KFB's Vision 100 Committee Moving Forward

Posted on Nov 9, 2020
KFB 2nd Vice President Sharon Furches co-chairs Kentucky Farm Bureau's Vision 100 Committee

Committee members moving forward with excitement and a new initiative

Last year, Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) created the Vision 100 Committee at the direction of KFB President Mark Haney.  This committee, comprised of KFB volunteer leaders from the local level, as well as staff from both the Federation and the Insurance Company, was convened to help guide strategic planning for the future of the entire organization.

“After celebrating KFB’s Centennial in 2019, we felt there needed to be efforts made that would serve to help guide this organization into our next century of existence and advocacy,” Haney said. “In recognizing this need, we have brought together a diverse group of local leaders and state staff, who are poised to help move KFB into the future.” 

KFB Second Vice President Sharon Furches co-chairs the committee along with KFB Organization Division Director Matthew Ingram.

Furches said despite all the uncertainty that members have faced this year, the need to look toward the future is paramount in ensuring the success of the organization.

“Leadership knew we had to be forward thinking, as we moved into the future, through strategic planning,” she said.  “In doing so, it wouldn’t be just about looking back to see where some of our strengths are, but we knew we had to find ways to reach our members where they are currently, and find more ways to be the most effective in the today’s world.”

Thinking in those terms, Furches also said a lot of thought went into finding the right people to be involved in the Vision 100 Committee.

“The majority of the 22-member team that makes up Vison 100 are Farm Bureau volunteer leaders who are at a stage in their lives where they are looking toward the future in Farm Bureau and in their own farming operations, as well as in their professional and personal lives,” she said. “So, we felt they had a really clear vision of what would serve this organization best in the years to come.”

Ingram said each of the members of Vision 100 brings a unique perspective based upon their experiences in Farm Bureau.

“Anytime you can take a fresh look at some of the things we’re doing, I think it brings excitement to what we will do in the future,” he said. “Collectively we've got the framework to accomplish a lot of work in the coming years, as we focus our efforts and our interest in specific ways.”

Ingram added that communicating the organization’s mission, purpose, and the agriculture industry, in general, through the committee will be of value for those members, now and in the future.

“We'll be able to work as an organization, to better equip our members to serve as the voice of agriculture, because of the work of this Vision 100 committee,” he said.

The committee has wasted little time in getting to work, having already selected four key goals from KFB’s overall strategic plan to work toward.

“In our discussions about how to achieve these goals, we recognized a gap in available programs, especially following the Young Farmer program for both men and women,” Furches said. “We feel as though there is a period of years where these members may feel they have no place to go within the organization. And while it’s different in every county and every district, we want to provide an opportunity for them to keep their interest in and become advocates for KFB. In doing that, it will keep this organization vital and moving forward.”

A new program emerges

In recognizing this gap, the Vision 100 team has brought forth a new program that will specifically be geared toward members between the ages of 36 and 49 called Generation Bridge. And while the specifics that go into any new program like this are still being finalized, the idea of such a new project is very exciting, Furches explained.

“I have left every meeting feeling totally refreshed and enthused for this organization and for agriculture in general because of the committee members leading this initiative,” Furches said. “They have excitement, they're not afraid to use social media, they embrace the use of technology to move forward in any way they can, and they're not afraid to offer their opinions on issues. Ultimately, we want to help to train them to do that in the most effective way.”

Kyle Kelly, Director of Local Affairs, is the KFB staff person helping to spearhead the Generation Bridge initiative. He said the excitement the entire Vision 100 Committee has shown in bringing forth ideas has been nothing short of amazing.

“The members of this committee represent a diverse, cross section of people within KFB who have so many good ideas about the future of our industry and for the organization,” he said. “It’s exciting to be a part of it as we move forward with new initiatives.”

Kelly said Generation Bridge was born from the collective discussions of committee members and is indicative of how dedicated they will be when creating and implementing new concepts for KFB’s future.

“The members of this committee hit the ground running from day-one and Generation Bridge is just the beginning of what can be accomplished by the Vision 100 team,” he said. “As we have moved forward to put in place the structure and specifics of this new initiative, they have carefully considered the needs of this particular demographic and how best to keep them involved as leaders for our ag industry, for Farm Bureau, and their communities.”

Ingram emphasized that Generation Bridge will also provide an opportunity for those involved to further their leadership skills.

“These are skills that will benefit the organization, not just today, but it in years to come because those leaders will continue to stay engaged,” he said. “Perhaps that will be as county leadership or maybe even district or state leadership. But part of the goals is to help create an opportunity for these members to further their leadership development skills and enhance those traits that'll help them serve the organization really in whatever capacity that they'll be in.”

As Generation Bridge takes shape, Furches said there will be a heavy emphasis on training its members to be strong advocates at all levels.

“I believe there will be a really heavy emphasis on advocacy and ways to train them to be most effective whether they are talking with consumers, the local media, or our state and national legislators,” she said. “At the end of the day, this organization will be stronger because of this new program. As we train these members in a new way, we will keep their interest in KFB and give them an avenue to champion agricultural issues.”

Haney said more information about Generation Bridge will be forthcoming soon.

“While we have a few details to complete before we have an official rollout of Generation Bridge, I can say this is one of the most exciting initiatives that we have undertaken as an organization in a long time,” he said. “I have no doubts about its success and I know this is just the beginning of the many accomplishments that will be made by the Vision 100 Committee.”