Tuesday, February 14, 2017

2017 IFBF Legislative and Commodity Conference

Strolling Buffet draws full house at IFBF Legislative Conference

Boise—The buffet tables were stacked with roast beef, ham at Boise’s Riverside Hotel as more than 200 sat down to dinner. 

The Idaho Farm Bureau’s ‘strolling buffet’ is an annual event where farmers get to dine with  lawmakers from their districts.

“There’s no better way to talk with our lawmakers,” said Idaho Farm Bureau President  Bryan Searle of Shelley. “A phone call or letter is good, but dinner is better. Our Lawmakers like the event because they get to visit with people from back home. This is a fun night but its also grass root politics at its best.”

Theres no speeches at the strolling buffet, no podiums, just a handshake and a smile at the door from Farm Bureau President Searle and Vice President Mark Trupp. The buffet is a unique because of the fun, social nature but also because there’s a concerted effort to leave pressure politics at the Statehouse.

Each table was marked by Legislative Districts. Bureau members visit the buffet table and then sit at their 'district' table and have the opportunity to break bread with their representatives. Lawmakers in turn get caught up on the news from home and issues on constituent’s minds.

“We’re a grassroots organization and this is a grassroots get together, there’s nothing like it in Idaho. Our lawmakers get to bounce ideas off our members and our members can ask lawmakers anything they want, it works and we’ve been at it a long time,” added Searle.

Dinner conversations were lively, with issues ranging from big game depredation to infrastructure funding.


The buffet  dinner was a huge success drawing even more lawmakers than last year, all in all 57 Lawmakers and 20 guests were among the estimated 200 attending.  Over a hundred farmers attended with all 44 counties represented.

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