The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s (IFBF) Legacy Planning initiative, a grassroots-based effort launched earlier this year to help guide the organization into the future, will be a key part of insuring the organization’s continued success, members of the Legacy Planning Committee said last week.

"I think we are at a very important juncture for farming and rural Iowa now, and I think Farm Bureau will play a big part in the future successes of both," said Brian Feldpausch of Grundy County, who represents IFBF District 5 on the Legacy Planning Committee. "That’s why looking ahead and mapping out the future of our organization is so important."

Setting priorities

Adair County’s Randy Cavi­ness, who represents IFBF Dis­trict 9 on the committee, said the Legacy Planning effort will be key to focus and prioritize the future direction of Farm Bureau.

"You really need to look ahead and see what type of programs will be important to serve Farm Bureau members in the future," he said. "That will give you a far better idea of where to put your resources."

Matt Schuiteman of Sioux County, who represents IFBF District 3 on the Legacy Planning Committee, said it’s important for every organization, including very successful ones like Farm Bureau, to take a step back and assess its position today and determine future direction. "It’s really good to evaluate things, and make sure you are in position to get where you want to be in the future," he said.

The IFBF Legacy Planning effort precedes the 2018 celebration of the organization’s 100th anniversary. The initiative is designed to help chart the future course for Farm Bureau, both in near term­—for the five years beginning in 2018, and for the long term.

The Legacy Planning effort is built as part of Farm Bureau’s continued focus on grassroots involvement, Craig Hill, IFBF president, said recently at the IFBF annual meeting in Des Moines.

The Legacy Planning Committee was formed last summer and conducted input sessions at the area county Farm Bureau Presidents’ conferences in August. The committee met also met with IFBF Board of Directors, business leaders and studied trends for Iowa and agriculture relative to implications and opportunities that exist for IFBF.

Planning for the future and trying to look ahead is not easy, but it can be valuable, members of the Legacy Planning Committee said.

"I really know that from my farm," Caviness said. "If you don’t set the direction for where you want to be and a strategy to get there, you can end up stumbling around in the dark," he said.

Ability to adapt

Feldpausch said that having a strategy in place will allow Farm Bureau to adapt to changes in farming and rural Iowa, and to remain a vibrant and vital organization. "It’s not easy to look ahead and try to anticipate changes, but it’s very important," he said.

Nine Farm Bureau members, one from each of the organization’s districts, have been appointed to the Legacy Planning Committee. Along with Caviness, Feldpausch and Schuiteman, the members are: Linsey Schuldt, Bremer County, District 1; Andy Muff, Hancock County, District 2; Greg Jochum, Woodbury County, District 4; Matt Willimack, Clinton County, District 6; Brian Hora, Washington County, District 7 and Mary VanZante, Marion County, District 8.

Staff working on the IFBF Legacy Planning are Barb Lykins, IFBF director of community resources, and Mary Foley Balvanz, IFBF leadership training manager.

To learn more about the Legacy Planning project, go to