New video series focuses on farm organization leadership training

Strong agricultural organizations are supported by active membership at the grassroots level. To attract new members and keep its existing ones engaged, the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) has put a focus on leadership and skills development training for its 52 local and 11 regional associations.

With support from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, OSCIA is developing a series of training videos that will supplement in-person workshops and print resources. The videos will be particularly helpful for OSCIA members, who volunteer for leadership roles at local or regional levels, to understand the roles and responsibilities of their new positions.

“The videos will be ideal for people who don’t have time to attend a workshop or who prefer online learning on their own time,” says OSCIA Association Development Advisor Brittany Roka. “On-going, in-person training as new people are elected to leadership positions is expensive, so videos are a more cost-effective training tool for us to get people started.”

Phase one of the two-year project is tailored to leadership roles and skills development, whereas phase two will focus on broader governance training such as how to run a successful meeting or how to make decisions and decide on actions.

“People are unsure of what is expected of them when they step into a vice president, secretary or even director role, and by offering this type of training, we hope more members will feel comfortable volunteering for leadership positions,” says OSCIA President Les Nichols. “This is important for the long-term sustainability of our organization and encouraging more involvement from our grassroots members.”

A survey of the OSCIA membership showed the demand is there for digital online training to complement in-person options, she added, particularly from younger members.

And although the videos, which feature OSCIA members, will be specific to OSCIA’s organizational structure, the content could be helpful to other commodity and agricultural organizations too. They’ll be released one at a time and made available on the OSCIA website in short, easily accessible lengths so users can choose to watch the topics they’re specifically interested in.

According to Roka, funding from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership is central to the development of these new video resources.

“As a not-for-profit, grassroots organization, we wouldn’t be able to do this project at all or at least not as well without this funding,” she says. “We appreciate the Canadian Agricultural Partnership’s investment into the future of OSCIA and farm organization leadership training.”

This project was funded in part through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of the Partnership in Ontario.