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The Three Pillars

Farmers of North America (FNA) builds on three pillars: Growth, Efficiency and Member Value, which we call GEM Value.

We make GEM Value reality in four ways:

  1. Increasing competition in the market
  2. Driving efficiencies in the value chain
  3. Providing timely, effective and value-adding information to Members
  4. Supporting opportunities for farmers to achieve equity ownership in the value chain

The pillars are inter-connected and each is reflected internally — i.e organizationally — and externally — our work for and with others.

Growth means working toward and evaluating our work against the impact on growth of the farm business alliance, our skill sets and talent pool, and the financial health of Farmers of North America. It also means evaluating our work and programs for their impact on growing services to Members, growing range of suppliers available to Members and building a foundation to capture new opportunities to grow Member Value.

Efficiency goes beyond being operationally efficient, to being alert to and creating efficiencies that benefit Members, and even more broadly systemic efficiencies that can have large system-wide impacts. An example might be negotiating with suppliers to introduce direct farm delivery which generates efficiencies through the entire supply chain (eliminates the need for intermediate warehousing and local depots and reducing the number of times products are handled and transported).

Member Value is always connected to the first two pillars, but is on its own the most critical pillar. A lack of  progress in the other two pillars may cause us to tilt or wobble, but a failure in Member Value will certainly cause the entire structure to collapse.  So Member Value must be the core criteria against which we measure everything we do — if we cannot identify a link back to Member Value then the job or work being evaluated should not exist.

For example, creating competition can include negotiating with suppliers to provide Farmers of North America Members favorable pricing, encouraging new suppliers to enter different markets or even encouraging suppliers to introduce new products that will provide competition for existing farm inputs.

As well, in working with others (including both not-for-profit and commercial entities), Farmers of North America focuses on government and institutional relations, broadening the relationships with elected officials, government departments and other farm organizations. We have formal arrangements with some farm organizations, sometimes on a project basis and in some cases through ongoing cooperation agreements. A key objective for our government relations and farm organization work is to contribute to greater competitiveness on farm inputs through regulatory or policy changes.

Farmers of North America is evolving strong agricultural information capacity including decision-support information on crop marketing, provided to Members by DTN through subscriptions that are included in their Membership or expanded information packages with preferential pricing for Farmers of North America Members.

Farmers of North America Members also see the need for farmers to obtain a greater share of the value of their products by having an ownership stake in the supply chain. Farmers of North America supports such opportunities, as represented by ProjectN and the Farmers of North America Fertilizer Limited Partnership.

Above all GEM Value is about driving the mission to maximize farm profitability for Members through every activity engaged in by Farmers of North America.

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