Me vs the Farm Bureau

Each December I receive from the Oregon Farm Bureau a colorful calender with picturesque photos of farmlands, mountains, youth with their livestock,  and other rural scenes. This month the calender hosts a young girl nuzzling the muzzle of her horse, an innocent and rather nostalgic image, reminding me of Rusty, a lovely bay gelding I once owned.

The calender is my perk for sending the Oregon Farm Bureau a check for fifteen bucks  each year, a necessary component to the Country Financial auto insurance I carry. I hadn’t thought much about this until recently, but after sticking myself into the mire of the wolf wars I’ve learned that my dollars are supporting an “agribusiness giant” that does little to assist small farmers or ranchers and does a ton to harm to the environment, including native predators like wolves.

According to Rodger Schlickeison, previous Defenders of Wildlife CEO, “The Farm Bureau is a Goliath making war on environmentalism.”   Schlickeison points out how the Farm Bureau deceives and uses people (like me) who inadvertently join their organization without taking the time to scrutinize the Bureau’s actions.

The Farm Bureau was ruthless in their endeavors to keep wolves out of Yellowstone and currently in every state with wolves they appear in the courtroom battling for the delisting of wolves, as well as the “harvesting” of them.  They spread misinformation and feed fear of wolves and other predators. Check out this article on the Wyoming Farm Bureau site in which a Dr. Charles Kay from Utah State University does a scholarly job in furthering the misinformation the Bureaus love to latch onto.

Once I figured out what a beast I was supporting I sat down and wrote them a letter and sent it along with my yearly renewal, sans the fifteen dollar check. My letter was considerate and thoughtful. I pointed out that it might behoove the Farm Bureau to be informed and proactive,  rather than adhere to antiquated ways of thinking about predators.  I did not refuse to pay my dues, I only asked for reasons to feel better about supporting the Oregon Farm Bureau.

No response. They sent another renewal form and so I sent them another copy of my letter. No response. Until today, when I received notification from Country Financial that my insurance will not be renewed effective May 25 if I do not send my check to the Oregon Farm Bureau  ASAP. No explanation from either entitiy, no apology, no conversation.

I imagine they expect me to send in my check and not make another peep. But this isn’t over yet.

5 thoughts on “Me vs the Farm Bureau

  1. Way to fight, Beckie! Huge probusiness groups like the Farm Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce do much more to damage our country than they do to support the bulk of citizens. Demanding that you donate as a condition of purchasing an insurance policy seems over the line. I had a similar situation recently when I was forced to join the Chamber of Commerce in order to get affordable health insurance. I put up with it as long as I could, but it got to be too much for me and I moved back to an area where there are enough freelancers that associations have set up group health insurance policies. You shouldn’t be forced to support a group whose ideals and actions you abhor in order to get the necessities of life. Any new developments in this standoff?

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  2. Sounds like a bit of a scam, pardon me for being paranoid, but how does this deal work, you are making an individual contribution to a separate entity, which is a necessary condition for getting the insurance? Are they hiding behind this other (shell) company to dodge taxes? I’m curious how their little scam works…and wonder if there is dirt worth digging for there…

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  3. Thanks for your comments, A. Rambler and Nancy Elgin (my long lost cousin, it’s so nice to reconnect with you!)
    I received a letter from the VP of the Oregon Farm Bureau, Dave Dillon. It was a thoughtful letter, but did little to address the predator issues the OFB has been so one-sided about. And he mentions that the OFB, “…supports lethal take in cases where a particular wolf is a threat to human safet or to domestic livestock.”
    First of all, wolves offer only a minutia of a threat to human lives. This just doesn’t happen but perpetuation of this myth continues. Secondly, my question with OFB is whether they are actively educating their members about non-lethal ways to keep wolves away from livestock. This needs to be the emphasis, not eliminating wolves because they might be threatening. Proactive measures to prevent problems are the key and have been successful on ranches all over.
    The Farm Bureau, according to Mr. Dillon, has been connected with Country Financial since 1986, and I still don’t know the details behind this. But it seems fair that we should have a choice about supporting the Farm Bureau. I’m still working on this one…

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