Thanks to the efforts of Ohio Farm Bureau volunteers and staff, the organization had an increase in active membership for the 2017 membership year. OFBF had an increase of 2,146 active members, bringing the total to 63,605. Active members are farmers and others whose jobs or livelihoods are directly impacted by health of the agricultural industry.

“Our campaign theme ‘Together with Farmers’ helped our volunteers, organization directors and state staff deliver a compelling message about the mission of our organization,” said Paul Lyons, senior director of membership. “I am very proud of their efforts to communicate this message and their commitment to grow our organization. That commitment shows in our results.”

A record 15 Farm Bureau members earned the Murray Lincoln award – named after OFBF’s first executive secretary – for signing up 50 or more new members. That’s nearly double the number from last year.

Sixty-three county membership coordinators reached their campaign goal of 4 percent active membership growth. In addition, 59 members earned the Ambassador Club award for signing a minimum of 10 new members.

OFBF staff and volunteers are already starting on the 2018 membership campaign, which kicked off April 1. The membership year is now divided into three semesters: April 1 to July 31, Aug. 1 to Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 to March 31. The primary focus for county volunteers is the third semester when they are typically not as busy with their farms or businesses.

“For county Farm Bureau volunteers, they’re now being asked to put their energy into the last semester instead of trying to do it all year. They’ll still be signing up members throughout the year when opportunities arise, but the emphasis for them is really those last four months,” Lyons said. “This new structure will give the volunteers more time to plan events and build their membership team for the push in the last semester.”

Murray Lincoln winners and the number of members signed:

  • Sparky Weilnau, Erie County (180)
  • Bruce Patterson, Portage County (84)
  • Susan Shoup, Wayne County (63)
  • Ervin Raber, Holmes County (62)
  • Brian Nusbaum, Defiance County (58)
  • Levi Richards, Wood County (57)
  • Chris Weaver, Williams County (55)
  • Marilyn Morrison, Darke County (53)
  • Dean Shoup, Wayne County (52)
  • John Fitzpatrick, Wayne County (52)
  • Michael Ralph, Marion County (52)
  • Daniel Stevenson, Defiance County (52)
  • Barbara Biery, Mahoning County (51)
  • Hal Brehm, Fulton County (51)
  • Paul Morrison, Darke County (50)
Having opportunities to attend leadership institutes, advocate for rural Ohioans on the state and national level, facilitate young ag professionals events, and serve in a variety of leadership positions have helped my skills grow exponentially.
Sara Tallmadge's avatar
Sara Tallmadge

Ashland County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
Mandy Way's avatar
Mandy Way

Way Farms

Business Solutions
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
I was gifted the great opportunity through an Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Youth Pathways grant to run a series of summer camps here. That really expanded my vision of what ‘grow, maintain, sustain and explain’ could actually be.
Jim Bruner's avatar
Jim Bruner

Mezzacello Urban Farms

Farming for Good
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.
Matt Aultman's avatar
Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
So many of the issues that OFBF and its members are advocating for are important to all Ohioans. I look at OFBF as an agricultural watchdog advocating for farmers and rural communities across Ohio.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

Advocacy
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