Expanded active member definition helps

As the 2017 membership campaign wound down in March, several membership volunteers had success with a new approach to membership: they reached out to those with jobs that support agriculture in their communities.

Belmont County member Carman Mengon talked to individuals in her community who have jobs that support farmers as a means to broaden Farm Bureau’s membership coalition.

Farm Bureau’s expanded definition of active member that became effective in 2016 enabled her to think more broadly when it came to who to approach about joining, she said. The expanded definition allows county Farm Bureaus to determine active member status for those whose jobs are impacted by the health of Ohio agriculture.

“I had gone to township trustee meetings for years (to make the case for joining Farm Bureau),” she said, with varying levels of success. “I’ve met with a lot of them one-on-one and by phone and that has been more successful than anything.”

Mengon noted that township trustees often work hand-in-hand with farmers in their communities, whether it’s settling a weed trimming dispute at a property fence line or right-of-way access during road construction. “When we talk about not having to be a farmer to join Farm Bureau and we start putting all that together it makes a big difference,” Mengon said.

Fulton County Farm Bureau member Hal Brehm also has made strides in welcoming new active Farm Bureau members into the fold just by asking those who have not been asked before. One of his conversations resulted in a group membership from Pettisville Grain Company in Fulton County, a company he had done business with for years.

He noted that while the new Farm Bureau members who work there aren’t necessarily working the land, they are directly tied to farming. “We are one in the same,” he said. “They are our partners in agriculture.”

Mengon agreed. “They don’t agree on everything that Farm Bureau stands for,” she said. “No one is going to agree 100 percent…but you have that voice to change things and they can, especially with Farm Bureau. We are so membership oriented. Our members mean everything.”

Caption: Belmont County Farm Bureau member and Membership Chair Carman Mengon with County President Andy Barricklow.

Ohio Farm Bureau membership