County presidents share advice as recognition program deadline approaches

Volunteer efforts are critical in carrying out the mission of Indiana Farm Bureau. So critical that INFB runs a program each year to recognize and reward the counties that complete the most volunteer activities.

The County Recognition Program (CRP) tracks the efforts of county Farm Bureau volunteers. County Farm Bureaus have until Oct. 31 to report activities completed during the program year.

Counties are given information that outlines core county business requirements and milestones to reach to improve county membership, member experience and image awareness.

At the end of the year, counties are recognized in three categories – bronze, silver and gold – based on their CRP achievements and are acknowledged at the annual state convention. This recognition program is built around the grassroots-driven goals of the organization. 

Most counties go far beyond the minimum goals. Last year, 52 counties reached the highest level of recognition for the CRP, achieving gold status.  New for 2018, INFB will be recognizing counties with a platinum level award for achieving 100 percent voting membership as well as outstanding achievement in the other goal areas.

Benton County Farm Bureau is one of the counties that reached gold status last year. Lana Wallpe, county president, said they don’t achieve gold status for the recognition, but because it helps them fulfill their mission.

“We don’t do it so we can walk across the stage,” said Wallpe. “Those goals in the CRP help us meet our fullest potential, so we do it because that’s what we’re here for.  It makes us a better organization.”

Allen County Farm Bureau also reached gold status last year.  County President Roger Hadley said the CRP helps Allen County to see where its organization needs to improve and where it is excelling.

“The CRP wakes us up,” said Hadley. “We check in on our progress at meetings, and it shows us if there are areas we have been short on that year. It’s encouraged us to reach out to young farmers to join or members who haven’t been involved in a while.”

He also shared some advice for other county Farm Bureau leaders hoping to reach gold status this year.

“Stay aware of the different goals you are working to reach,” said Hadley. “Some of the CRP goals are pretty easy to achieve if the board stays focused on them and keeps track of what they’re doing on a regular basis.”

As October approaches, county Farm Bureaus are encouraged to revisit this year’s CRP and check for areas where progress can be made in the next couple of months. County board members can contact their INFB regional manager for further assistance.

“Every county needs that strong voice for agriculture and if we work together to complete these goals in the CRP, we are ensuring that we are that strong voice,” added Wallpe.