John C. (Jack) Fisher

Magazine As Metaphor

At least that’s what 94 percent of you said when we asked 3,000 Farm Bureau members their opinions about the magazine, including whether they’d like it delivered to their inbox or their mailbox. Our research discovered your appreciation for the tangible: beautiful covers, creative writing, superb photography and welcoming design. Surveys aside, I’ve talked with enough of you to understand that your connection to this magazine is far more than tactile. It’s emotional. Which makes me wonder: Why?

I used to think our readers were simply agri-curious—eager to have some kind of agricultural experience. But I’ve come to believe it’s deeper than that. This magazine resonates because it captures a culture to which we aspire.

On the surface, Our Ohio’s stories seem to be about food and farming, but in reality, they’re about character, values, principles. The people you meet on these pages are family centric, civic minded, politically aware. They’re respectful of people, animals and the environment. They’re hard working and fun-loving. They are faithful to their heritage and devoted to their heirs. They understand the power of neighbors helping neighbors. They’re always admirable, often inspirational.

If I’m right, if your appreciation for this magazine is because you relate to the values its people convey, then I have an invitation. Don’t just read about these folks. Join them. They, and thousands like them, are in your communities, every day, carrying through on Farm Bureau’s founding principle of working together to help each other. Your Farm Bureau membership can, no should, be about more than opening the pages of a magazine. It should be about you and your fellow members opening doors to a better life.

Like the printed page, membership organizations are another seemingly antiquated concept that are making a comeback. For the past 20 or 30 years, organizations have been on the decline. But I see that changing. Community and interest groups are on the rise, at least the ones that are willing to evolve beyond their traditional institutional rituals. The groups that are growing are cause-oriented, technology friendly, inclusive, nimble, flexible and less demanding of their members’ time. I’d be less than truthful to say Farm Bureau is completely there. But with your guidance, we’re making progress.

Farm Bureau’s structure and methods may adapt, but our mission—to help our members improve their lives and livelihoods—will not. We’ll tackle what our members are worried about—drugs in our neighborhoods, educational issues, political bickering, property rights, food safety—whatever challenges the security of our farms, families or communities. We have the resources—contacts, connections and public respect. As a Farm Bureau member, whether you work on the farm, in factories or offices or live in cities, suburbs or on remote rural roads, these tools are at your fingertips. But they’re useful only if you choose to put them to work. Only if you choose to get involved.

As a magazine, Our Ohio may be old-school, but what we learn from the people on its pages is anything but.

Self-reliance, decency and responsibility are time-honored attributes, still abundant among the members of your organization. Don’t simply admire them. Join with them to make a difference. Take part in the culture that is Farm Bureau.

John C. (Jack) Fisher
Ohio Farm Bureau executive vice president