Ohio Farm Bureau’s 2017 membership campaign is unique in three significant ways—it comes off a year that achieved active member gain, it brings with it a newly formed membership team and everyone is working within a new campaign time frame.
Farm Bureau saw an increase in its “active” membership in 2016, with 61,459 Ohioans now active members, continuing the organization’s status as Ohio’s largest and most inclusive farm and food organization. Seventy-five county Farm Bureaus increased their active membership in the past year. A record eight Farm Bureau members won the Murray Lincoln award for signing 50 or more new members. In addition, 121 members earned the Ambassador Club award for signing a minimum of 10 new members.
Ohio Farm Bureau traditionally represents about 80 percent of the farmers in the state, and these farmers are now joined by others who have a direct stake in the issues advocated for by Farm Bureau.
This year, a new team is being put into place to enhance membership growth, led by new Senior Director of Membership Paul Lyons, a 22-year veteran of Farm Bureau.
“We are in the process of building a membership team to support the organization in its overall growth plan,” Lyons said. Major components of the plan include more sales training for volunteers, organization directors and county office administrators, establishing a unifying theme for counties and the state and more support with technology and prospecting.
The team also includes Dan Rapp, senior director of member retention and health benefits, and Tim Hicks, business development field director. More additions to the membership staff in the future include a director of membership sales and a business operations specialist.
“This team will work very closely with the regional supervisors and organization directors in growing the organization in each of our 86 county Farm Bureaus,” Lyons said. “Counties are holding their annual membership kick-offs from Jan. 16 through Feb. 18, and we would like to invite our members to come to these events so they can learn how they can help the organization grow by asking a friend, family member or neighbor to join Farm Bureau.”
Membership in Farm Bureau is not limited to the active category, according to Keith Stimpert, Farm Bureau senior vice president of organization. The community membership is for “anyone interested in local foods, property rights and protecting Ohio’s family farming heritage,” he said.
This year’s membership campaign ends March 31. Contact your county Farm Bureau for more information.