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 Indiana Farm Bureau

Dec. 13, 2011 


For more information, contact: Tiffany Obrecht, 317-692-7823 
Kathleen Dutro, 317-692-7824, kdutro@infarmbureau.org  
Mindy Reef, 317-692-7822, mreef@infarmbureau.org  

Editors: This release includes specific information on Benton, Clinton, Delaware, Hendricks, Henry, Jasper, Kosciusko, Lake, Marion, Montgomery, Newton, Parke, Posey, Putnam, Ripley, Rush, Tippecanoe, Vanderburgh, Warren and Wells counties. Photos are available by contacting Mindy Reef or Kathleen Dutro. 

County Farm Bureaus recognized for exceeding goals 

Twenty-one county Farm Bureaus from around the state were recognized during the Indiana Farm Bureau state convention for excelling at county action goals over the past year. 

Indiana Farm Bureau set goals in five categories for county Farm Bureaus to achieve: membership, member engagement, youth, issue engagement, and public relations and education.  

Delaware County Farm Bureau was recognized as the overall winner for having outstanding activities in several goal areas. 

Membership – The membership goal required counties to execute new member and member retention campaigns to reach 100 percent of the prior year’s voting membership or sign six new voting members, and the counties receiving special recognition for this goal employed distinctive ways to help volunteers reach members: 

  • Lake County’s membership chair created a solicitor packet for each board member. 
  • Delaware County offered an incentive program: Board members who signed a new member received a steak dinner; those who didn’t were served beans.  
  • Henry County board members met to make phone calls to those who had not renewed their membership this year and created a Facebook page.  
  • Hendricks County found ways to be present around the county year-round and sent newsletters covering those membership activities.  

Member engagement – Finding new members to volunteer for activities is a challenge for many counties, but five found unique ways to engage those volunteers or get more than the minimum to reach the goal, which was to find eight new volunteers. 

  • Warren County reached out specifically to young farmers and made a special effort to get members to the USDA crop lock-up.  
  • Ripley County used an essay contest to get two FFA members on their board, and made ice cream so appealing that 11 new volunteers offered to serve it during the county fair. 
  • Jasper County used a variety of methods to get 55 new people involved.  
  • Newton County broke volunteer opportunities into short segments to appeal to more people.  
  • Delaware County targeted members by demographics to participate in issue meetings. 

Youth – Introducing young people to Farm Bureau is the first step in keeping them as members. The goal put forth was for counties to offer least one new activity for youth, change existing activities to engage youth for the first time, or involve youth in leadership roles. 

  • Rush County held callouts for young farmers every month and made a special trip to the Statehouse with just that group.  
  • Marion County continued their efforts with Ag in the Classroom, philanthropy and filling board positions with young members. 
  • Tippecanoe County intentionally filled vacant board positions with young farmers. 
  • Newton County created an animal care program for 4-H exhibitors. 
  • Jasper and Kosciusko counties created programs that introduced FFA members to Farm Bureau and other ag organizations. 

Issue engagement – Five counties found extremely effective ways to take part in meetings that addressed a priority issue. The minimum number of meetings to host, participate or facilitate was four, but these counties went above and beyond just being present, driving discussion and bringing the organization to the forefront of the issue. 

  • Vanderburgh County has been persistently involved in discussions regarding government consolidation.  
  • Clinton County has focused on ways to engage local and state government officials. 
  • Benton County developed a plan of action for engaging local officials and followed it precisely to meet their goals.  
  • Posey County developed a reward program for reporting copper wire theft from irrigation systems.  
  • Montgomery County hosted a meeting of local attorneys and Indiana Ag Law Foundation staff to share information and encourage dialogue.  
  • Wells County took a successful multifaceted approach to handling a proposed fire district. 

Public relations and education – While the goal was to send a five news items and meet once with local media to share a list of farmer contacts, Henry, Lake, Parke and Putnam counties went above and beyond by the variety of earned media tactics they used, including letters to the editor, public service announcements, advisories and giving interviews, as well as making a consistent effort to create a strong relationship with their local media contacts.  

Fifty-four counties met all five goals during the goal period, Oct. 1, 2010, to Sept. 30, 2011.