American Farm Bureau Federation

American Farm Bureau Federation
Farm Bureau office, Pinckney, Michigan

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), commonly referred to as the Farm Bureau, is a nonprofit organization and the largest general farm organization in the United States. The stated mission of AFBF is "working through our grassroots organizations to enhance and strengthen the lives of rural Americans and to build strong, prosperous agricultural communities." AFBF is headquartered in Washington, DC. There are 50 state Farm Bureau affiliates and one in Puerto Rico.



The Farm Bureau movement officially started in 1911 when John Barron, a farmer who graduated from Cornell University worked as an extension agent in Broome County, New York. He served as a "Farm Bureau" representative for farmers with the Binghamton, New York Chamber of Commerce. The effort was financed by the United States Department of Agriculture and Lackawanna Railroad. The Broome County Farm Bureau was soon separated from the Chamber of Commerce. Other farm bureaus on a county level formed across the country.

In 1914, with the passage of the Smith–Lever Act of 1914, Congress agreed to share with the states the cost of programs for providing what had come to be called "county agents," who furnished farmers information on improved methods of husbandry developed by the agricultural colleges and agricultural experiment stations. Eventually, this practice ceased to exist after anger over government subsidization of agriculture.

Farmers meeting in Saline County, Missouri were the first to form a state-wide Farm Bureau in 1915. The initial Farm Bureaus had a social and educational function furthering the extension service efforts, and they have additionally developed a lobbying presence as well.

The American Farm Bureau was formally created in 1919 in Chicago, Illinois. Its initial organization papers said:

The purpose of Farm Bureau is to make the business of farming more profitable, and the community a more suitable place to live. Farm Bureau should provide an organization in which members may secure the benefits of unified efforts in a way which could never be accomplished through individual effort. - Statement originally approved by Farm Bureau members in 1920.[1]

The American Farm Bureau Federation relocated its headquarters from Park Ridge, Illinois to Washington, D.C. in 2003. In 2010, AFBF sold the domain to Facebook for an undisclosed amount.

Each November for the past 26 years, AFBF has reported the results of an informal survey on the average retail cost of a classic Thanksgiving dinner, including a 16-pound turkey and all the trimmings. This 2011 average cost was reported to be $49.20.


An organization independent of the Farm Bureau called FBL Financial Group based in Des Moines, Iowa sells insurance under the brand names of Farm Bureau Financial Services and EquiTrust Financial Services. It also uses the Farm Bureau logo. In March 2007, it reported assets of $12.6 billion.[2]

Climate change skepticism

The Farm Bureau is skeptical of mainstream scientific opinion on climate change, with its official position being that "there is no generally agreed upon scientific assessment of the exact impact or extent of carbon emissions from human activities, their impact on past decades of warming or how they will affect future climate changes." The climate change session at its 2010 national meeting was entitled "Global Warming: A Red Hot Lie?" and featured climate change skeptic Christopher C. Horner.[3] The Bureau is also opposed to climate change legislation, including the cap and trade measures under consideration in the U.S. Congress, arguing that such measures would increase fuel and fertilizer prices for farmers. At its 2010 national meeting, delegates unanimously approved a resolution that "strongly supports any legislative action that would suspend EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act."[4] The Union of Concerned Scientists sent a letter to the group just prior to its meeting pointing out that its climate change position runs counter to that of every major scientific organization, and urged it to support action on climate on change. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has stated that farmers have more to gain from cap and trade than they stand to lose.[4]


  • Bob Stallman, President
  • Bob Young, Chief Economist
  • Mark Maslyn, Executive Director, Public Policy
  • Don Lipton, Executive Director, Public Relations

See also

1935 FDR remarks for the American Farm Bureau Federation on agriculture during the Great Depression


Further reading

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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