Farm Bureau hosts a picnic with prizes

The recent picnic was a way for the Farm Bureau to thank their members and families for being a part of their organization, give an update on member benefits and activities and share of the educational programs that have been provided to the schools and communities.

Pam Dudding-Burch
Contributing writer

Laughter and positive energy were on full display as members of the Craig County Farm Bureau arrived at their annual picnic.

“This has been a long-standing fun and family tradition of the FB,” President Mary Hunter said. “We like to bring our community together for an afternoon of good food and fellowship. All proceeds from the auction will go toward agricultural education programs for the county and a scholarship for graduating senior at CCHS.”

At the picnic, Hunter introduced the current Board members: Vice President Jeannie Dudding, Secretary John Crawford, Directors Sandra Dudding, Ben Flinchum, John Hunter, Andrew Keffer and JC Winstead, Chair of the Young Farmers Committee Emmalee Edwards, Chair of Women’s Committee Dianne Brown, District Field Representative Paige Pratt, Barbie Winstead, District Leader of the State Women’s Committee, and Robin Garst, County Service Specialist.

As people arrived on Friday, June 8, they received tickets to drop into bags for several nice door prizes. Donated items included: homemade baked goods, Christmas and holiday decorations, household goods, books and toys.

“We’ve all heard the saying ‘without agriculture we would not have food on our tables, clothes on our backs, or roofs over our heads.’ That is so true, so I’m thankful for everyone who supports agriculture with the membership,” Hunter said.

It was noted that 50 percent of membership fees stay in the county and is used to support 4-H, Hooked on Fishing and FFA among other things.

Being an FB member has its benefits. Discounts to local restaurants like Pine Top and Hutch On Main are just one example.

Many highlights were shared at the picnic of what the FB has done in the previous year.

•Continued growing and posting on Facebook.

•Contacted the VA Extension Service of the immediate need for a 4-H extension agent.

•Worked on new resolutions to share with other counties in Virginia in hopes to gain support for Craig’s ideas so they can be presented to legislators. Increase state funding for county roads and bridge maintenance, increase funding to improve existing broadband coverage in rural areas, the opposition of any excess tax on meat products and opposition of federal funding for development of alternative proteins were just some resolutions mentioned.

•Gave a $500 scholarship to Jake Bostic.

•Added Robin Garst to the Farm Bureau staff.

Dianne Brown shared that The Women’s Committee and Young Farmers have had an active year as well.

Over the last 365 days they:

•Continued working on the Garden Project at McCleary and received Best in Midwest District Award for the project at the Women’s Spring Conference

•Chris Ratliff, a Pre-K teacher at McCleary, was runner-up in the Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year Program for her work with the garden project and incorporation of agriculture in her classroom. FB will provide financial support for Ratliff to attend the National Ag in the Classroom Conference in Portland, Maine, where she will attend workshops on more ways to incorporate Ag in her classroom teaching.

•Provided grants to the CCHS Ag teacher for seeds for the greenhouse and predator fencing for the chicken houses

•Read to grades K-3 at McCleary during Ag Literacy week

•Made a quilt to raffle and had silent auctions to raise funds for Ag programs and scholarship.

•Collected over 250 lbs of drink tabs to deliver to the Ronald McDonald House.

•Attended Midwest District outing and Spring Women’s Conference

•The Young Farmers participated at the Winter Expo in Natural Bridge where they participated in farm tours and various seminars.

Everyone enjoyed a delicious meal of ham and macaroni and cheese courtesy of Hethwood Market in Blacksburg. Sweet potato casserole, rolls and banana pudding were also served.

Future plans include a beginners quilting class in early fall, a Family Farm Fun Day, AARP Driver Safety Course (55 or older) on July 17 and 18 and a Medicare seminar.

Hunter thanked everyone for attending, saying, “We are in the process of recruiting and hiring a new agent to serve the insurance needs of our county members, one who not only cares about members but the community as well.”

She added that agents from neighboring counties stop by the office regularly to meet with members in assisting them with any needs. “Our management services specialist, Robin Garst, is in the office every day and can answer most questions,” Hunter added.