[nafex ibiblio list] Question, why drop of member numbers

Jwlehman at aol.com Jwlehman at aol.com
Wed Dec 21 08:08:03 EST 2011

In a message dated 12/20/2011 9:44:18 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
sherwindu at att.net writes:

Unattainable I think the 2,000 figure has dropped considerably.  My rough 
count of the membership list in my Fall 2011 Pomana was more like 600 
entries.  It would be interesting to figure out why there was such a big drop in a 
little over a decade. 

Reply abstract
Most people will not voluntarily pay for information by purchasing 
membership when it is available free. The Internet with gargantuan amounts of free 
information makes many organizations obsolete, minimizing the usefulness of 
such as NAFEX that were born by the need to share experience and research. 

Then consider the cost to attend. For northern and midwest members to 
attend this past meeting would have cost totally about $900 plus 2 to 4 days 
travel time. Little incentive to retain membership when attendance is practical 
only every two years or less.  

More detailed. 
Many organizations such as NAFEX, NNGA (Northern Nut Growers Assoc.) are 
experiencing great membership decline. These organizations were established by 
growers and hobbyists with common interest in order to share research and 
hard to find information. Now there are massive amounts of free expert 
information made available by the Internet, FREE. No need to buy a cow when milk 
is free.

Smaller associations such as MIDFEX (Mid America Fruit Explorers) in the 
Chicago area, Indiana Bee Keepers and INGA (Indiana Nut Growers Assoc.) have 
done better due to the physical nearness of their membership and commonality 
of interests. 

The Indiana Nut Growers is now operating as Indiana Nut and Fruit Growers 
Assoc. Our membership has been steady for many years around 300. In my 
opinion two reasons. First and most important is four meetings a year and on the 
average under two hours drive to attend at driving cost only. Annually we 
have a free scion wood exchange meeting, a free grafting demonstration meeting 
and an orchard visitation meeting with 60 to 80 attendees at each. The 
speaker at the past meeting from Purdue spoke on pruning fruit trees. This past 
September the meeting was here to see my fruit and nut collection. I believe 
there were 76 in attendance.  The maximum travel time about 3 hours, average 
attendee under two. Steve Covacci, member of this list, came from New 
Jersey. These four meetings annually afford personal contact and support 
friendships undeveloped with one meeting every two years or even annually. 

Another important factor is low cost of membership, INGA's membership fee 
is $7.00 annually or $100 for lifetime membership. We publish a 12 to 16 page 
news letter four times annually. The contents include some free information 
gleaned from the internet. Most new memberships come from personal contacts 
by members not Internet. 

One sentence blunt summery:
For many, membership cost has risen higher than benefits. 

Jerry Lehman
7780 Persimmon St.
Terre Haute, IN 47802-4994
812-298-TREE (8733)

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