How do you as an individual, company, or organization make lasting change in your industry? Bring all the voices and opinions to the table, and have them agree on a path, make that path public, and continue to advocate for the change until it happens. It’s not about shoehorning your agenda into existence; it’s about information, knowledge, relationships, and building rapport with those who can facilitate change.
To get started, I recommend a few steps before you put together any kind of agriculture group with a common goal.
1. Determine the goal.
It might be implementing a new CAFO standard (or revising an old one) in your state. Perhaps it’s designed to connect people who similar problems to come up with a solution, such as the effect of tillage on the ground in your area and what is the best for the local soil health. You need to know what you want the lasting change to be.
2. Don’t duplicate work.
If there is already an organization, association, coalition, or alliance in your area that has the same or an adjacent goal, don’t start a new one. This seems simple, but it happens more than you might think: a great idea happens at two different ends of the state, and it takes months or years for them to know of each other, and even longer to collaborate. Do your research and ask who else is doing the work.
3. Get experts to run it.
This one is the most important, and the one that is overlooked the most often. An effective group that wants to make lasting change must have a dedicated person with at least 30-40 hours in their week to keep the group momentum going for months at a time. It’s possible to split up the responsibilities, but if you’ve ever been part of a group project, or a committee without a clear leader to make the agenda, you know the kind of inefficiency I’m referencing.
It’s time to look for an expert, folks who specialize in keeping groups on track and on time. Coalition managers create letters, organize meetings, run the website and social media, field member calls, and ensure all the members are informed about upcoming deadlines, meetings, and decisions to be made.
If the last few weeks, or even just this article, resonate with you and what you know needs to change, it’s time to get started. Know your goal, make sure it’s not overlapping another group, and get experts.
If you don’t know any coalition and alliance managers personally, consider hiring AgCoalitions.com, run by my company Elevate Ag, LLC. We have a proven and effective model, work with change-makers in ag of all sizes from several individuals to groups of multinational corporations, and we’re opening up our company to new groups for the first time.
If you want to know more about getting started, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or browse the coalitions page.