We honor volunteers at our annual meeting

This month Farm Bureau members from across the state will gather at our state organization’s annual meeting. Thanks to preparation by our good volunteers and staff, this meeting promises to be one of our best ever.

Scheduled activities include breakout sessions, a member benefits showcase and a splendid evening event that will give us an opportunity to recognize our outstanding county Farm Bureau volunteers for their work throughout the past year.

One characteristic I always notice when I attend our state annual meetings is the commitment our members have to serve as leaders. The open secret about Farm Bureau is that our grassroots volunteers make our organization the Voice of Agriculture in our state. They are the keys to our success on public policy issues and our stability for more than seven decades.

They take the initiative to serve as county Farm Bureau officers, as mentors, as spokespersons and as volunteers who dutifully assume dozens of other roles that benefit production agriculture. They also serve their communities.
The careers of our young farmers and ranchers who compete for top Florida Farm Bureau and national awards well illustrate this service commitment.

Our Achievement in Agriculture Award finalists, announced this past summer, have contributed time, labor, money and leadership to an impressive list of civic, business and charitable projects. What makes their service all the more remarkable is that they have made these contributions while managing the demanding responsibilities of their family agricultural operations.

Josh Farley is a member of the Clay County Farm Bureau board of directors. He serves with his wife, Amy, on the Clay County Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee. The Farleys are active members of their local church. They have sponsored competitions at their county fair, hosted tours for legislators and news media representatives and presented educational programs to schoolchildren, among numerous other volunteer activities.

Richard May of Gadsden County is a charter member of the Gadsden County Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee. A short summary of his community service includes duties as treasurer of the Gadsden County Chamber of Commerce, as a youth leader at the First Presbyterian Church in Quincy and as a member of the board of directors of the Robert F. Munroe School, a private institution.

Jeff and Kelly Willis of Columbia County have both been leaders in local Ag Literacy Day events. The couple has received a CARES award and a Florida Spring Protection Award for their natural resource stewardship. Members of their county Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee, Jeff and Kelly have also given much time to agricultural education in their area of the state.

All of these young people are winners. They remind everyone that Farm Bureau is blessed with the vitality and energy of fine people.

I am very proud to know that we will honor our Achievement Award finalists and many other Farm Bureau volunteers at our state annual meeting. I hope that you will join me there to express our appreciation for their accomplishments.