Livingston reflects on American Farm Bureau Federation experience during session
Cheyenne – During his remarks at the 2015 Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation (WyFB) Legislative Meeting, WyFB President Perry Livingston told members that his term on the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Board of Directors has come to a conclusion.
“I spent the last six years serving on the AFBF Board of Directors,” Livingston commented, “and though I’m still president in Wyoming, I only got to serve six years.”
Thirteen western states of AFBF’s Western Region have five seats on the AFBF Board of Directors, explained Livingston. The Board has 32 total members.
“In the Southern Region, each state has a permanent seat of the AFBF Board,” he said. “This is just the way it has been.”
The Midwest Region has eight seats for 15 states, and the Northeast has four seats for eight states.
“In the last 10 years, we’ve tried twice to put all of the state presidents on the AFBF Board,” Livingston continued. “There are a lot of things that the AFBF Board does that a state president needs to be involved in.”
For example, he cited decisions of a financial nature that affects all membership as being important. Ideally, a vote weighted based on membership would be allowed, but that currently does not happen.
In the Western Region, Livingston also noted that states have upheld an unwritten rule to only serve on the Board for six years prior to rotating off. As a result, Livingston will no longer serve on the Board this year.
“Each state takes their turn,” he said.
“This dynamic has existed in the organization for years, and there are still some challenges we have,” Livingston continued. “I hope that, down the road, we can come to some kind of solution for all the state presidents to be involved as part of the AFBF Board of Directors.”
However, he noted that the decision must be voted on, and the structure of the organization means that there aren’t enough votes in the effected states to pass a bylaw change.
“The Southern Region has the majority of votes at the convention,” Livingston noted, adding that those votes are actually reflective of membership. “For example, Tennessee has 38 voting delegates at convention, but only 600 members. Wyoming has 12,000 members and we have two voting delegates.”
“This is one of the challenges that AFBF sees in the next 10 years,” he commented. “I’m sure there will be other attempts to change the situation.”
“It is a tremendous opportunity for a state president to take part on the AFBF Board of Directors,” Livingston added. “It is a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity that a state president has.”
He continued, “I have certainly enjoyed my last six years, and I would encourage the next president to get involved, as well.”
Also during the legislative meeting, WyFB members had the opportunity to hear from a variety of speakers on topics that impact their businesses.
Keith Kennedy of Custom Ag Solutions looked at risk management options and helped producers determine their attitudes towards risk. He discussed how those attitudes impact decision making on the operation.
Members also heard from Wyoming State Veterinarian Jim Logan on animal health updates and received an update on the Governor’s Water Strategy from Nephi Cole. Finally, Harriet Hageman looked at wolf management in Wyoming.
Look for more information from the WyFB Legislative Meeting in this week’s Roundup.
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.