Happens once a year
a gathering of the arms
Illinois Farm Bureau
407,378 members
represented by 342 delegates
from each county in the state
Cars and busses
trains and pickup trucks
the farmers pour in to the Chicago Loop
toting suitcases (and billfolds!)
Delegates and alternates, friends and staff
officers and directors and onlookers
some 2,000 all together attend
Into the exhibit hall they come
greeting one another
happy to be together
Old faces and young ones
from strollers to canes and walkers
they meet and greet and talk to each other
Young Ag Leaders engage
debating issues of the day
bright young folks
educated and well spoken
they compete and are judged
but every single one’s a winner
Politicians come too
to milk the crowd
Friends of Agriculture
The Bureau pats their backs
pays them respect

The capstone moves into place
342 delegates take their seats
Consideration of Resolutions begins
ideas to amend policies or add new ones
gathered from all round the state
sifted, combined and presented
by the TRC, the Tentative Resolutions Committee,
18 county presidents rotated from the 18 districts

Each resolution read, then discussed and debated
sometimes for a moment, sometimes for an hour
the arms of the Bureau, the minds of the delegates
engage and resolve, yaying or naying.
The votes come in sound waves, most often,
a rush of voices competing
the President assesses, sometimes looks right and left
to the astute secretaries, the vice president, the legal counsel
and pronounces the fate, “Passed!”… or “Failed!”
and the body moves on.
46 pages, this year, 2013, plus some added from the floor,
 surfaced just recently, but important to consider.
The delegates march on through
Parliamentary procedure tested:
“Point of Order!”  ‘Move to amend!”
“Ready to vote?”
Finally complete, the policies will gain feet
Thousands of feet, walking to Springfield, to Washington
carrying the ideas for presentation
with some policies becoming bills, and the laws of our land
The astonishing rich soils of Illinois
produce these people
the “Show up” folks
who move our state, our nation
the Farmers of Illinois, America,
who have their arms, around agriculture
producing the food, fiber, and fuel that sustain us.
Lin Warfel
the 2013 Illinois Farm Bureau Convention
the Palmer House, Chicago