The Farm Bureau hosted its annual meeting on Sept. 20 at the Craig Valley pavilion. A catered meal by Scott Zinc of Hethwood Market Catering was served.
President and State Board Representative Jeannie Dudding opened the meeting.
The FFA members led in the Pledge to the flag and gave their reports on how the FFA has progressed this past year, much due to the assistance of the Women’s Committee and the manual help of John Hunter and other Farm Bureau members.
They have also started their fundraiser sales of sausage by the pound, which is from Virginia Tech livestock, and can be purchased from any Craig County FFA member or by calling the school. It is $5 per pound and helps the FFA with their needed projects, including their new Land Lab. Pickup is Nov. 11.
Zac Wright, the new agriculture and natural resources extension agent, shared that he has a background in environmental science and has researched natural resources. He also grew up in agriculture, having been a member of FFA in Alleghany County. He spent the last 10 years in Paint Bank, working with the fishery. He is also pursuing his master’s degree at Virginia Tech, as well as getting married Oct. 1.
“I am just getting started and getting my feet wet in all this for Craig and Alleghany counties. I am excited to get involved with everything from the FFA and Craig County High School to get you any support you need there. I am working with all the producers here in the county, whether big or small and getting people started in different agriculture processes as a business enterprise,” he said.
He added that he was excited to get with the community, hear ideas, help with any situation, start a new enterprise, diversify farm operations, get into a new ag process and creating good relationships with the people.
His office is at the old Forest Service building across the street and up the road from Craig County Public Schools.
The annual minutes and reports were given and approved; committee reports shared as well as the State Board report.
Mark Campbell, senior district field services director, a Farm Bureau member for 24 years, talked about member benefits and showed a video about the upcoming changes in the “farm use” placard.
It was reported that many had abused the system, therefore more strict rules will be applied. More information can be found at vafb.com/resources. The cost is $15 per placard.
Dudding reported that she represents District IV and gave big thanks to the new staff and others.
“Ag in the classroom is really important to cultivate that next generation of Agriculturalist and to educate those who may not be directly involved, helping them to understand exactly what it is that we do on our farms, disputing the negative that some pass on about farmers,” Dudding added. “Our women’s committee is a great driving force for that.”
She mentioned that the new program called “Cultivate 880” is a push to get all 88 counties to support Ag in the Classroom, which shows unity.
“We have been successful in the last two years to have all 88 counties to donate towards this,” she added.
Dudding noted that for the fifth year in a row, the Virginia Farm Bureau has made the awards top 50 list of insurance companies. There are only four other Farm Bureaus on this list.
The political work that Virginia Farm Bureau Federation does on behalf of producers, starts at the county level.
Dudding encouraged those present to bring forward information they felt was necessary to take to Richmond, adding, “As members, you can sign up to get action alerts to be able to ‘speak your mind’ on issues discussed in the General Assembly.”
She explained the different areas Farm Bureau supports such as, the Land Lab at Craig County High School, Craig County Library, Virginia FFA Foundation, Friends of the Field, Virginia 4-H Scholarship, Hunters for the Hungry, Ag in the Classroom, Virginia 4-H Foundation, flooding victims in Wise and Dickenson counties and senior scholarships. These are some of the areas the annual $40 dues go towards.
Dudding was happy to introduce Leeann Mattox, the young farmer chair. She said, “She has gotten a group together that is attending some of the state level young farmer events and joined with Montgomery County.”
Mary Hunter reported that they have grown from four members to 14 and are encouraging more to join.
The Land Lab was the largest project undertaken with many hours of volunteer work, many of which were provided by John Hunter.
The Women’s Committee has had many fundraisers. It set aside over $8,000 to help jumpstart the project, with building the fences and pole barn in Phase I of the project.
Also, they gave an additional $1,000 to the ag department for the activities in the Land Lab, as Craig doesn’t have a lot of money to support the project.
She added that they will be continuing fundraisers to support the Land Lab, which will help it to grow into a fully functioning facility for the students.
The Women’s Committee also participated in many other projects during the year, as well as donated to students and events.
The Women’s Committee added that their next quilting class will be Oct. 21–23, which will be a snowman banner. “This class is for both beginners and those who wish to quilt. You will be able to take it home completed by the end of class!” Mary Hunter shared. “These funds are used towards Ag in the Classroom.”
Dr. Hollie Schramm, clinical assistant professor at VA-MD College of Veterinary Medicine, was the special speaker for the meeting. The zeal in her talk was felt by most as she seemed adamant about the education of ticks and how each can harm someone or their animals (see additional article for information).
The meeting ended with the presentation of several door prizes.