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Member survey helps shape OFA direction


April 4, 2014
By Mark Wales President Ontario Federation of Agriculture

April 4, 2014, Guelph, Ont. – Being a voice of Ontario farmers is not an easy task, and member feedback is essential.

April 4, 2014, Guelph, Ont. – Being a voice of Ontario farmers is not an easy task.

With more than 200 products grown in Ontario alone, as well as a multitude of livestock commodities, production systems and choices in farming practices, Ontario farmers have a lot on their minds.

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And as the organization advocating for 37,000 farm businesses in geographic regions across the province, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) has a big job to do.

That’s why the OFA is conducting its general membership survey – to find out what we’re doing well, and where we can improve services to our members.

LAST SURVEY WAS IN 2012

As an organization, we have committed to conducting these surveys every two years as a way to benchmark our progress, member satisfaction and key areas of concern. The last time we did a survey like this in 2012, we took some important insights forward to shape our organization’s direction.
 
In 2012 we learned our members strongly believed that lobbying governments and building public awareness about issues affecting farmers were the most important activities OFA could do for its members.

We’ve taken that message to heart and focused on strengthening our relationship with policymakers at all three levels of government.

HOSTING FIELD DAY FOR MPPS AND THEIR STAFF

Last year, we hosted a successful Field Day for MPPs and their staff. The day provided an opportunity for key policymakers to see agriculture in action on a working farm. Many reported later that they gained a better understanding of some key challenges and opportunities that exist on the farm.

The OFA has also worked hard to focus our messages around key issues our members have told us are important to them.

And, when it’s time to act, OFA is now able to employ its easy-to-use petition website to call our members to action. This online tool – actnow.ofa.on.ca – allows our members to share messages about hot button agricultural issues with their MPs and MPPs quickly and effectively.

MORE ON-FARM SUPPORT REQUESTED

In our initial benchmarking member survey two years ago, we learned that overall, members were satisfied with OFA’s performance across all categories. But the largest area for improvement was on-farm/local support.

OFA heard that call and focused even more of our resources on local support, through our Member Service Representatives (MSRs).

We also gained key insights into communication technology in use on Ontario farms. We found 43 per cent of our members used a smartphone at that time, and we are interested to see how that number has changed in two years.

SURVEY DEADLINE IS MAY 9

The OFA is ready to hear from its members about how we can continue to build profitable and sustainable farms, together. This year’s member survey runs from April 2 until May 9, 2014.

Completing the survey earns participants a chance to win one of five iPad Air tablets.

Participants can complete the survey online, by following the link from www.ofa.on.ca, or phone the office at 519-821-8883 to request to have a copy mailed.


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