American Farm Bureau Federation

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American Farm Bureau Federation
Founder John Barron
Type Agricultural organization
Focus Agriculture
Area served
United States
Method Lobbying
Key people
Vincent "Zippy" Duvall (President)
Farm Bureau office, Pinckney, Michigan

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), more commonly referred to as Farm Bureau (FB), is a nonprofit organization and describes itself as 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, D.C. There are 50 state 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 U.S. Department of Agriculture and the 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, the U.S. 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 animal husbandry developed by the agricultural colleges and agricultural experiment stations, which has evolved into the modern day Cooperative Extension Service, shaped in part by political opposition to agricultural subsidies.

Farmers meeting in Saline County, Missouri, were the first to form a statewide Farm Bureau in 1915. The initial 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 founded 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.[1]

The American Farm Bureau Federation relocated its headquarters from Park Ridge, Illinois, to Washington, D.C., in 2003.

Each November since 1986, 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. In 2012, the cost was $49.48.[2]


An organization independent of the Farm Bureau called FBL Financial Group based in West Des Moines, Iowa, sells insurance under the brand names of Farm Bureau Financial Services. It also uses the Farm Bureau logo.[3]

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company began as an insurance company for members of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. It continues to serve as an insurance provider to Farm Bureaus in nine states.[4] Other insurance companies tied to Farm Bureaus include Farm Family Insurance, which serves as an insurance provider to Farm Bureaus in five states, and Country Financial, serving clients in seventeen states.

The Farm Bureau and its state affiliates also own American Agricultural Insurance Company, a reinsurer, and American Farm Bureau Insurance Services, a crop insurer.

Climate change[edit]

The Farm Bureau does not deny climate change, but is opposed to regulation or taxation of greenhouse gases and climate policy that would decrease competitiveness of American agriculture--especially while farmers and businesses of other nations remain unburdened by emission limitations. The Farm Bureau's opposition to climate change related regulation began with cap-and-trade regulation measures, which the Farm Bureau argued would increase fuel and fertilizer prices for farmers. At that time, the Farm Bureau's official position was 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,[5] a lawyer for the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute, a largely industry-backed group that strongly opposes limits on greenhouse gases.[6] 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".[7] Right before the 2010 meeting, the Union of Concerned Scientists sent the group a letter pointing out that its climate change position runs counter to that of every major scientific organization and urged it to support action on climate change. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack stated that farmers have more to gain from cap and trade than they stand to lose.[7]

The Bureau's recent stance on climate change is an evolution of earlier positions. Farm Bureau no longer denies climate change, but remains opposed to non-market based solutions. The Farm Bureau continues to argue that carbon and emission restrictions will raise costs of energy and fertilizer and hamper competitiveness of American farmers. It opposes taxes on carbon uses or emissions, any law or regulation requiring the reporting of any GHG emissions by an agricultural entity, any regulation of GHG by the EPA, and any attempt to regulate methane emissions from livestock.[8]


According to a 2012 article in The Nation, the AFBF retains twenty-two registered lobbyists. In 2012, it was the top contributor to federal candidates, parties, and outside groups with payments of over $1 million; 62% to Republicans. Over the past decade, the AFBF spent $16 million, 45% of the total spent by all of the nation’s ten largest agribusiness interests.[9]

AFBF supported the Fighting Hunger Incentive Act of 2014 (H.R. 4719; 113th Congress), a bill that would amend the Internal Revenue Code to permanently extend and expand certain expired provisions that provided an enhanced tax deduction for businesses that donated their food inventory to charitable organizations.[10] AFBF argued that without the tax write-off, "it is cheaper in most cases for these types of businesses to throw their food away than it is to donate the food".[11]


  • Vincent "Zippy" Duvall, Current President, Elected January 2016
  • Bob Stallman, Former President, 2000–2016
  • Dean Kleckner, Former President, 1986–2000

List of Farm Bureaus[edit]

Bureau Headquarters Founded Insurance Website
Alabama Farmers Federation Montgomery, Alabama 1921 Alfa Insurance
Alaska Farm Bureau
Arizona Farm Bureau Gilbert, Arizona FBL Financial Group
Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation Little Rock, Arkansas 1935 Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company
Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company
California Farm Bureau Federation Sacramento, California 1919 Allied/Nationwide
Colorado Farm Bureau Centennial, Colorado 1919 Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company
Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company
Connecticut Farm Bureau Windsor, Connecticut 1919 Nationwide
Delaware Farm Bureau Camden, Delaware Nationwide
Florida Farm Bureau Gainesville, Florida 1941 Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company
Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company
Georgia Farm Bureau Federation Macon, Georgia 1937 Georgia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company
Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company
Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation Honolulu, Hawaii 1948
Idaho Farm Bureau Federation Boise, Idaho 1939 Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company of Idaho

FBL Financial Group
Illinois Farm Bureau Bloomington, Illinois 1916 Country Financial
Indiana Farm Bureau Indianapolis, Indiana 1919 Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance
Iowa Farm Bureau West Des Moines, Iowa 1918 FBL Financial Group
Kansas Farm Bureau Manhattan, Kansas 1919 FBL Financial Group
Kentucky Farm Bureau Louisville, Kentucky 1919 Kentucky Farm Bureau Insurance
Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company
Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation Baton Rouge, Louisiana 1922 Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company
Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company
Maine Farm Bureau Augusta, Maine 1951 Farm Family
Maryland Farm Bureau Randallstown, Maryland 1915 Nationwide
Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation Marlborough, Massachusetts Farm Family
Michigan Farm Bureau Lansing, Michigan 1919 Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan
Minnesota Farm Bureau St. Paul, Minnesota 1919 FBL Financial Group
Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Jackson, Mississippi 1922 Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company
Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company
Missouri Farm Bureau Jefferson City, Missouri 1915 Missouri Farm Bureau Insurance
Montana Farm Bureau Federation Bozeman, Montana 1919 Mountain West Farm Bureau Insurance
FBL Financial Group
Nebraska Farm Bureau Lincoln, Nebraska FBL Financial Group
Nevada Farm Bureau Sparks, Nevada Country Financial
New Hampshire Farm Bureau Federation Concord, New Hampshire Farm Family
New Jersey Farm Bureau Trenton, New Jersey Farm Family
New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau Las Cruces, New Mexico FBL Financial Group
New York Farm Bureau Albany, New York 1911 Nationwide
North Carolina Farm Bureau Raleigh, North Carolina 1936 North Carolina Farm Bureau Insurance Group
Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company
North Dakota Fargo, North Dakota 1942 Nodak Mutual Insurance Company

FBL Financial Group
Ohio Farm Bureau Columbus, Ohio 1919 Nationwide
Oklahoma Farm Bureau Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 1942 Oklahoma Farm Bureau Insurance

FBL Financial Group
Oregon Farm Bureau Salem, Oregon 1932 Country Financial
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau Camp Hill, Pennsylvania Nationwide
Puerto Rico Farm Bureau San Juan, Puerto Rico
Rhode Island Farm Bureau Johnston, Rhode Island Farm Family
South Carolina Farm Bureau Cayce, South Carolina 1944 Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company
Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company
South Dakota Farm Bureau Huron, South Dakota 1917 FBL Financial Group
Tennessee Farm Bureau Columbia, Tennessee 1921 Tennessee Farmers Insurance Companies
Farm Bureau Health Plans
Texas Farm Bureau Waco, Texas 1933 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance
Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company
Utah Farm Bureau Sandy, Utah 1916 FBL Financial Group
Vermont Farm Bureau Richmond, Vermont 1915 Nationwide
Virginia Farm Bureau Goochland County, Virginia
(Richmond mailing address)
Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance
Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company
Washington State Farm Bureau Lacey, Washington 1920 Country Financial
West Virginia Farm Bureau Buckhannon, West Virginia 1919 Nationwide
Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation Madison, Wisconsin Rural Mutual Insurance
FBL Financial Group
Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation Laramie, Wyoming 1920 Mountain West Farm Bureau Insurance
FBL Financial Group

See also[edit]

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


  1. ^ We are Farm Bureau Archived August 22, 2006, at the Wayback Machine., American Farm Bureau Federation, retrieved December 9, 2011.
  2. ^ of Classic Thanksgiving Dinner Up Slightly This Year, American Farm Bureau Federation, November 10, 2011.
  3. ^ FBL Financial Group financials, Google Finance, retrieved December 9, 2011.
  4. ^ "New York Farm Bureau and Nationwide Insurance announce Strategic Partnership". New York Farm Bureau. Archived from the original on 2012-01-28. 
  5. ^ Winter, Allison (12 January 2010). "Farm Bureau Fires Back Against Climate Bill's 'Power Grab'". New York Times. Retrieved 13 January 2010. 
  6. ^ "Challenges to Both Left and Right on Global Warming". The New York Times. 13 November 2007. 
  7. ^ a b Winter, Allison (2010-01-13). "Farm Bureau wants Congress to stop EPA on greenhouse gases". Energy and Environment News. Retrieved 13 January 2010. 
  8. ^ "AFBF Policy on Climate Change". American Farm Bureau Federation. 
  9. ^ "Whose Side Is the American Farm Bureau On?" – via The Nation. 
  10. ^ "CBO - H.R. 4719". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 15 July 2014. 
  11. ^ "Fighting Hunger Incentive Act will increase food bank donations". Farm Bureau News. 10 June 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]