The Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) Annual Meeting took place December 3-6, 2016 at the Palmer House in Chicago. Approximately 1,500 IFB members and their families were in attendance, including 347 farmer-delegates. 2016 was the 100th anniversary of the Illinois Farm Bureau.
The Farm Bureau is considered a “grassroots organization,” which is derived from the fact that members set policy for the organization. The process begins with resolutions developed by members at the county level and submitted to the Illinois Farm Bureau Resolutions Committee. These resolutions are then presented before the farmer-delegates at the Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting, where each county Farm Bureau has delegates on the floor based on the number of farmer or “M” members within the county. Peoria County was represented by five delegates.
The 347 farmer-delegates then discuss and debate the resolutions. After the annual meeting, resolutions are added, deleted or changed in the Illinois Farm Bureau policy book. Once delegates approve the new policies, they are set for another year until the next annual meeting. Is it always a unanimous vote on the change of resolutions? No, often times there is respectful debate among delegates. If the verbal vote seems to be evenly divided, delegates stand to be counted or ballots are cast to decide an issue.
Governing at the Peoria County Farm Bureau level is done by a 23-member board of directors, including one director from each of the 19 townships in Peoria County and four officers elected at large. Township director positions are elected for a term of two years and can serve a maximum of three terms, for a total of six years. Officer terms are one year and officers can serve a maximum of eight years.
The board of the Illinois Farm Bureau, also known as the Illinois Agricultural Association (IAA), consists of 20 farmer-directors. Illinois is divided into 18 IAA districts, and one farmer represents each of the 18 districts, while the president and vice president are elected at large. Peoria County is in IAA District 8, which also includes the Knox, Fulton and Warren-Henderson County farm bureaus. Our representative director is David Serven, who resides and farms in Knox County. IAA district directors and both officer positions are elected to two-year terms and can serve a maximum of five terms, or 10 years total.
What are the qualifications to serve as a director at the county level or on the IAA Board? You must be an “M” or farmer-member. What qualifies an individual as an “M” member? You must have at least $2,500 of gross annual farm income. This can be from the sale of corn, soybeans, wheat or livestock; cash rent from farmland ownership; or specialty crops such as vegetables, organic produce, farmer’s market produce, Christmas trees, etc.
The citizens of our community volunteer to serve on many boards for organizations, churches, townships and other government entities. These duties are very important to our society, and I’m sure all private and public entities appreciate their honest, unbiased service to others. iBi