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Bedford County Farm Bureau celebrates 60 years

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By John Barnhart

    Bedford County Farm Bureau celebrated its 60th anniversary at the annual dinner this month. The Farm Bureau presented its 2013 Distinguished Service Award to Roger Grant, one of the local organization’s original members. Grant was born on his family’s farm, graduated from Montvale High School in 1950 and started his own dairy farm in 1952.

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    “I got my first cow when I was 6,” Grant said.
    He’s been involved in dairy farming all his life.
    “I never remember not milking,” he said, noting that he originally did it by hand.
    While looking back, the organization also looked to the future that night. Young Farmers named Wayne Turner, who earned a bachelor of science degree in dairy science from Virginia Tech in 2006, as its Young Farmer of the Year. W. P. Johnson, who heads up Young Famers noted that 70 percent of farmland will be in transition in the near future and stressed the importance of this land going to younger people who will keep it agricultural.
    The Farm Bureau Women’s Committee is also looking to the future. Dr. Susan Gardner, that group’s chairman, spoke about the garden project at Huddleston Elementary School this spring. This is the second year for their elementary school garden project. Dr. Gardner said they were assisted by the Staunton River High School FFA, which built the boxes in which 25 children planted vegetables. She said the FFA also helped the children do the planting. The Women’s Committee also sponsors Agriculture in the Classroom Reading Day. The group purchases books for elementary school classrooms and reads to them.
    With an election coming next month, Steve Jenkins, Virginia Farm Bureau’s senior field services director announced Farm Bureau’s candidate endorsements. They have endorsed Delegates Scott Garrett and Kathy Byron for reelection, and Terry Austin for election to the 19th House of Delegates seat, left open with Delegate Lacey Putney’s retirement. They have also endorsed Ken Cuccinelli for governor, Ralph Northam for Lieutenant governor, and Mark Obenshain for attorney general.
    Jenkins also spoke of the Farm Bureau rescue of the Virginia State Fair. Early last year, the company that owned the fair went bankrupt and Virginia Farm Bureau partnered with Universal Fairs to purchase the fair’s assets in bankruptcy court in order to continue it. This year, Farm Bureau purchased sole ownership of the fair. The Virginia State Fair dates back to 1854.
    Dr. Amy Johnson, presented two health-related resolutions which the county farm bureau adopted. Dr. Johnson, who has a doctorate in nursing practice from Radford University, has a deep interest in promoting farm safety and rural health care.
    One resolution supports “allowing advanced practice nurses the ability to certify home health services within the communities that they serve.” The other supports “the expansion of the statewide trauma database to statistically analyze the impact of agricultural injuries in rural populations.” This resolution also encourages county Farm Bureaus to work with community agencies to promote farm safety.
    Deer are always of great interest to Farm Bureau members as deer eat their crops. Gary Arrington, representing Hunters for the Hungry, presented a contest aimed at encouraging hunters to shoot more does, instead of focusing on bucks.
    “They [does] just give you more of those things to eat up your crops,” said Arrington.
    The contest began with the opening of archery season on Oct. 5 and runs until the end of deer season on Jan. 4. The does may be harvested by any legal method. The deer will be weighed at official contest weigh-in stations and must be fully field dressed and have a check card or check-in confirmation. Arrington’s Processing and Evans Game Processing are serving as the official weigh-in sites for Bedford County. The contest entry fee is $25 with $8 going to Hunters for the Hungry, $10 going to T-shirts and decals and the rest going to the jackpot for the winner, who will be announced on Jan. 5.
    Hunters for the Hungry is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization and processes venison donated by successful hunters to feed hungry people in Virginia. Arrington said  the organization has provided 20.9 million servings since it started in 1991.
    Along with donated deer, Hunters needs money to process them. Farm Bureau, as it does every year, presented Arrington with a $3,000 check for Hunters for the Hungry.
    For more information about Hunters for the Hungry, call 1-800-352-4868, e-mail  hunt4hungry@cs.com or go to the website at www.h4hungry.org.