Vermont Farm Bureau participated in several county field days and agricultural fairs between July and September 2022.
photo credit: Vermont Farm Bureau
Looking to introduce Farm Bureau to potential members and get current members more involved in the policy development process, Vermont Farm Bureau in 2022 launched a multifaceted effort that included the creation of a Farm Bureau 101 guide, an increased presence on social media, participation in county field days and agricultural fairs across the state and forging stronger connections with state legislators.
Vermont Farm Bureau incorporated their newly created Farm Bureau 101 document into presentations and public displays to introduce new and potentials members to the policy development process and to encourage other groups that support agriculture to engage with Vermont Farm Bureau. The organization promoted the document – and Farm Bureau membership – at the Vermont Horse Council’s Annual Summit. Attendees to the summit could see how they could enhance Vermont Farm Bureau’s limited equine policy by becoming a member, which several of them did.
On social media, Vermont Farm Bureau improved its content and added content managers, which allowed the organization to increase their number of posts and connect with more people; analytics indicate their posts reached 17,000 people through Facebook alone. Social media content was focused on highlighting the state’s agriculture, inviting members and non-members to participate in Vermont Farm Bureau events and to encourage advocacy action.
The organization also participated in seven county field days or agricultural fairs between July and September, garnering new members along the way.
In addition, Vermont Farm Bureau sought to establish connections with new lawmakers and candidates early on, especially important in a state Legislature that lost one-third of its lawmakers, leaving many vacancies on the state’s House and Senate Agriculture committees. The organization hosted legislator breakfasts and candidate forums. On average, 30 members attended each of these four events, which allowed Vermont Farm Bureau to address issues important to the state’s agriculture industry including sustainability, dairy policy and the 2023 farm bill.
Strategic Action Fund
Vermont Farm Bureau’s multifaceted outreach was funded by a grant from the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Strategic Action Fund. Through the fund, state Farm Bureaus with fewer than 25,000 members were eligible to apply for funding of up to $5,000 for public policy-related projects. Several state Farm Bureaus – Idaho, Iowa, Kansas and Tennessee – each contributed $1,000 to the Strategic Action Fund for the 2022 round of projects.