Navigating Changes

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Over the past three years, the Wisconsin Crop Pro­duction Association (WCPA) has undergone significant transformation to accommodate changes in the industry and changing needs and interests of the membership. These include the following:

Our Image. A variety of steps have been taken to professionalize the organization by ramping up the quality and value of information and images that we use and the manner in which we depict the industry. We ultimately want to increase our professional image for our current members and for groups we interact with such as the media, sister organizations, and the legislature. Our image should clearly demonstrate that we mean business.

Some of the more obvious changes include the change of the organization name to WCPA and the addition of the new logo. These changes collectively belong to an overall marketing and promotions plan that outlines wide-ranging additions including our new e-mail “Industry Alerts,” the new Industry News Quarterly Magazine, and the new industry Web site, wicrops.org. The plan was developed to provide continuity to our marketing and promotions efforts. It is also important to emphasize that our name change makes room at the table for industry groups that have been less traditionally represented in our membership including seed salespersons, ag consultants, and grain operators. The changes have worked together to form a new image for the organization while expanding recruitment opportunities, providing members with additional sources of industry information, and enhancing our image.

Value-Added Programming. Surveys of our membership have led the way in helping us identify programs and services that align with member interests and needs. In addition to quality WCPA programs such as the conference and trade show, recycling programs, and managers’ seminars, a number of new programs have also been developed. These upcoming “members only” services include the Ambassador Program (to provide retailer assistance with facility and grounds review regarding compliance of rule-related practices and voluntary measures available to enhance stewardship), and the Custom Applicator Program (providing direct hands-on training assistance in preparing new custom applicators for our industry partners in Wisconsin).

Committee Activities. Beyond the value of accomplishing our objectives, committee participation is an excellent way to engage members in the organization, and provide member cohesion and interaction. WCPA’s new legislative committee utilizes members as the co-chairs of four specific legislative sub-committees: Nutrient Management Poli­cy; On-Farm Bulk Storage; Sub-Standard Dealers; and the Ag Chemical Cleanup Program (ACCP)/Fertilizer Tonnage Fee. Other new committees under development include Public Affairs, which met in March for the first time, and Membership, to assist implementation of WCPA’s plan.

Government Influence. WCPA successfully lobbied against proposed raiding of $3 million in ACCP fees in the Governor’s budget repair bill. WCPA will actively pursue reintroduction of legislation to require on-farm bulk storage secondary containment during this legislative session. WCPA also actively supports the passage of several federal bills including increasing energy supplies, repeal of the railroad antitrust exemption, and ag security and its impacts on retail operation.

Industry Well-Being. As with any organization, those who get the most out of their membership are those who understand the importance and value of participation. Members need to attend WCPA programs, take advantage of member services, participate in committee activities, and communicate with the association with their questions, concerns, and ideas. WCPA is here for the sole purpose of providing service for industry practitioners like you. 

Turner is executive director for the Wisconsin Crop Production Association, Madison, WI.

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