KerrickWilson

Growing Membership 2016: A new membership model for Ohio Farm Bureau

Buckeye Farm News

Farm Bureau active membership is poised to grow as members have some new avenues to invite friends, business contacts and neighbors to be a part of the organization. New, more inclusive membership categories will enable Farm Bureau to engage more members and younger generations through different membership and engagement experiences.

The new model for membership represents more than two years of work and is the result of a statewide membership model task force report that delegates approved at the 2014 annual meeting. County Farm Bureaus updated their codes of regulations this summer.

Following are the new categories:

ACTIVE MEMBERSHIP This category is for farmers or those whose jobs are directly impacted by the health of Ohio agriculture. Benefits include having a voice in Farm Bureau’s advocacy efforts, voting on policy positions, discounts on Nationwide Insurance products and many other products and services essential to the farm and food community.

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YOUNG ACTIVE MEMBERSHIP This category is for members age 18 to 24 who are farmers or whose job is directly impacted by the health of Ohio agriculture. Dues are a flat, statewide rate of $25. Young active members have a voice in Farm Bureau’s advocacy efforts, vote on policy positions and enjoy discounts on Nationwide Insurance products and other products and services essential to the farm and food community.

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COMMUNITY MEMBERSHIP This category is for members who are interested in local foods, landowner issues and rights, protecting agriculture and preserving Ohio’s farm heritage and lifestyle for the next generation. Membership brings invitations to educational forums on issues that affect members such as taxes and property rights to policy updates and unique opportunities to interact with elected officials. This membership level also includes a variety of savings opportunities on everything from insurance to cars to travel and much more.

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Our Ohio Supporter is a new, nonmember category for someone who wants to support the mission of Ohio Farm Bureau. Supporters receive a subscription to Our Ohio magazine and event invitations for $25 per year.

In addition to the change in member and supporter classes, Ohio Farm Bureau dues will be increasing from $46 to $60 (This is the amount per member that county Farm Bureaus pay to Ohio Farm Bureau; Ohio Farm Bureau in turns sends $4 per member to American Farm Bureau for its dues). Each county has its own dues amount and some of those increased in 2014 and some in 2015.

At the state level, dues funding supports Ohio Farm Bureau advocacy efforts for members with policymakers at the state and national levels. Future programming will continue and expand the organization’s work with providing members with legal resources, member communications/services, Young Agricultural Professionals programs and alternative revenue research and investment.

Ohio Farm Bureau is putting more resources in the area of group memberships. Staff members Tim Hicks and Connie Ward are coordinating business development opportunities and outreach to the ag production, processing and related business sectors. Group memberships allow companies to provide Farm Bureau membership for their employees or clients, adding Farm Bureau member benefits, community engagement opportunities, professional development and other training events to their employee benefits package. Currently, more than 1,100 members are part of group memberships.

Still time to earn awards

The current membership year ends Nov. 30. As of press time, there are 102 Ambassador Club members who have signed at least 10 new members each and four Murray Lincoln Award winners who have signed 50 or more new members. New memberships still count toward these awards.

Lynn Snyder 

Lynn Snyder is senior director of communications for Ohio Farm Bureau.