Ohio Farm Bureau’s new Executive Vice President Adam Sharp has a vision for the future of the organization, and it includes both building on Farm Bureau’s roots, while expanding its reach into the food sector and related agricultural industries.
Sharp, who plans to tour the state and talk to members in every county in the next year, notes five key areas he believes Farm Bureau should focus on and expand upon as it approaches its 100th birthday in 2019.
What will make Farm Bureau stronger?
By building a team culture between county Farm Bureaus, state Farm Bureau and American Farm Bureau. We can only be a strong organization if we have all three entities be as strong as they can be.
What are the goals of our membership model?
We have a new membership model, but now we have to have a plan behind that model. One of my major goals is that we’re ready to be the “new” Farm Bureau as we turn 100 here in a couple of years – that we know who we are, what kinds of programs we want to offer (to our members), what kinds of services and how we’re going to work on (building) our membership.
How does Ohio Farm Bureau protect farmers?
We need to protect our agricultural community and our Ohio food system. That includes ag production, obviously, as a core part of who we are, but it also includes working with our friends in agriculture education and agribusiness and across the food chain with our allies.
How does finding alternative revenue sources affect Farm Bureau and membership?
There are all kinds of opportunities and we have a lot of revenue sources now, but we need new ideas. We need to know what our members need and want (from Farm Bureau). What kinds of new programs and services (would be beneficial to our members). We have a number of very successful programs and services now, but we’re always hearing ideas for more.
How does diversifying membership help accomplish our goal of benefiting all agriculture?
We need more diversity in agriculture. We need to have programs for leadership development for women and minorities in our organization. Almost two-thirds of the students in (the Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Science) are women. We need to find ways for women to move into leadership roles at the national level (of Farm Bureau). It’s going to be important for our industry as we move forward. We need to find ways for youth to move naturally into our organization from 4-H and FFA, which are terrific development programs for youth. Our Young Agricultural Professionals program is growing tremendously, and we want to keep growing that energy that has developed over the last several years.
Learn more about Sharp’s ideas for Ohio Farm Bureau directly from him via video.