LANSING — Let's check on the progress of Michigan Farm Bureau’s new member communications system, now that some of its most eagerly-awaited components are coming to life. First and foremost, as new county Farm Bureau websites “go live,” those counties will want to resume the creation and sharing of news and information unique to their local organizations—the successor to the old county newsletter system.
County-specific news & info
The new homes for county-specific information are the new county Farm Bureau websites coming online as we speak. We knew all along they’d be the fleet new home for county info; what we haven’t discussed much is where that content will come from.
The old system made heavy demands on individual county Farm Bureau newsletter editors; it was one of the most challenging volunteer roles in the organization.
Contributing content to the new web-based system must be demanding of less of individual members—preferably by distributing content expectations among a wider range of sources.
Counties blessed with editors should keep them involved as long as they’re willing. Everyone is advised to share in the responsibility of contributing informative news bits among a host of appropriate sources, based on the nature of the information itself:
You get the idea.
County administrative managers will be equipped with article templates anyone can use. A universal new “5 W’s” template has been designed to help anyone organize their essential information for sharing on county websites. We’ll also make available a deep inventory of fill-in-the-blank article templates rooted in the old county newsletter program.
Contributors needn’t be exceptional writers. With everyone's time at a premium and attention spans shrinking, short-and-sweet is preferable to exhaustive detail. What's most important is that county Farm Bureau members know what their local organization is up to—and how they can get involved!
Program-specific news & info
Previously, home office staff had few restrictions in communicating with members about their programs. Sometimes regular but too often random, our Wild-West approach resulted in email overload and FB communication fatigue for members.
Farm Gate—the new publication that brought you to this article you’re reading—is the order we imposed on that chaos. It brings together into a tidy package all program-specific news and information for our core audience of active Farm Bureau members (not the whole choir, just those choristers who routinely show up for practice.)
So far its reception has been overwhelmingly positive, even as Farm Gate remains a formative work in progress, still exploring its own member-involvement mandate. As it matures, we look forward to featuring more outstanding county Farm Bureau activities and profiling our outstanding member-volunteers from Erie to Bruce Crossing.
It will also strive to fill a long-standing void by better communicating to our members the value of their membership by better answering the evergreen question of what members get for their dues.
After that we look forward to incorporating YOUR voice, when Farm Gate becomes a welcoming venue for first-person contributions from active members statewide with good stories to tell about their involvement in this great organization.