By Glenn Brunkow, Pottawatomie County farmer and rancher
I don’t know about you, but spring is here and I am ready for it. After a cold winter, there is nothing better than the sun on your face that first warm spring day. That same sunshine brings new growth, and we can see our pastures greening up. At first, the blades of grass barely poke through the ground, but soon with a little bit of sunshine and (hopefully) some water the grass grows at an amazing rate.
The growth is incredible and what I find more fascinating is it happens year after year. Fall and winter comes and the top growth dies off only to come back as new growth the next year. Why? The secret is in the roots, the grassroots.
Just like the prairie, Kansas Farm Bureau relies on grassroots to make our organization strong and resilient. They are the source of everything that happens even though they may not always be very visible. Our grassroots are what anchor us in the ground and give the organization a strong footing. Our grassroots run deep; they have been growing for over a century. Without our counties anchoring and supporting, the rest of the organization would not exist.
Our deep roots and wide network are also what make us survive. When things are tough, we cover enough ground to help us to receive what we need to keep going. Just like grassroots bring in water and nutrients, our counties supply the organization with new ideas, hard work and volunteers. In turn, the leaves provide the plant with energy. The Kansas Farm Bureau provides advocacy, support and education back to the counties.
Those grassroots are what makes Farm Bureau such a great organization. It is the fact that each county has its own, autonomous association, then each state is its own entity and the American Farm Bureau Federation exists not because of the states but the counties in each state. Just like the grass plant, nothing else would exist without the county level organizations. All policy and decisions ultimately are made at the county level.
Every leader started out as a member in their home county. Every policy in our state and national policy book started out as an idea at the county level and worked its way through the system. The most effective education, advocacy and community service all happen at the county level.
That is why we can represent farmers and ranchers of all types of no matter how big or small their farms or ranches are. The depth and breadth of our roots is what makes us different from every other agricultural organization and we should be very proud of that. Yes, everyone sees the green grass growing above ground but that green grass exists because of its roots, and I don’t know about you but I am awfully proud of my grassroots.
“Insight” is a weekly column published by Kansas Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm organization whose mission is to strengthen agriculture and the lives of Kansans through advocacy, education and service.