County Leader Week: A Time to Recognize and Encourage Local Volunteer Leaders

Posted on Apr 6, 2021

Kentucky Farm Bureau was founded on the principle of grassroots advocacy, a methodology that has served the organization well for more than 100 years.

KFB policy and the priorities for which this organization stands on, begin at the local level. It’s a system which encourages county leaders to be involved, and, quite frankly, is necessary to keep Farm Bureau moving forward, said KFB President Mark Haney.

“As all leaders of this organization have done, I began my involvement at the grassroots level, becoming active in my county Farm Bureau and taking advantage of the opportunities KFB provides to its volunteer members,” he said. “I’ve been blessed to be involved at all levels of this organization knowing it all begins in a county meeting discussing issues that affect those members in their communities.”

In understanding the importance of voluntary local leadership, KFB will recognize April 19-23 as County Leader Week in an effort to bring attention to the value of local leaders and the opportunities and resources they have as members of the Farm Bureau family.

“I began my journey with KFB many years ago when a friend invited me to a local meeting said KFB 1st Vice President Eddie Melton. “Since then, I have continually found opportunities to grow, first as a local leader and later on the state and national levels.”

Melton once served as the state Young Farmer Advisory Committee chair and now chairs the state Resolution Committee, the body that brings forth policy recommendations from KFB districts across the state.

“Our resolutions process is part of that foundation that makes this organization so strong, and most of the recommendations we review and eventually choose for policy comes from our local Farm Bureaus.”

KFB 2nd Vice President Sharon Furches also recognizes the local leadership value having been involved in her county Farm Bureau for many years, something that led her to current roles including  co-chair of Kentucky Farm Bureau’s Vision 100 Strategic Planning Team, and a member of the United States Environmental Protection Agency Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Federal Advisory Committee.  

“Of all the accomplishments I can relate to in the time I have spent in KFB, perhaps the most important roles have been at the local level,” she said. “That grassroots advocacy component is what energizes this organization and it’s where we get our marching orders at the state and national levels.”

Haney said whether local involvement is in the Young Farmer Program, county Women’s Committees, or the soon-to-be Generation Bridge programs, the resources available to local volunteer members should be fully utilized.  

“As the fourth largest Farm Bureau in the country, we have the resources to help our local leaders be the strongest advocates possible,” he said. “When it comes to state and national farm policy, KFB has a seat at the table. And there are more chairs available for those who are willing to step up and be involved when it comes to our organization and our agricultural heritage.” 

Haney also said he hopes this week of recognition helps local volunteer members see the important roles they play in KFB and will encourage them to look for opportunities to learn more, do more, and keep the organization moving forward.

County Leaders can strengthen their skills at any time by participating in Farm Bureau University. Participants can focus on a topics designed to help them grow as county leaders. Learning is made easy and accessible via short videos and resources. Any member can register for Farm Bureau University for free. New users need to register for an account using the member code “kyfb”.