With an approach to membership recruiting that is a blend of local action, state and national advocacy and a need for strong viable farms, Bruce Patterson, Portage County Farm Bureau member, said, “Always be ready to laugh, have fun and smile so that you can get one more membership today. Your passion should show.”
Less than one month after the Portage County Farm Bureau membership campaign kick-off, Patterson has signed 10 new members and more than 30 membership renewals. These achievements make him among the first in the state to receive Ambassador Club status this year. The Ambassador Club recognizes those that sign 10 new members. Winners receive a jacket and are recognized at the Ohio Farm Bureau Annual Meeting.
Each year Patterson approaches many people about joining Farm Bureau. He often uses lists Portage County Organization Director Nick Kennedy provides. Some of the lists include people who are receiving CAUV but have not become a member of Farm Bureau, those who have attended gas leasing meetings in the county or people who stopped membership at some point. He also goes to local businesses each year. Bruce believes in the organization and its goals for agriculture.
“His passion for Farm Bureau shows when he talks to prospective members about joining. His favorite piece to use when selling a membership is the Buckeye Farm News. Telling folks how much it keeps you up to date on agriculture issues in Ohio and the U.S.,” said Kennedy.
“Everyone that eats food should feel a sense of responsibility to food production since we all eat. In the past farmers made up near 95 percent of the population, and now farmers represent less than 2 percent of the population,” Patterson said. “Agriculture is the largest industry in Ohio and all businesses rely on agriculture to survive. Since we in the U.S. only spend about 10 percent of our income on food, with Mexico spending 26 percent and India spending 50 percent, we have reason to be proud.”
When approaching people about becoming a Farm Bureau member, Patterson shares the importance of agriculture to everyone and explains what Farm Bureau is. He also shares what the dues go towards, and a few local examples of Farm Bureau in action.
Patterson then lets them know about the advantages of becoming a member, and shares a list of member benefits while specifically highlighting some benefits that would interest that individual.
“When I am sharing about the Farm Bureau, I show the benefits flyer, 2011 Farm Bureau legislative accomplishments and a membership application,” said Patterson. “At some point I indicate in the long run I would like to have everyone in the business become a Farm Bureau member.”
Patterson, who lives on a 50 acre beef farm, has been recognized for his efforts recruiting new Farm Bureau members in the past. In addition, he was a Murray Lincoln Award winner in 2010 for signing up more than 50 new members. He was also an Ambassador in 2011.
Murray Lincoln winners are recognized with a plaque at the OFBF annual meeting and another gift ranging from a trip to the American Farm Bureau’s annual meeting to a $500 Nationwide Bank Visa gift card.