LAST MONTH, GRAIN Farmers of Ontario’s 2018 Membership Survey was mailed out with your magazine. If you haven’t done so already, I want to encourage you to fill out this survey.
I know it can be a hassle to fill out yet another form — but we’ve tried to make this survey as easy as possible. We’ve streamlined the questions and provided the option to complete the survey online or on paper. The information we gather from this survey will help us better understand who our farmer-members are and what we can do to better serve your needs.
There is a lot we can determine about our membership based on checkoff information — where you live, what you are growing, how much you are producing. This allows us to ensure we have appropriate delegate representation across our 15 districts. But there is more that we need to know to ensure that as an organization we are providing value to our farmer-members.
Part of the survey asks about you — how old you are and how long you have been farming. These questions are used to confirm Statistics Canada data about the aging farming population and help us gauge the state of the transition of farms to the next generation. Supporting young farmers has been a key priority for Grain Farmers of Ontario over the past couple of years to ensure a strong future for our industry.
We also ask you to rate how we are doing. How important is the work we are doing across the different departments within our organization, how well are we communicating with you, and what kinds of interactions have you had with directors, delegates, and staff? If we aren’t performing to your expectations we want to hear about it and understand how we can do better. If you do think we are doing a good job, it’s good to know we are on the right track.
A new question on this year’s survey asks if you would be interested in a group medical benefits plan organized by Grain Farmers of Ontario. This is in response to some interest that has been raised in the idea and we want to get a broader sense of whether this would be wanted or needed by our farmer-members. It’s a good example of how we are evolving the organization to respond to your needs and the changing business environment within the agriculture industry.
Rest assured your responses to the membership survey will be kept confidential. We have hired a third-party company to conduct the survey and they will be aggregating all responses so there will be no way to determine where a specific response comes from. We do ask for your name so that you can be entered into a prize draw as a thank you, but again the survey company will be handling this to ensure the confidentiality of your responses.
I know with the fall harvest upon us, your time is at a premium. The survey is open until December 31, but I urge you to take a moment to complete it as soon as possible so that you don’t forget. •