The farm bureau has more members actively farming than ever before.
By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
LISBON -- Columbiana County Farm Bureau membership has surpassed the 2,000 mark for the first time.
Nancy Cope, organization director said the 2001 membership of 2,054 includes 868 families, also a farm bureau record. Those totals are up from 1,992 total members and 848 families in 2000.
"We tried for 2,000 members last year and didn't quite get there," Cope said.
She said the membership campaign, led by member Fred Hippely, ran fairly smoothly. The bulk of the campaign was completed by the end of March, which doesn't always happen, she said.
"Some years are better than others," she said. "Even with the continued increases we've enjoyed, sometimes you really have to work. You have to keep reminding people to send in their memberships.
"This year was different," she said. "We already have 19 members paid for 2002."
Membership drive: Members received renewal notices in November. Although memberships continue to trickle in all year, the organized effort is January through March.
Cope said by Feb. 28 the number of member families surpassed last year's total. She said the number of active farms in the county has been holding steady for several years despite the downward trend in commodity prices.
"We haven't lost too many farms lately," she said. "Some get smaller, others get bigger."
Active and retired farm families, or nonfarming associate members, join the farm bureau for $50 each year.
Some of the benefits to members are discounts on various types of insurance, software to access information such as weather forecasts and commodities prices, and participation in utility cooperatives.
A strong farm bureau membership backs the efforts of farm bureau lobbyists at the state and national levels, Cope explained.