In 1919, a small group of farmers from 30 states gathered in Chicago and founded the American Farm Bureau Federation. Their goal – speaking for themselves through their own national organization. Farm Bureau soon became the voice for agriculture at the national level.
In 1920 farmers drafted a purpose statement that is just as fitting today as our members speak out on the issues:
“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.”
That remains the task of Farm Bureau today.
Washington Farm Bureau was formed in 1920, one year after creation of the American Farm Bureau Federation. The earliest county Farm Bureaus in Washington were Walla Walla, Yakima, Columbia, Skagit, Kittitas, and Spokane, which had more than 2,000 members.
The state office was first in Spokane, then Walla Walla, Ellensburg, Yakima, and Olympia, before moving to Lacey in 2006. The current headquarters was built in 2006 and stands in Lacey, Wash., with proximity to the state capitol.
Many of the early battles for Farm Bureau were to ensure that rural citizens enjoyed the same benefits as their city cousins. This included rural electrification and telephone access, but other goods and services were also needed at competitive prices.
Farm Bureau remains committed to ensuring that our members — residents of rural Washington — have the same goods, services and benefits that are enjoyed by urban citizens.
Today, Washington Farm Bureau consists of 25 county Farm Bureau organizations and is one of the most respected member-services organizations in the agricultural community. We provide a growing range of services to our members from health insurance and banking to the largest retrospective workers compensation/safety program in Washington.