With the New Year upon us, it’s time to get serious about planning your County Farm Bureau events and activities. You have great ideas for new programs and we want to help you implement them, but first you have to have a plan. Without a written plan, big ideas and good intentions have a way of evaporating right before our eyes.

What’s a Program of Work and why your county Farm Bureau needs one:
A Program of Work (POW) is a pretty straight forward concept. The main idea is for the County Board of Directors to collectively decide what events and activities you’re going to complete each year. A POW is a very fluid document and should be adjusted to meet your county Farm Bureau’s needs. However, the most important requirement for every POW is to simply put pen to paper and actually write out your plan.

A written Program of Work increases:

  • Follow through and helps county leaders track progress.

  • Helps identify your county’s strengths and weaknesses.

  • Keeps you organized.

A POW helps your County Farm Bureau evolve into a well-oiled machine that is innovative, effective, and organized. Not sure if you need a POW in your county? Complete this quick survey to find out if your county Farm Bureau would benefit from creating a POW.

Tips and tricks for writing your team's POW

Don’t Complicate the Process. Creating a POW doesn't have to be hard. It can include as much or as little detail as you like. Do what works for your County Farm Bureau. If you want to use a calendar and write events and meeting dates month by month that works great! If you want to be more detailed, try using this handout at your next meeting.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel. This process might feel intimidating the first time your county Farm Bureau tackles it. Keep it simple. Build off of what you’re already doing and make it better. Gradually increase the number of events you take on and current projects you expand — don’t spread your members too thin by tackling numerous new events.

Grow your event portfolio. When you see meeting dates and events on paper, take a hard look at what you’ve been doing. Are those events effective? Do you still have the volunteers to run them? Do members like these events? Use your POW to review what has and hasn’t been working for your County Farm Bureau. Maybe it’s as simple as moving an event to a different month. A good rule of thumb is to try one new event every year. If it doesn’t work out, well fine, but at least you tried!

Spread the events out. Consider what time of the year you hold the most activities and events. If your county Farm Bureau has numerous events back to back; it is worth moving one (or more) of those events to a different time of the year. Nothing spells volunteer burn out better than cramming three county Farm Bureau events into an already jam packed summer. Besides, it creates more activity and visibility for your County Farm Bureau within your communities to hold events throughout the year.

Start it early, check it often. January and February (or earlier!) is a great time to create your POW for the year. Refer back to your POW regularly, every board meeting if you have to. If you create it and then never look at it, it’s useless. The whole point of the POW is to create a plan and gauge your progress through the year.

Events every county Farm Bureau should be doing
Sometimes brainstorming new ideas for events can feel overwhelming. A great resource to help get the ball rolling is the Excellence in Achievement Awards application (AKA, the Golden Windmill Awards). Use the application during the planning process to help you get ideas for new events and projects.

Looking for more ideas? Stay tuned for a blog series highlighting innovative event ideas and how you can implement them in your County Farm Bureau.