Early morning quiet
as I walk a long hallway
Murmuring sifts from some doors
as I pad softly past
The farmers have come to town
two thousand
to stew their policy, ideas,
and surface direction for another year
Couples long together
are working their get up routines
teams, pulling together
raising families, crops and livestock,
they feed themselves and 300 others
Push the button
ride the elevator down
street level
workers bustling in and past
the coffee shop full tilt
A young lady, perky,
ready to serve the java, the joe
Folks studying the morning papers
others punching phones, smartly
Up the escalators, off to work
some three hundred fifty folks
every county represented
Jacobs calls out:
“Adams three!”
“All here”, says the county president.
“A quorum present!” is declared.
The stenographer introduced
the silent one down front
whose finger fly as she concentrates, documents
“Education”, declares the worker bee.
“Line 24 amended to read…”
And so it goes for a day and a half.
In the back, in the hallways,
a steady flow of folks, greeting, visiting,
“You gotta minute?” And off they go.
Democracy in living color!
Grass roots ideas
being hashed out
formed into policy
and often into law
The men and women of Illinois Farm Bureau,
the families, young and old
do this once a  year
Lifetime friendships formed, molded,
by common values, goals
More than just jobs
farming is a lifestyle
It’s who they are
inside and out
The ideas flow
first like tiny creeks,
but joining others, amending, growing
becoming mighty rivers
carrying a mighty nation
‘from sea to shining sea’*
this land,
‘the astonishing rich soil of America’**
food and fuel and fiber in abundance
bound together, so strong, yet fragile
“Oh beautiful for spacious skies,
for amber waves of grain.
For purple mountain majesties,
Above the fruited plain!
America, America, God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good, with brotherhood,
From sea to shining sea.”*
Lin, 12/2012, Palmer House Chicago, Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Convention
*”America, the Beautiful”, text Katherine Lee Bates, music Samuel A. Ward
** George Will