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Published May. 10, 2013 | Discuss this article on Facebook
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Darren Frank, OD

Are you the face of Farm Bureau?

Over my many years of working with volunteers at Farm Bureau I thought about what it takes to be a Farm Bureau volunteer.  We have many areas that people can volunteer.  Some of my volunteers are board members.  They faithfully attend board meetings and give input about the many items we discuss.  They are the leaders of the organization.  They are usually the first to attend regional and state meetings and report back to the board what information they have gathered and what action needs to be taken, if any.  I guess I would have to say these board members are the core of the organization. We rely on them to reach out and get new people involved. I also hope they share what they do as a Farm Bureau volunteer with other perspective volunteers.

We also have volunteers that I see on a less frequent basis than my board members.  These volunteers may work a shift at the county fair booth or help out at a yearly event, such as a farmers’ share breakfast or an ag in the classroom event.  Or maybe they volunteer to speak to a civic organization and tell their story about agriculture.

We also have volunteers that are members of “Community Councils”, formally known as Advisory Councils. A Community Council is a group of friends that gather together to discuss education, grassroots involvement, member action and fellowship all rolled up into one.  These Community Councils discuss topics relevant to agriculture and our community.  It is our hope that these councils will then report back to the county Farm Bureau with the results of their discussions and community involvement.

So as I continue to look for ways to engage new volunteers I would like to ask the following question of my members: Are you the face of Farm Bureau?  Would you like to become more involved? Maybe as a board member or a volunteer at the county fair? Or maybe as a member of a Community Council?  If so, continue on to find out more.

COMMUNITY COUNCILS

Ohio Farm Bureau believes that a volunteer organization must have widespread participation of its members if it is to be effective. Undergirding this belief is the genuine faith that people have the capacity to do something about their mutual problems if they are helped to the means through which they can work together.

Ohio Farm Bureau’s community councils program is the means to do this.  Councils exist to make a difference in the community by identifying and helping to solve problems. The focus of community councils is local issues, educational issues, economic development, governance and political engagement, farm family needs, and Ohio Farm Bureau philosophy and policy.

The success of councils is largely based on the fact that group discussion is the method and problem solving is the goal.  Through experience, Farm Bureau has found that councils, working together, are an effective way of stimulating and joining the efforts of the many members ready and willing to identify and engage in issues and participate in the activities of the organization.

The ultimate goal is for councils to go beyond talking about the issues to taking action. Every council should think about how to become engaged in its respective community and with the local Farm Bureau. What activities can be done to promote economic development? How can your council encourage or engage in agricultural education? What if you provide political engagement through attending a candidate’s reception, or visit a Farm Bureau board meeting or an action team committee meeting? Is it possible to partner with other councils to sponsor an estate planning meeting? These are just a few of the many activities you, as a council, could get engaged in.

FRIENDSHIP AND FELLOWSHIP

Community councils provide an informal atmosphere for fun and fellowship.  Meeting on a regular basis helps individual members grow to become great friends.  The way the meetings are structured is up to you: Many participants plan to meet based on their own work schedules, and council members look forward to the time they have reserved to relax and enjoy the company of good friends.  Several councils include their children as a part of their meeting and some choose not to.  Almost all councils have food of some form at each meeting.  Some councils have light snacks while others have full meals.  Each council decides the details based on their personal preferences.

ARE YOU INTERESTED?

The council program combines education, grassroots involvement, member action and fellowship all rolled up into one.  Community councils give you the opportunity to gather how you want, when you want and with whom you want.  In fact, Farm Bureau is taking advantage of modern information technology. Be sure to visit Ohio Farm Bureau on the Web at http://ofbf.org/get-involved/community-councils/ for the latest methods members can use to provide Farm Bureau input and how community councils can access information for use in their meetings.

Here is your opportunity to speak out and make an impact on behalf of your family, your community and your industry.  If you decide that you want to start a new Community Council I would be happy to get the packet to you with all of the items you will need to get your council up and running.

After all, maybe you are the face of Farm Bureau!  I believe the success in a volunteer organization is to always be looking to involve new potential leaders and just maybe that is YOU!

Sincerely,

Darren D. Frank,

Organization Director

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