July 21, 2003 - Posted at: 9:57 p.m. CDT
JONESBORO, Ark. -- Officers and leaders within Farm Bureau Arkansas are getting educated on education, but they have some homework to do too.
"It gives us an idea of the direction the Farm Bureau feels like that we need to go, and then again, the skills with which to do these," said Mack Hayden, President of the Farm Bureau in Pope County.
The group is gathered at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro at their annual Officers and Leaders Conference called "Tools for Leadership."
Farm Bureau Arkansas President David Hillman explained that education has always been an important part of the annual Farm Bureau policy. A diverse panel has been gathered to speak with members about the state's education situation.
Hillman said, "The purpose of this is not to effect the state policy at this time, but to get people's minds to thinking about the education issue, so that they can give us their opinions, because Farm Bureau is truly a grass-roots organization."
In fact, Farm Bureau calls itself one of America's strongest lobbying organizations. It has full time lobbyists in Little Rock and Washington, DC working on behalf of residents living in rural Arkansas. Hillman said Farm Bureau will be focusing on the issues regarding future changes in education.
"If the legislature determines that consolidation is necessary," adds Hillman, "then we would like to see local input into that consolidation process."