Published May 8, 2015

Strategic planning: much more than an exercise in futility

By Sally Worley

Too many organizations’ strategic plans collect dust on shelves.

But not at Practical Farmers! Your PFI staff uses our strategic plan—a succinct one-page document—as our day-to-day marching orders. If your eyes glaze over and your mind starts to wander when you hear terms such as strategic plans, don’t let those things happen. This is important.

At Practical Farmers, our strategic plan is vital. We need to focus on specific goals to be effective at our mission to strengthen farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information-sharing. Our plan, effective July 2014-2017, provides that focus.

Our strategic plan is divided into three goals:

  1. Practical Farmers builds community in Iowa and beyond.
  2. Farmers are stewards of our natural resources
  3. Farmers, farms and food systems are viable

Recently we took a look at how we did achieving goals in the first six months of the strategic plan. This week, I’m going to report on what we have accomplished for goal one. Watch for updates on goals two and three in coming weeks.

Goal one: Practical Farmers builds community in Iowa and beyond

  • 17 social events have been held across Iowa to provide venues in mini-regions for PFI members get better acquainted ]
  • Advisory groups have been formed for field crops, farm transfer, horticulture and livestock (these join existing committees that provide direction to policy, Savings Incentive Program, Labor4Learning, energy, cooperators’ program and more)
  • Formed a membership corps of 26 members who help our board of directors welcome new members within one month of joining
  • Presented farmland owner award
  • Launched new FindAFarmer site
  • Helped several nonfarmer outreach leaders be spokespeople for farmers
  • 14 financial experts have provided advice and consultations to farmers
  • Published a lot (a LOT) of media featuring farmers and current issues facing farming

Thanks to our strategic plan, along with many dedicated members who stepped up and served as leaders of the organization, all that activity is in pursuit of well-planned goals.

Read our one-page strategic plan here.

Susan Jutz, Dick Schwab, Kate Edwards, and Ann and Eric Franzenburg hosted a PFI potluck the evening of the next generation retreat. Almost 90 attended and shared great conversation and food. The party, held at the Celebration Barn near Solon, included a very fun barn dance. Check out the video below:

Dancing at The Farming Institute led Practical Farmers of Iowa beginning farmers retreat!

Posted by Wild Woods Farm on Friday, February 6, 2015