From the Field: Barbecue And Red, White & Blue

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.

Buckingham County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting
Farm Bureau meeting season officially started this week for District Field Services Directors with a couple of county Farm Bureau annual membership meetings across the state.  For me, Albemarle was last night and Greene County is tomorrow. 
The main purpose of the annual membership meetings is to conduct the business of the membership by electing directors to represent them, discuss resolutions and policy and elect voting delegates to the state convention.  Many of these meetings will have speakers about certain topics.  In central Virginia, the most requested topics have been the Waters of the U.S. Proposed Rule by EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers and Frequently Asked Questions About Farm Vehicles. 
The Governmental Relations department has two excellent brochures that you should have.  They are Ditch the Rule and Resource Management Planning.  Everyone needs to be involved on Ditch the Rule.  This is a movement of Farm Bureau and other agricultural groups to oppose Waters of the U.S., expansive regulations by EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to claim jurisdiction over all water; not just navigable waters as defined in the Clean Water Act and upheld in the courts.  This is not just an issue for farmers and ranchers.  Plus, the brochure lays out in steps as simple as 1,2,3 how you can act. 

J.D. Alexander, former president of National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, once said that “If you’re not at the table, you risk being on the menu”.  Well folks, we are on EPA’s menu and we need to step it up even more.  I hear time and time again from members of their frustration and anger about EPA running roughshod over everyone, including Congress.  The House of Representatives has proposed some legislation to prevent some actions of EPA on the citizenry.  But just on that statement’s face, isn’t it sad that our elected representatives actually have to propose legislation to prevent a government agency from being too burdensome and creating hardships on the citizens?  I digress, but this style of rules and regulations is eerily similar to what Thomas Jefferson and other patriots described of the relationship between England and the colonies with legalistic rules that were difficult to understand or to fulfill.
The other part of county Farm Bureau annual membership meetings is the food and patriotism.  While not the menu item for every meeting, BBQ is popular.  After 16 years with Farm Bureau I have refined my palate sampling many styles of BBQ.  I do like the Carolina style best.  One other menu item that many in the district tease me about is cheesy potatoes.  Fluvanna FB always makes sure they have it and even saved me some one year when I couldn’t attend their meeting.  How cool is that?  Most county Farm Bureaus have realized that a good meal brings a good crowd.  Having some entertainment or an interesting speaker is also a draw. 
The other thing that can be said is interwoven in the Farm Bureau fabric is patriotism.  Most, if not all, annual membership meetings begin with the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America. 
So while I have one down and nine more county annual meetings to go, I enjoy it because it is a small piece of Americana: representative democracy in action, patriotism, and good country food.  I encourage you to attend your county Farm Bureau meeting.  The more participation, the better.  Make sure that you are at the table and not on the menu. 
Until next time,

Mark

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