Industry understanding Featured

7:00pm EDT December 26, 2009
Rea & Associates Nonprofit Executive Director of the Year Award

John C. “Jack” Fisher’s philosophy is all about understanding.

In order to continue the success and strength of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation Inc., Fisher, the executive vice president, knew he had to face the agricultural challenges of today. And so, in creating a strong connection between Ohio agriculture and the everyday consumer, Fisher has strived to make the organization as relevant today as it was when it was founded 90 years ago.

The aforementioned philosophy is correlated to Fisher’s belief that a successful nonprofit business must fully understand its resources, identify its returns and define its success. He knew he needed to allow for synergy in serving consumers while maintaining a growing, viable agriculture industry in the state. And so, one of his first steps in forging that connection was shifting Ohio Farm Bureau’s vision to more of an emphasis on understanding the partnership between farmers and consumers.

That shift has played out in the organization’s day-to-day operations along with new efforts.

Fisher led the Ohio Farm Bureau in helping farmers of all sizes by creating the Our Ohio consumer brand as a way to broaden agriculture’s relevance to consumers. In 2008, he also launched the Farmers Feed Our Needs campaign to establish a recognizable brand so that the Ohio Farm Bureau and county farm bureaus could promote food industry messages and to link the state and county farm bureaus to hunger-relief programs throughout Ohio.

But like any good leader, Fisher knows his ideas can only go so far unless he has an engaged staff around him. His understanding of the need to be proactive and conduct positive public relations for the industry has led him to transform the Ohio Farm Bureau communications products beyond the farmer and to the consumer. The idea and communication tools have empowered Ohio Farm Bureau employees, members and volunteers to better understand the organization and become advocates and promoters of issues that affect the industry, such as the environment, animal care and economics.

From growing up on a farm to serving more than a handful of agro-related organizations, Fisher has used his industry understanding to guide the Ohio Farm Bureau to one of the country’s most recognized bureaus.

How to reach: Ohio Farm Bureau Federation Inc., (614) 249-2400 or www.ofbf.org