Farm Bureau holds annual meeting
Washington County Farm Bureau members and guests enjoyed a smoked pork loin meal at the KC Hall, Thursday, Sept. 5, prior to holding their annual meeting. President Joel Huber presided at the meeting.
Members elected new officers, who will begin their terms of office on Oct. 1, 2013. They are Rachel Fishback, president; Corey Malichky, vice president; Tye Rinner, secretary; Curt Pacha, treasurer; and John Berdo, voting delegate.
Township directors serving two-year terms are Corey Malichky, Cedar; Brett Sweeting, Crawford; Joel Huber, English River; Dave Skubal, Highland; Chris Richardson, Jackson; Jeff Cuddeback, Marion; and Scott Sieren, Seventy-Six. David Dickinson of Brighton Township was elected for a one-year term.
Fishback, who also served as the Policy Development chairperson, presented the 2013 Washington County Farm Bureau Resolutions. She invited additional input from the membership.
Sen. Sandra Greiner said that during her time at the Washington County Fair and in the Republican Party booth, she heard many people speak of their concerns about the way the county is electing supervisors. She said people would like to vote for all five supervisors as at-large rather than by supervisor districts. She also said, that even though she hasn’t done the research, she suggested cutting the number of supervisors from five down to three.
One of the local resolutions concerns a reverse separation ordinance. If such an ordinance is passed, the resolution states that it contain a permanent waiver option. It also calls for new unrelated family member residential homes to maintain the same separation distance requirements from existing animal feeding operations as new feeding operations must maintain from existing unrelated family member residential homes. The setback ordinance should also include setback distances of 200 feet from new unrelated family residential homes and row crop operations of unrelated family members.
Another resolutions calls for a 1 percent local option sales tax on fuel at both the local and state level on all retail and bulk delivered fuels as long as 100 percent of the proceeds are directed toward road improvements in Washington County.
There were other resolutions proposed at the state and national level.
Brian Waddingham, executive director of the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers, was the guest speaker. His presentation was titled “Doing Things Right.” The Coalition helps livestock farmers set up new operations at no charge to the farmers.
Waddingham said the Coalition doesn’t battle farm animal rights groups.
“We help farmers do things right and not give people an excuse to come down on farmers,” he said.
The Coalition wants Iowa’s livestock industry to grow. In doing so, Waddingham said that 60 percent of the calls the Coalition receives is from people under 30. Younger people are moving back to family farms, he said.
Americans want to know where their food comes from and how it is raised, he said.
Farmers need to follow 180 pages of rules that are enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Natural Resources, he said.
The Coalition, Waddingham said, also tells the public about the farmers who are doing the right thing in their livestock operations. One way of doing that is to host open houses when new facilities are completed and to present awards to farm families.
The September Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award will be presented to the Kurt and Heather Hora family on Sept. 20, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at a location to be announced.
Waddingham also told the audience that there are about 1,250 farms in Washington County. There is a $300 million market value of ad products in the county with an economic impact of $1.345 billion.
Also speaking to the crowd was Ari Alexander, a Mid-Prairie High School graduate from Kalona who received the 2009 Celeste Hora Memorial Scholarship. It is a scholarship available through the Washington County Farm Bureau. He said that he obtained a sports journalism degree from the University of Missouri and is covering sports in eastern Iowa.
The annual meeting ended with door prizes to several lucky members.