Communicating information about agricultural policy issues, membership matters, and motivating farmers and ranchers has always been important to the Utah Farm Bureau. As far back as 1915, the Weber County Farm Bureau was publishing an informational tract to alert members issues of importance.
In the early years, Farm Bureau leaders decided that a County Farm Bureau newsletter would be created when its membership would reach 400. Early newspapers were four pages in length, and each County Farm Bureau had its own publication. In 1933, the Utah Farmer became the official publication of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation. Publications have had various titles and appearances, but the focus of providing timely information to members has been the same.
While the importance on spreading information and uniting Farm Bureau members in Utah hasn’t changed, communication technologies certainly have. From movable type to digital desktop publishing and the cloud, the way we receive information has continued to evolve. In today’s digital age of smartphones, consumers are able to customize what information they want, receive it when they want, and reuse it later.
Early Farm Bureau newsletters focused on “local problems, announcement of meetings, project campaigns, accomplishments of farmers, and an exchange of products for sale” according to the Utah Farm Bureau History book. These principles have continued to be the focus the Farm Bureau News for many years, and will continue to be, yet the delivery methods will certainly change through the years.
As Utah Farm Bureau leaders have looked to ensure we communicate needed information in the best way possible, we feel the time is right to convert a portion of traditional print publications and take advantages of the digital opportunities. The June issue of the Utah Farm Bureau News will be the last print edition Farm Bureau members receive in their mailbox. In its place will be a digital e-newsletter delivered by email twice a month. This e-newsletter will contain the same information, articles, event updates, public policy vetting, and member benefit information our traditional printed newspaper did, only without the time delays that could cause breaking news to become dated.
The digital e-newsletter will serve as a companion to the Utah Farm Bureau website, www.utahfarmbureau.org, in delivering information Farm Bureau members want and need, with the added benefits of sharing on social media and greater portability. The Farm Bureau website is also a great place to find the most current information on your member benefits, and be inspired through articles on leadership in agriculture, the latest agricultural issues, ways that farmers and ranchers are connecting with other Utahns.
Don’t Want to Wait for the e-newsletter?
While the new e-newsletter, called FB Connect, will bring enhanced speed and shareability, others may want to focus on specific news issues, commodity groups, or member benefits, and have it delivered directly to their inbox. This tool is also a reality! To do so, members will simply need to update their communication preferences under their membership, and select the issues they want to have delivered to their inbox, and at what frequency you wish to receive the updates. While updating your communication preferences, please be sure to add your email address and cell phone number, so that you can have the content delivered to you. This will also allow members to make their voices heard by members of congress and our state legislature on issues of importance.
An important detail Farm Bureau members will need to take note of. You will only receive the digital e-newsletter if your email is attached to your Utah Farm Bureau membership. Perhaps you recall receiving emails from the Farm Bureau on policy issues or member benefits in the past, or you were prompted to take action on policy action alert. If so, your email is attached to your membership account. If you are unsure, feel free to contact me or any of our staff to check or update your email.
With these changes ,please know, unless we have your email account on file, we won’t be able to send you the new e-newsletter. In order to update your communication preferences, we will need your email address. In order to view member-only content on our website – including certain member benefits information, training videos, and more – members will need to create a login. For a tutorial on how to do so, please visit https://bit.ly/2I5xHMF.
This change may take getting used to for some, yet we are confident the benefits will be worth it. What’s more, all Utah Farm Bureau members will continue to receive the quarterly magazine, Countryside, with the great content readers are used to. As we continue to seek improvement, there may be additional changes in the magazine and other communication tools as well.
Want more news on this topic? Utah Farm Bureau members may subscribe for a free email news service, featuring the farm and rural topics that interest them most!