Practicing our Pitch
However, as staffers and board members working for such a diverse organization, it’s not always easy to explain “What is PFI?” on a whim. Depending on what we are doing for Practical Farmers that day, top of mind may be farmer outreach, on-farm research, conference childcare, cover crops, farmer-led events…the list varies for each person and is quite extensive.
Often we are asked to explain Practical Farmers in a very short amount of time. It is important we are able to answer the question, “What is PFI?” or respond to “Who are your members?” with a brief, yet accurate depiction of the organization. For this reason, at our last board meeting, staff and board paired up to practice our Elevator Speech. An elevator speech is a short summary used to quickly and simply define something.
Board and staff crafted and practiced elevator speeches that highlighted these four vital messages to convey to people about Practical Farmers of Iowa:
- All are welcome; farmers of all sizes and enterprises, and nonfarmers
- We emphasize farmer teaching and learning from other farmers
- Our farmers grow a diversity of crops and livestock
- We have a strong focus on farmer-led on-farm research
We also had fun asking each other to respond to questions we’ve gotten in the office in the past, from: “Aren’t you that ridge till organization?” to “Who does Practical Farmers support for the next Secretary of Agriculture?”
If you talk with others about Practical Farmers of Iowa on a regular basis, I encourage you to review our mission, vision, values, goals, and strategic plan—as well as practice your Elevator Speech! When you next see a board or staff member, please do ask them: “What is PFI?” We are all ready to answer.