Phase 1.1 – Sample – FBFM Focus Group Report

I. Introduction and Background

The Illinois Farm Business Farm Management Association is a cooperative educational-service program designed to assist farmers with management decision-making. The organization utilizes Farm Analysis Specialists to provide assistance with business and family records, business analysis reports, and business operations counseling. FBFM cooperates with the University of Illinois Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois Extension, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, and local FBFM Associations. There are nine local not-for-profit associations throughout the state. Participating farmers (or Cooperators) make up the membership of the association. Members elect representatives to serve on each association’s board of directors to oversee service delivery and establish policy.

Illinois Farm Business Farm Management initially contacted LBL Strategies to discuss pursuing a formal strategic planning effort and its desire for a 3 to 5 year strategic plan for the organization. After meeting with the State Coordinator and a subsequent meeting with the State Board President and the organization’s planning team, it was determined that a preliminary project to examine several high profile internal challenges within the organization was a necessary first step. To gain clarity about these internal challenges, the organization set up a series of focus group meetings made up of employees and board members from each association to seek feedback and gain insight. LBL Strategies facilitated each meeting. This report is a detailed account of the discussions and feedback from those meetings.

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