The American Farm Bureau Federation
(AFBF) and commonly referred to as the Farm Bureau
is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to promoting, protecting, and representing the interests of farmers
in the United States
and is the largest farm organization in the United States.
Members organize social outings, educational workshops, political action and community forums, and other programs and services for farm families.
It is headquartered in Park Ridge, Illinois and has a lobbying office in Washington, DC. It has about 2,800 county farm organizations which in turn elect representatives to state farm bureaus.
The Farm Bureau movement officially started in 1911 when John Barron, a farmer who graduated from Cornell University
and 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 soon separated from the Chamber of Commerce.
Other bureaus on a county level formed across the country.
Farmers meeting in Saline County, Missouri were the first to form a state-wide 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 better 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.
The state and national Farm Bureaus continue to provide valuable consumer information regarding the efficiency and safety with which American food and fiber is produced. Great emphasis is placed on teaching elementary age school children where their food actually comes from.
The American Farm Bureau Federation relocated its headquarters from Park Ridge, Illinois to Washington, D.C. in 2003.
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.