From the Field: Another Virginia Farm Bureau Annual Convention for the books

From the Field is a bi-monthly column written by Mark Campbell, Farm Bureau Field Services Director for the Central District. He writes about Farm Bureau member benefits and County Farm Bureau activities.

We just finished the 87th Convention of Virginia Farm Bureau in Chantilly last week. Approximately 800-900 people attend every year, and this year was no different.

Numerous staff from the home office and field that worked at the convention were as busy as elves the week before Christmas making sure everything ran smoothly. There was a lot to do in three days. There were elections for officers, directors, and voting delegates; polices discussed and voted upon; and contests and workshops that took place. The activity was non stop each day from 7:00am to 10:00pm.

Scott Sink from Franklin County was elected as vice-president. Richard Sutherland from Grayson County was elected as a new director and Nate Aker of Wythe County was elected as Chairman of the VFBF Young Farmer Committee. Janice Burton of Halifax County was re-elected as chairman of the VFBF Women’s Committee, and Wayne Pryor of Goochland County was re-elected as President.

One of the things that I enjoy at convention is talking to people from all areas of the state. In one conversation with a farmer from Southampton County, I was pleased to hear that the Southeastern part of the state had better than expected crop yields. Corn yields were variable depending on rainfall and heat impacts on pollination. Soybean and peanut yields were reported to be better than expected. In other parts of the state, farmers reported an extra supply of hay. The dry fall that we have had will obviously cause livestock farmers to feed hay a little sooner than expected. Even though we had some warm days, the lack of precipitation squandered any opportunities to grow much grass this fall. Overall, I heard good reports from farmers on this year’s production.

One other thing that brings great satisfaction to us as District Field Services Directors, since we do a lot of leadership development, is seeing the glow of excitement from first time convention attendees. These first time attendees gain a unique perspective of the entire Farm Bureau organization and its purpose in action. Those first time attendees return back to their county with a renewed motivation to help their county Farm Bureau be active and successful in their part of the state.

Just to give you an idea of how motivational and inspirational attending the convention can be, I will share a quick story of Orange County from a few years ago. One year when the convention was to be held at The Homestead, Orange County Farm Bureau had a two day-one night stay at the VFB Convention as a prize drawing at their county fair. The winner just so happened to be a producer member. The member was so impressed with what he saw at convention that he became a director the following year on the Orange County Farm Bureau board of directors.

If you have never attended a Farm Bureau convention, I encourage you to work with your county Farm Bureau and volunteer to attend. If you have attended a convention, I encourage you to get other producer members to attend. You just may be grooming your next board member, and I know from first hand experience that they will enjoy it.

Until next time,

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