Friday, June 3, 2011

Another Fascinating President's Message!

Just in case you missed the most recent edition of The Conveyor, the Franklin County Farm Bureau quarterly newsletter, here is my most recent President's Message! And . . . if you would like to receive a hard copy, I would be delighted to get you signed up as a Farm Bureau member!

With the change of seasons, it is exciting to anticipate all the fun events of summertime! In agriculture, summer brings exciting new opportunities, as well as its own seasonal challenges. Farmers will be busy baling hay, harvesting fruits & vegetables, and caring for livestock during the summer months. The weather has a huge impact on the success of these endeavors: will there too little or too much rain? Will crops grow well under pleasant conditions, or will they be ravaged by drought, heat, or pests? Despite such challenges, farmers embrace the excitement of agriculture!

While the percentage of the population that farms is very small, the entire American population is served by our country’s farmers! The farm community is obviously impacted by the challenges of agriculture, the success or failure of crops, and the creation of regulatory policies that affect farming. In reality, however, such things reach EVERY American. If you eat, you are enjoying the products of farming! Whatever impacts the farmer will also impact the consumer. A wet spring that prevents planting in the Midwest, farmland being flooded in the Mississippi River region, or even a ban on earmarks that funded state wildlife predator control programs – these things might seem as though they barely touch the daily life of the typical Ohioan, but the impact on agriculture affects all of us as consumers!

As a farmer, it is very exciting to see the renewed American interest in food and farming! As new niche markets develop – organic, naturally-raised, etc – these markets offer new opportunities for farmers. Farming has been continually marked by evolution and improvements. My great-grandfather would be amazed by the changes in our farm and by the new marketing opportunities that I have as a farmer! One hundred years ago, he could not have dreamed that someday I would be able to raise meat goats for a thriving ethnic community in Columbus. Like my great-grandfather, I am driven by a passion for our farm and a love of caring for animals. Yet, I am fortunate to have new opportunities, new scientific advances, and new markets to make my career in agriculture possible. Tradition and evolution are both driving forces in farming.

Farmers work incredibly hard to provide food for consumers no matter the season. While many people enjoy cool air-conditioning inside or relaxing pools outside, farmers will be out in the heat of the day working in the fields & looking after livestock. Despite the difficulties of farming, those who engage in it are passionate about their chosen field. Farmers love sharing about their work and explaining why they do what they do! If you have questions about agriculture or about food production, talk to a farmer! Better yet, get involved with Farm Bureau’s activities and let us know your concerns as a consumer. Even if you are an associate member of Farm Bureau – and do not farm at all – we treasure your membership and your involvement!

During the summer months, Franklin County Farm Bureau hosts many exciting events! Some are social, some are educational, and these events are open to all our members. The highlight of our summer is the Franklin County Fair, which runs 16-23 July 2011 at the Franklin County Fairgrounds in Hilliard. The Franklin County Farm Bureau sponsors an educational display area in the Burke Building, where visitors can learn information about farming and see some interesting animals! While visiting the Fair, make sure you stop by to meet the chicks, goats, and a very personable donkey!

The Franklin County Farm Bureau is dedicated to supporting agriculture and to connecting farmers & consumers! Many of our fair activities are designed to meet these goals. Farm Bureau is the largest financial supporter of the Junior Fair Sale and of the Creative Baking Competition, and also sponsors the Junior Fair Poster Contest. By using its financial resources to aid young members of the community, Farm Bureau creates opportunities for our youth to develop their skills and prepare for the future. Farm Bureau is also a major sponsor of the Franklin Fun & Learn event, which will take place on Wednesday 20 July 2011. Franklin Fun & Learn is an educational day that brings children from the YMCA Camp and the Free Lunch Program to the Franklin County Fair. These young people take part in several activities to increase their knowledge about farming, thus helping to teach our future consumers about agriculture.

To achieve these things, Franklin County Farm Bureau needs YOU! Franklin County Farm Bureau sincerely appreciates its members who provide the financial resources to keep our organization successful. Have you renewed your membership for 2011? If so, THANK YOU! Are you ready to do more with Farm Bureau? Our volunteers make our events possible, and we would be delighted to have your participation! Contact our county office to volunteer for one of our fun Fair activities at 614.876.1274. Want to learn more about farming? Always feel free to contact me at Dwight Beougher (Chair for our Food & Animal Issues Team) and I are both delighted to serve as speakers on agriculture. Farm Bureau is YOUR organization! With your support, Franklin County Farm Bureau can successfully connect farmers & consumers!

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