Fall is here, and winter is not far behind. As your family and friends complete harvest and get ready for the holiday season, take some time now to plan for lively discussion at several Farm Bureau Community Council meetings.
This packet has four new discussion guides that should give your group a few options for their meetings scheduled in October – December. Remember, you are not limited to these materials – Feel free to discuss additional topics and issues generated from the local newspaper, other publications and/or key events happening in your neighborhood.
Topics for discussion included in the most recent discussion packet:
A cooperative (“coop”) or co-operative (“co-op”) is a self-governing group created to share economic, social or cultural benefits. During the first half of the twentieth century, farmers used cooperation to create self help programs and services. Several successful businesses can trace their roots to a Farm Bureau service cooperative or member association.
Cooperation is still being used today. Non-profit organizations are creating consumer coops to provide specific services. Employers and employees are forming worker coops to provide additional job benefits. Many folks are realizing that the local credit union is a combination consumer and worker cooperative, too.
How well do new generations of farm, rural and urban residents understand and appreciate cooperation? Are there local needs and issues that could be addressed by the self-help and governance principles of a coop? How should Farm Bureau share its collective experience and get involved in the process?
In simplest terms, sustainable describes something that is capable of being supported or upheld; in many cases, indefinitely. Some community stakeholders apply sustainability principles to environmental and ecological issues. Others apply the concept to economics. Still others explore politics and social issues. How we define justice and how we address cultural and community issues long term are vital.
Sustainability means that all of us are going to be involved in creating a variety of proactive and innovative quality of life strategies. What points should have major consideration and where do you strike a balance as sustainability plans evolve? How should Farm Bureau members be involved in these activities?
Many farms throughout Ohio and the nation are owned by extended families. Several family members act as owner-managers specializing in different parts of the operation. Families often contract outside firms to handle some farm tasks such fertilizer and crop management applications, harvest, processing and/or transport, too. Will there always be enough “cousins” around to handle increasingly special operations, as well as getting the everyday chores done?
What is the future of farm labor? What educational, technical and workforce development resources are needed? What skills will be assumed by family members, specialized service providers and/or general laborers? How are all job positions going to be filled to ensure the farming operation’s success?
Recent trends indicate that local government funds are being reduced. Counties, townships and municipalities are being challenged to provide vital services, improve infrastructure, help attract and/or retain business, as well as support social, economic and environmental quality of life initiatives. How will these institutions continue to address public concerns? What traditional strengths need to be preserved? Are new, innovative strategies needed? How will community stakeholders be involved in local programs and activities?
Keep in Touch with Farm Bureau
Need some additional help? Contact your county Farm Bureau office for assistance. Please let Amy Hurst know if you need more forms or have questions via e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 614.246.8262.
Remember to send your council meeting forms and correspondence directly to your county Farm Bureau. Many of Farm Bureau’s action plans started with conversation around a kitchen table, living room or front porch; lively discussion continues to develop using web applications, too. Your participation as a community council member makes sure that our organization continues to focus on critical issues, create better policy and helps people work together to get things done.
Learn more about community councils.