FEDERATION PUSHES AFBF MEMBERSHIP PAST 6-MILLION MARK
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Alabama Farmers Federation's reaffiliation with the American Farm Bureau Federation helped push AFBF's 2006 membership across the nation past the 6 million mark -- 6,200,338 member families.
The milestone was passed as state Farm Bureaus reported 487,823 additional members signed up for Farm Bureau membership in 2006.
The membership gain of nearly 500,000 member families was largely due to the Alabama Farmers Federation re-establishing its affiliation with AFBF. Stallman said he is pleased that members of Alabama's largest farm organization are once again a vital part of AFBF.
Along with 431,384 Alabama member families rejoining AFBF, Stallman outlined a number of membership highlights from the recently concluded 2006 membership year.
This is the largest growth in the history of the organization, according to AFBF President Bob Stallman. The second-largest membership gain for one year was in 1977, when 219,098 new members were added.
According to Stallman, the organization's growth was also fueled by recognition of Farm Bureau's strong record as an advocate for policy positions developed by its members at the local, state and national levels, and on the strength of many outstanding programs and services designed to boost members' families, businesses and standards of living.
"Reaching the 6-million-member mark is a matter of pride for the organization, its leaders and everyone who believes in Farm Bureau's mission," Stallman said. "It has been another challenging economic year for many of America's farm families, due to drought and other factors, but our membership strength will bolster Farm Bureau as we work with our members and for our members to surface new ideas and solutions in the coming year."
The Tennessee Farm Bureau continues to claim the title of the nation's largest state Farm Bureau, with 619,951 member families. Joining Tennessee in the 2006 "top 10" Farm Bureau membership states were: North Carolina, 487,614; Kentucky, 453,123; Alabama, 431,384; Georgia, 429,710; Illinois, 417,618; Texas, 395,854; Indiana, 282,537; Mississippi, 235,125 and Arkansas, 230,076.
Following the "top 10" states in total membership for 2006 were nine other states with more than 100,000 members, including: Ohio, 229,616; Michigan, 201,177; Oklahoma, 166,355; Iowa, 153,401; Virginia, 148,194; Louisiana, 147,858; Florida, 143,979; South Carolina, 130,568 and Kansas, 109,244.
Georgia Farm Bureau, the nation's fifth largest, achieved the largest 2006 membership gain -- 17,024 member families. Tennessee's membership increase of 11,700 was the second largest membership gain. Texas Farm Bureau posted the third highest gain -- 7,991 new members. The Kentucky Farm Bureau posted the fourth highest membership gain with 5,959 new members. The fifth highest increase was Florida Farm Bureau with 5,642 new members.
Following the top five membership gain states, with increases of more than 3,000 members were: Ohio, 4,398; Oklahoma, 3,914; Illinois, 3,768; California, 3,309 and Nevada, 3,308.
Four other states also posted gains of more than 2,000 members: New Mexico, 2,985; Pennsylvania, 2,923; Maryland, 2,896 and Oregon, 2,426.
The state with the largest percentage gain in membership was Nevada with a 19.96 percent gain. Second was Alaska Farm Bureau with a 14.85 percent gain. Maryland also increased by double-digit percentage -- 11.76 percent.
A total of 34 states reached membership quota increases during 2006; this is three more than last year.
"Across the board, Farm Bureau members can be proud of the unified voice for agriculture they have formed across the country," said Stallman.