Organizational Member Strategy (OMS)

Vintage IAA Logo


 For more than 100 years, Illinois Farm Bureau has been the state's leading voice in advocating for agriculture and farm families. As the ag landscape evolves, the OMS will deliver the roadmap for effective and efficient advocacy for the future of Illinois farmers.



 OMS Timeline

  1. 2021 and Before

    January, 2021


    IFB was noticing: 

    - Continued decline in membership, attributed to demographic shifts in the farming community

    - Growing pressures on our members, including economic pressures, policy and legal challenges, and environmental regulations

    - Challenges from the political divide in Illinois and the U.S. more broadly

    - Supply chain disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic

    - Negative impacts on Illinois’ rural areas due to population loss

    - Staffing challenges due to shifts in employee expectations and tenure


  2. Strategic Framework

    February, 2022


    IFB selected Aimpoint Research to evaluate and recommend a strategic framework for IFB and county Farm Bureaus to consider. Specifically, IFB asked Aimpoint to:

    - Evaluate IFB's and county Farm Bureaus’ membership models in light of current trends, demographics, and member needs.

    - Recommend ways to align IFB’s organizational priorities and programs with what members value.


  3. Aimpoint Report

    January, 2023


    Aimpoint presents its report virtually to IFB and county Farm Bureau leaders and staff.


  4. Structural Changes

    February, 2023


    IFB announces several management and structural changes, including the naming of our first Chief Strategy Officer. This position will lead the Organizational Member Strategy (OMS), effective August 2023.


  5. Aimpoint's Final Report

    March, 2023


    IFB distributes Aimpoint’s final report to county Farm Bureaus, which includes four pillars of a strategic framework. 

    Image of the four strategic framework pillars from Aimpoint.


  6. Former Young Leaders Presentation

    April, 2023


    A coalition of young farmers present to the IAA Board opportunities to provide more value to “members in the middle,” or those who have aged out of the Young Leaders Program. Concepts will be considered as a part of the OMS.


  7. IFB Managers Conference

    May, 2023


    IFB engages county Farm Bureau managers at the IFB Managers Conference. Managers provide insight into data needs and priority areas of action for the OMS team.

    Past President Guebert solicits applications for state and county farmer-leaders, Young Leaders, and county Farm Bureau managers to participate in the OMS Advisory Committee.


  8. OMS Advisory Committee and Staff Team

    June, 2023


    The OMS Advisory Committee and Staff Team are named. The Advisory Committee includes the President, Vice-President, four IFB Directors, four County Farm Bureau Presidents, four County Farm Bureau Managers, and two Young Leaders. The Staff team consists of the Chief Strategy Officer and six staff team members representing all areas of IFB. 



  9. OMS Advisory Committee First Meeting

    July, 2023


    The OMS Advisory Committee convenes for its first meeting.


  10. IFB Presidents Conference

    August, 2023


    IFB engages county Farm Bureau presidents at the IFB Presidents Conference. County presidents provide their insight into data needs, the best ways to deliver information to members, and priority areas of action.


  11. Ohio Farm Bureau

    September, 2023


    After going through a process similar to the OMS, Ohio Farm Bureau shares information on its strategy with the Advisory Committee.


  12. Why Statement

    October, 2023


    The OMS Advisory Committee defines its “Why” statement:

    We are seeing:

    - Continued decline in membership,

    - Fewer and different types of farmers in the future with different needs and expectations,

    - The need to serve farmers at all stages of their careers,

    - Resource inconsistencies and concern over the development of future revenue streams (CFB finances),

    - Changing member and employee preferences on how to deliver services differently, through both staffing and structure, and

    - A need for better stewardship of current and future volunteer leaders.


    Therefore, County Farm Bureaus and Illinois Farm Bureau must work together with a sense of urgency and take intentional steps to reinvent the organization over the coming years to maintain relevancy for farmers of the future while ensuring the advocacy and engagement needs of all members are being delivered as efficiently and effectively as possible.


  13. IAA Annual Meeting

    December, 2023


    IFB engages and gathers input from members at the IAA Annual Meeting through focus groups, a microtalk, and an address to delegates.


    Mark Gebhards Remarks about OMS at 2023 Annual Meeting. 

    New IFB President Brian Duncan assumes role as chair of the OMS Advisory Committee.


    CFB Managers participate in a questionnaire about areas of opportunity. 



  14. Early 2024

    January, 2024


    IFB embarks on a months-long journey of gathering input through a survey for farmer members. Additional focus groups are conducted at events such as the Everything Local, Young Leader, and Governmental Affairs Leadership conferences.