Pennsylvania Farm Bureau honors Potter, Mifflin county leaders

Potter County farmer Ed Kosa (seated and holding award) is joined by his family after being recognized with Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award.

HERSHEY, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau presented Edward Kosa of Potter County with its 2014 Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award during the organization’s annual meeting in Hershey.

The 92-year-old Kosa has been professionally involved in agriculture for 75 years, joining his father on the family farm in Ulysses, Potter County, after graduating from high school in 1939.

Despite his age, Kosa remains active on EDKO Farms, along with two sons and several grandsons.

“I’m happiest when I’m on the tractor. I like planting a crop, seeing it grow and seeing the results,” said Edward Kosa. “The hard work that goes into farming is no big deal as long as you enjoy what you do.”

Farm Bureau involvement

Kosa has been a member of Pennsylvania Farm Bureau for more than 40 years, serving on the state board of directors for eight years.

“When you’re part of an organization, you out to be a part of it, not just with your money, but with your time too,” added Kosa.

Kosa also served as director of the Potter County Conservation District for more than 30 years, including 19 years as chairman.

Kosa was instrumental in the formation of Agricultural Security Areas in Potter County, protecting farmers and their businesses from restrictive local ordinances. The security areas were the impetus to forming the county’s farmland preservation program.

Mifflin County man honored

Frank Bonson of Mifflin County received the 2014 Distinguished Local Affairs Leader Award . The award recognizes an outstanding individual county Farm Bureau leader whose local affairs efforts and activities helped solve problems and improved rural living for county Farm Bureau members.

“I believe all farmers should reach out into their communities and represent themselves, but also represent production agriculture and farming in general,” said Bonson, who along with his wife Barbara, operated a dairy farm in Milroy, Pennsylvania, for decades. He retired from active farming a few years ago.

He had many roles with Farm Bureau, including serving the past 15 years as president of the Mifflin County Farm Bureau.

Bonson has been the driving force behind numerous local affairs campaigns. For example, he orchestrated a meeting involving county commissioners where he and others discussed the merits of freezing Clean and Green Assessments in Mifflin County. Ultimately, the action saved farmers money on their real estate property tax bills.

In addition, Bonson worked with Amish bishops to encourage Amish farmers to join the Brown Township Agriculture Security Area, helping to protect right-to-farm activities for landowners. Bonson also worked with PennDOT, seeking permission for several custom operators to transport farm equipment over a limited access highway when the demolition and replacement of a bridge on an alternative route would have resulted in a detour of more than 20 miles.

County programs lauded

York County Farm Bureau won five awards, including the “Reap the Benefits” Award, during the annual meeting. The award is the highest honor bestowed upon a county Farm Bureau.

York County Farm Bureau was also recognized for earning the Overall Achievement Award for county Farm Bureaus with 401 or more farmer members. The award salutes a county Farm Bureau for its outstanding performance in the six program areas evaluated by Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB).

Chester/Delaware Farm Bureau took second place for the Overall Achievement Award and was one of three county farm bureaus that tied for the President’s Award for Agriculture Promotion.

The Cumberland County Farm Bureau won President’s Awards for Media Relations and Member Communications and for Agriculture Promotion.

Bedford County Farm Bureau took the President’s Award for County Board Organization, while Franklin County Farm Bureau was recognized with a President’s Award for Leadership Development.

In the category of county farm bureaus with 400 farmer member or less, Susquehanna County was the Overall Achievement Award winner and won President’s Awards in the two categories of Policy Development and Implementation and Media Relations and Member Communications.

Juniata County Farm Bureau took second place for the Overall Achievement Award and won a President’s Award for Leadership Development.

The President’s Award for County Board Organization went to the Cambria County Farm Bureau, while Montgomery County Farm Bureau earned the President’s Award for Agriculture Promotion. In the area of Services, the Clearfield County Farm Bureau took home the President’s Award.

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