau's grassroots efforts to create policy have stood the test of time.
“It's the way we know that our policy comes from the people,” said Youngberg. “It doesn't come from a corporation. If you're not a farmer or rancher, you're not on that floor voting right now. It doesn't come from anybody else. People know that. When we speak as an organization, we are speaking for those people who are out on the ground.”
Even though conditions are tough in the countryside, Montana Farm Bureau said they will be there for their members for the next 100 years and more.
“The challenges have never been small in our industry,” Nelson added. “The barriers have never been low. We've overcome them over and over again throughout our history. I hope that as our members look forward to the next hundred years that they look forward with hope and excitement and inspiration to know that we can make a difference. Your voice does matter in an organization like Farm Bureau. And we can each take responsibility for making a better and stronger future for our communities and for our industry.”
The Farm Bureau history book, Legacies, will be available in January. Interested parties can preorder the book by visiting www.mfbf.org.