Stark Co. FB gets 10 stars at banquet

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EAST CANTON, Ohio – A surprised Charlotte and Roland Miller received the Stark County Farm Bureau’s Distinguished Service Award when the group held its annual meeting Sept. 11.
Nearly 120 attended the meeting and banquet at the Foltz Community Center in East Canton.
Service. The recipients of the county’s service award are chosen by the three previous winners. The award is given annually to a bona fide farmer who has made an outstanding contribution to the community and to agriculture.
Roland Miller has been farming all his life on the original family farm on Shilling Avenue in Louisville, according to the Farm Bureau. The farm, originally a dairy, converted to beef, hogs, hay and grain in the 1950s.
Roland and Charlotte Miller are retired, and their 150-acre farm is still operated by the family. The couple has eight children, 14 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, some of which were on hand to see them receive the surprise award.
The Millers have been members of the Stark County Farm Bureau for 51 years and have volunteered for many committees and projects. They’re active in the 1-L advisory council and are members of the Nimishillen Grange and Paradise United Church of Christ.
New structure. State trustee Gale Betterly reported on and explained the state’s reasons for adopting a new statewide Farm Bureau volunteer structure.
“This is the last year you’re going to see 10 committee chairs up here,” Betterly said. “That doesn’t mean these people will get away from us. They’re going to keep helping, just in a new way.”
Betterly said the state board of trustees reorganized itself seven years ago into three umbrella committees – public policy, organization and communication – that oversee all the state’s programs.
The newest change, which will take effect in all of Ohio’s counties for the new program year, will align county programs with the state board’s structure.
The three leaders chosen to lead Stark County’s programs are Terry Klick, public policy; Bill Wentling, organization; and Midge and John Brainerd, communication.
“This gives you three people doing a really outstanding job of making your programs work,” Betterly said.
“Yes, it looks different, but it’s a lot the same. We’re asking all of you to keep pitching in and working hard to make the program strong.”
Stars. Star awards were presented by Betterly and state trustee Frank Burkett III to committee chairs who led outstanding programs last year.
Star award recipients were Terry Klick, government affairs; Reed Varian, safety; Bill and Jennifer Wentling, advisory councils and young farmers; Les and Sharon Snyder, youth; Jay and Debbie Harsh, information; Ben Ream, membership; John and Midge Brainerd, promotion and education; Michael Greenbaum, ag ecology; Frank Burkett III, policy development; and Gloria Wentling, Nationwide sponsorship.
Membership. Stark County recognized three membership superstars, members who signed more than 20 new active members each. Those three were Ben Ream, Jay Harsh and John Brainerd.
County organization director Nick Kennedy said the county signed a total of 101 new active members last year. The three superstars alone signed all but 11 of those.
Stark County was one of two counties statewide to have more than 100 new farmer members. The county also led the state in total gain with 186 members.
Overall, the county has 7,282 members as of Aug. 31, 2007.
Business. During the business session, members passed proposed resolutions for the local, state and national level.
On the local level, of special interest were support of the Stark Parks District’s establishment of public walking trails in the county; CAUV tax monitoring; support of increased financial aid to the county Extension and SWCD services; and a policy to discourage acquisition of the county farm for development by the city of Massillon and instead urging the city to use the land they already have.
Proposed state policies included topics such as energy; animal care; statewide ATV titling and monitoring; and support of a statewide private and public school calendar.
National policies include opposition of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act; elimination of the death tax; comprehensive immigration reform; and development of alternative fuels.
New faces, titles. Members were also introduced to new northeast regional supervisor Danielle Dufour. Dufour was previously organization director for Ashtabula, Lake, Geauga and Trumbull counties.
Also on hand was Frank Burkett III, the newest member of the state board of trustees. Burkett was elected this summer to replace retiring trustee Jeff Zellers of Hartville.
(Reporter Andrea Zippay welcomes feedback by phone at 800-837-3419 or by e-mail at azippay@farmanddairy.com.)

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