Member input an essential part of strategic plan process

The new “Indiana Farm Bureau 2021 Strategic Plan: Defining Our Future” is the result of months of information gathering and analysis.

It started at the beginning of 2016 with the identification of a process for creating the strategic plan. Essential to that process was input from members – county leaders, non-active farmer members, young farmers and leadership.

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"We were dedicated to a quality process,” explained Megan Ritter, INFB executive director of administration, “and making sure we were unbiased in the information collected from our members.”

Members provided input during 20 regional grassroots input sessions around the state in addition to sessions with the State Young Farmer Committee.

Farm Bureau also gathered information from a telephone survey of 300 members under the age of 50 to ensure that this important group – members in a priority demographic who are the future of the organization – were part of the process.

Of the 524 people who participated in the regional input sessions, just over 87 percent of those were voting members. Most of the members understood the organization well and offered a significant amount of input.

The notes, observations and other data from the regional meetings were then collected, collated and organized. The resulting report was then pored over by staff and officers and organized into a plan.

In November, the INFB board of directors adopted the plan. Because it will take more than a few months to implement all parts of the plan, INFB will focus on three areas of the plan for the remainder of 2017:

  1. Grow membership in a consistent and sustainable way.
  2. Improve individual membership experience.
  3. Increase awareness/visibility of INFB and agriculture.

Specific goals will be set for each of these priorities with specific achievements identified for each. The measurable benchmarks that will indicate that the goal has been met will also be established.

As INFB President Randy Kron said in his convention address, “We will constantly ask ourselves: Is what we’re doing building awareness? Are we accountable at all levels? Is it getting us the results you asked for? If the answer is no, we will change our tactics until we can honestly answer yes to those questions.”

Those who participated in the focus groups provided the following information about their farms and experiences with Farm Bureau:

Farm Bureau participation

County board member          63.48%

County committee member   17.04%

State committee member       8.87%

Farm operation

Grain farmer                         50.61%

Livestock farmer                   33.57%

Specialty crop farmer              9.39%

Agribusiness                         12.00%

Retired                                  18.43%

Age

Under 18                                 1.74%

18-35                                     18.09%

36-45                                      6.96%

46-55                                    12.52%

56-65                                    27.83%

65+                                       29.91%