Across the Table: OFBF Professional Services

My doctor, lawyer and accountant have two things in common with my electrician, mechanic and plumber. They’re really good at their jobs, and they’re not cheap.

Roughly speaking, $100 gets me 15 minutes with my doc, a half hour with my lawyer and an hour with my accountant. My contractors tend to be comparably priced, although I’ve learned it costs less if I just hire a pro right from the start instead of calling them after my ill-advised attempts to DIY.

I’m not complaining about what they charge. I’m not a medical, legal or accounting expert. And while I can eventually knock off the occasional repair around the house, I’d rather spend what free time I have doing something fun with the family. To me, having reliable help is invaluable. Which leads me to wonder, how do I put a value on a Farm Bureau membership?

So much of what Farm Bureau does is hard to put a price tag on. So I tried analyzing my membership the way I measure other professional services: What do I get and how much does it cost?

Part of what you get for your dues is a staff of professionals at your county, Ohio and American Farm Bureaus, who every day take care of things you can’t do by yourself or don’t have time to handle. To guesstimate what that’s worth, I did a little research and some “back of the envelope” math.

The government fits every job in America into one of 22 classification codes. I found 14 codes that describe jobs being done by your staff, ranging from administrative assistant to attorney. The codes also give the average hourly wage for each job. So by my loose calculation, the value of the work being done by your staff is roughly $572 per hour.

Sometimes they’re helping you with your specific problem. But most of the time, they’re doing what Farm Bureau does best: working collectively for all members. My co-workers spend most of their time carrying out the policies and priorities you’ve assigned, things like taxes, community and economic development, property rights, leadership development, the environment, public relations, trade, supporting young farmers and youth, energy, health insurance, farm and food regulations, drug abuse, immigration, workforce development, wildlife management, product and service discounts, agritourism, philanthropy and more.

To make that a bit more tangible, last year we saved rural landowners in about half the state more than $15 million in property taxes, with similar savings for the other half coming in the next two years. We reduced members’ legal and consulting fees by some $4 million. Members who used our top four benefit programs for vehicles, food and consumer goods, travel and workshop gear saved almost $2 million. Granted, not every member benefits equally every time, but some more off-the-cuff math says just these few Farm Bureau accomplishments averaged $140 of savings per member.

Whether your metric is affecting public policy or getting a deal on a pizza, the math is simple. For less than $100 a year, you’re getting your money’s worth with a Farm Bureau membership. Many times over.

Professional services that come with your Farm Bureau membership

Eight-plus hours a day for most of 52 weeks a year, Farm Bureau staff provide you with valuable professional services, either individually or collectively. Their work supports your volunteer efforts to advance agriculture and strengthen communities. Here’s a list of the types of professional services* you get from Farm Bureau:

  • Administrative Assistance
  • Business Management
  • Communications
  • Community Development
  • Education and Training
  • Environmental Science
  • Executive Leadership
  • Financial Management
  • Government Relations
  • Revenue Development/Member Benefits
  • Information Technology
  • Legal
  • Philanthropy/Fundraising
  • Political Engagement

*Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics National Occupational Employment report