By GARTH SNOW
The Allen County Farm Bureau used the occasion of its annual meeting and the county fair to help celebrate its first 100 years.
The occasion also was part of the Indiana Farm Bureau’s centennial celebration.
Allen County Farm Bureau President Roger Hadley II and Indiana Farm Bureau President Randy Kron addressed the July 23 meeting at the Home and Family Arts Building of the Allen County Fairgrounds on Carroll Road.
The Indiana Farm Bureau and its 92 county organizations support rural interests before legislative bodies at the county, state and national levels.
Hadley said the Farm Bureau was founded as a grass-roots organization and continues so today.
Kron said he has been attending several county celebrations. “When you turn 100 years old you get to celebrate all year,” he said. “And the height of it will be at our state convention in French Lick in early December. So we’re celebrating what all the counties have done over the past 100 years to support agriculture and rural communities.”
He said the organization’s purpose is unchanged over the past century. “This organization was built on our volunteers and our members and the county Farm Bureaus having strength and that’s still the key, that we have strong county Farm Bureaus,” he said, “because the clout of Indiana Farm Bureau comes from our volunteer members and that gives us the clout at the courthouse here in Allen County or at the Statehouse or even at our nation’s capital.”
The county association claims 1,200 voting, farmer members. Clients of Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance automatically become associate members. In all, the Allen County Farm Bureau claims more than 7,000 members. Farm Bureau Inc. is the parent company of Farm Bureau Insurance.
Officers are elected on an alternating basis. Tom Miller, of Woodburn, was re-elected vice president. Cindy Berning, of the Hoagland area, was re-elected education and outreach coordinator. Hadley will be eligible for re-election as president in 2020.
Kron said Farm Bureau Co-ops were spun off years ago. “I guess there are a number of things that we started or helped start that have been positive for agriculture and rural communities, but our core here is our members and advocating for agriculture,” he said.
Susan Lawrence, who serves as regional manager for seven northeast Indiana counties, said the state organization was established March 25, 2019. The Allen County unit was established that September.
“We’re protecting property rights and paying attention to what’s happening locally,” Lawrence said.
Lawrence said Prairie Farms donated ice cream and milk for the celebration. The Farm Bureau also provided cake. “We have a great relationship with Prairie Farms,” she said.
State Rep. Dave Heine and Allen County Councilman Robert Armstrong also addressed the annual meeting.
T-shirts were offered to the first 200 people in attendance, with leftover shirts to be given away at the livestock auction July 29.
Lawrence said Farm Bureau’s services include Ag in the Classroom. “We’re reaching out about agriculture and where food comes from,” she said. “It doesn’t come from a store, it actually comes from a farm that they probably drive by. So we’re sharing that. And we’re a huge supporter of Allen County 4-H, with several thousand dollars at the (4-H livestock) auction. We sponsor trophies and 4-H camp and we also give away over $17,000 just in Allen County scholarships.”
The state convention will be Dec. 12-19 at French Lick. Lawrence said more information will be released in early August.
Visit infarmbureau.org/public-policy/state-issues for more information on the organization’s legislative agenda.