NEW GARDEN, Ohio – A year after moving the county office to Canton and merging services with three other counties, the Columbiana County Farm Bureau continues to thrive, according to comments made by retiring president Lucille Huston at the group’s annual meeting.
More than 100 members gathered Sept. 9 at United Local High School for the event.
“A year ago, I was concerned with the changes we were making, but the past year has been good,” Huston said.
In the 2001 program year, the county saw gain in active farmer members and strengthened ties with other government and agricultural agencies, she said.
The county membership reached 2,084 in 2001.
Distinguished service. Before the meal, members George and Geraldine McPherson were honored with the county’s Distinguished Service award.
The award, the highest the county can bestow, is presented annually to a bona fide farmer who has made an outstanding contribution to the community and the agricultural industry.
The McPhersons are Farm Bureau members and supporters of the 4-H program. He also serves on the organization’s board of trustees and has worked for years with the membership drive. The couple have five daughters and a son.
Star awards. All 10 of the county’s committees received Star awards.
Committee chairs receiving awards for program achievements were Mike Gruszecki and Neil Zehentbauer, advisory councils; Sarah Swope, information; Gerald Smith, marketing; and Fred Hippely, membership.
Also receiving the award were Homer Althouse, government affairs; Joyce Bailey, safety; Jean Roush and Debbie Wolf, youth; Susan Zehentbauer, promotion and education; Kevin Swope, ag ecology; and Jim Hoppel, policy development.
Committee chairs for the upcoming program year include Phil Greenisen, government affairs; Connie Heffinger and Julee Kelly, advisory councils and young farmers; and Christine Miller and Roush, youth.
Also taking leadership positions are Huston, information; Jim Skeels, marketing; and Hippely and Shari Althouse, membership.
Susan Zehentbauer, Joyce Bailey, Kevin Swope and Jim Hoppel retain their positions.
Code change. Members passed a code change introduced by Earl Bardo.
The proposed change asked to set up districts across the county for board member elections, as opposed to elections by township.
“We found we were not operating as a board should,” Huston said. “We found in a lot of townships we had a difficult time getting board members because of so few active farmer members.”
Policy votes. Members voted on proposed local policies regarding elimination of eminent domain, farmland preservation and establishment of well testing and water pollutant identification and removal from county waterways.
Members also voted on a policy to encourage enforcement of slow moving vehicle signs on vehicles only.
Members also voted on a policy that encourages judges to enforce current tort reform laws regarding frivolous cases. The policy was submitted by a county council.
National policies referred to foreign food import standards, animal rights and animal terrorism and animal and plant diseases.
A policy also encouraged legislation that requires grain brokerages to settle accounts within 30 days of delivery.
Trustee comments. State trustee Jeff Zellers urged members to look to the future of agriculture and Farm Bureau. He also urged members to attend leadership conferences and praised the organization’s Land of Living exhibit at the state fair.
“We don’t need to convince ourselves we’re doing good things. Our neighbors are the ones that need convincing,” he said of the exhibit.
Trustees, delegates. Trustees elected to fill board vacancies include Althouse, Greenisen, Hippely, Hoppel, Skeels, Bailey, Scott Lindsay and Myron Wehr.
Delegates for the 2003 state annual meeting are Bailey, David Coldwell, Bernice Smith and Gerald Smith. Alternate is Herb Eglie.
Huston passed the president’s gavel to incoming leader Homer Althouse. However, Althouse was not present for his swearing in due to medical reasons.
(You can contact Andrea Myers at 1-800-837-3419, ext. 22, or by e-mail at email@example.com.)
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