Our organization’s mission statement is pretty succinct: “New Hampshire Farm Bureau Federation is a membership organization dedicated to advocacy for and education about agriculture.” Those two pillars, advocacy and education, are the foundation upon which all of our work is built.
Often it’s our advocacy work in the halls of the State House and Legislative Office Building that are our most recognizable contributions to agriculture. After all, these efforts, over 103 years, have resulted in successes like affordable expansion of power and lighting to rural areas in the 1930s, the establishment of Current Use law in the 1970s, and enabling local agricultural commissions in the early 2000s (just to name a few). The dedication of NH Farm Bureau staff and members alike has also prevented legislation potentially damaging to agriculture from being passed.
The fact of the matter is, however, that advocacy doesn’t exist solely at the Capitol. It starts on farms and woodlots across the state. It thrives in conversations farmers have in the supermarket or on social media. By offering your experiences and practices as a primary source to the non-agricultural world you are actively advocating for your own way of life while educating them at the same time.
An impactful and easy way to connect with the non-farming community is to participate in New Hampshire Agriculture in the Classroom’s School to Farm Days. These events, organized by NHAITC State Coordinator Debbi Cox and held across the state, invite fourth grade students to a local farm where they will visit dozens of stations explaining various aspects of agriculture. The fusion of education and advocacy was fully demonstrated at the Belknap County School to Farm Day on September 24th, hosted at Ramblin’ Vewe Farm in Gilford, where nearly all of the stations featured NHFB members.
“Interaction with the kids is what it’s about. There are so many people removed from agriculture,” Belknap County Farm Bureau President Brian Matarozzo said. He, his wife Amy, and their son Hayden brought one of their dairy cows from LorrenJoyce Farm in Barnstead to the event as part of their station on cows and milk.
Along with cows, the Belknap County School to Farm Day offered students a chance to see and learn about goats, chickens, oxen, garlic, soil conservation, maple sugaring, and more. “In the several hours that they are rotating stations they learn about the connections to agriculture in their daily lives,” NHAITC Coordinator Debbi Cox explained. “We try to incorporate history, math, science and more to really coordinate with teachers’ curriculum.”
The New Hampshire Commissioner of Education Frank Edelblut stopped by as well to get a better understanding of just how important hands-on learning opportunities like School to Farm days are in the overall education system. “All of the various tactile things, the overall experiences are really a concrete learning opportunity for the kids,” Edelblut observed.
That’s the long way around getting to my point, which is that advocacy and education become the same thing when you share your story. Share it with your neighbors, your fellow church parishioners -anyone who will listen! But most importantly, share it with our youth. Someone is going to provide the next generation of leaders and thinkers with a depiction of agriculture. It’s up to us in the agriculture community to make sure that depiction is accurate.
American Farm Bureau Federation Federal Milk Marketing Order Work Group Update
By Scott Mason, Coos County Farm Bureau
June is National Dairy Month and what better time to begin a discussion on amending the Federal Milk Marketing Orders (FMMO). American Farm Bureau Federation has put together a work group to study the FMMO to suggest potential policy changes. There are three dairy farmers from each of the four AFBF regions of the country serving on this committee.
The question before us: Do nothing, tinker with the system a bit, or build a new system of price discovery.
Currently less than 10% of milk solids are used to price all of the milk. Most milk products do not qualify to be used in the pricing formula, especially the value-added products. Is there a better price discovery system? A no vote on an amendment to a FMMO does away with the federal order. Processors are calling for larger make allowances. There are many dairymen calling for some type of a supply management system. Are there too many classes of milk? Has America become the balancing plant for the world’s milk supply? European Union price is up and ours is down after they did away with supply management. We supply China with 14% of their dairy needs, but only 5% of their total dairy value. Do farmers and processors share price risk?
We will be meeting through conference calls throughout the summer to look at these issues and others impacting the Federal Orders. The NHFB Dairy Committee will be meeting to discuss the issue of FMMO as well. I plan to reach out to the other New England Dairy Committees for similar conversations. You can follow our progress on the AFBF website: AFBF Federal Milk Marketing Order Reform Overview – Latest research from AFBF
The work group will get back together in September to write a white paper for the AFBF board and policy discussion.
The New Hampshire Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmer Committee held their annual Legislative Breakfast event at Pearl & Sons Farm in Loudon on Tuesday, March 26. Each spring, the group of agricultural enthusiasts between the ages of 16 and35 invites members of the NH House Environment & Agriculture Committee, federal lawmakers, and other movers and shakers in NH agriculture to join them for a hearty meal and an opportunity to hear concerns facing young farmers across the state.Continue reading
Concord, NH. – New Hampshire’s senior Senator heard from a dozen or so NH farmers and agricultural specialists last Friday at the New Hampshire Farm Bureau Federation (NHFB) office in Concord. Senator Jeanne Shaheen wanted to know how or if the partial government shutdown, now in its third week, is weighing on farmers in the Granite State.
“Right now we aren’t hearing from our members about many problems due to the shutdown, but that could change,” Said NHFB President Denis Ward. Hopkinton dairy farmer Jaime Robertson echoed those sentiments and cautioned, “A lot of it depends on how long this drags out.”
New Hampshire Farm Bureau Federation Holds
102nd Annual Meeting. New Slate of Officers and
Award Winners Announced
New Hampshire Farm Bureau Federation (NHFB) held its 102nd Annual Meeting on November 2nd and 3rd at the Mountain View Grand Resort in Whitefield, NH. The event, hosted by Coos County Farm Bureau, offered tours of local agricultural operations Fuller’s Sugarhouse and Forbes Dairy Farm, workshops, and competitions all in support of the theme “A Harvest of Farming History”
The culmination of NHFB’s grassroots policy development process occurs during the Meeting of the House of Delegates as part of each year’s Annual Meeting. Delegates, elected by their county Farm Bureau, met the morning of November 3rd to vote on the policies that will guide NHFB’s work in the coming year and to elect a slate of officers for 2019. The elected slate of officers is as follows: Denis Ward of Monroe – President, Joyce Brady of Columbia – 1st Vice President, Matt Scruton of Rochester – 2nd Vice President, Rebecca Stevens of Epsom – 2nd Vice President, Howard Pearl of Loudon – Treasurer.
The Annual Meeting Banquet, held the evening of November 2nd, recognized outstanding achievements and contributions to agriculture from NHFB members. To view the full list of awards given out that evening, click here.
Throughout the month of August, New Hampshire Farm Bureau (NHFB) joins with 70+ partners throughout the state to highlight New Hampshire Eat Local Month — a month-long celebration of local food and New Hampshire farmers and producers.
“New Hampshire residents, and visitors alike, are showing unprecedented interest in local food, and this month-long celebration offers a great opportunity to feature New Hampshire grown foods and farms,” said Gail McWilliam Jellie from the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food.
With 70+ partners working together to bring you great NH Eat Local Month festivities, it won’t be hard for you to find a way to get involved!
Concord, NH – Across the country, county and state Farm Bureaus are making safety a priority through the Agricultural Safety Awareness Program. As part of ASAP, March 4-10 has been designated as Agricultural Safety Awareness Week. U.S. Agricultural Safety and Health Centers will join Farm Bureau in promoting the week with its theme “No One Can Take Your Place.”
A different safety focus will be highlighted by New Hampshire Farm Bureau and U.S. Ag Centers each day of the week:
Monday, March 5 – Hearing
Tuesday, March 6 – Respiratory
Wednesday, March 7 – Impaired Driving
Thursday, March 8 – Fire
Friday, March 9 – General Health
Each year, NHFB has the honor of presenting the Profile Award to recognize a New Hampshire person or persons for distinguished service to agriculture and rural life. Nominations for this award come from County Farm Bureau Board of Directors and are judged by a panel of past Profile Award winners.
The 2017 Profile Award was presented to Bill & Heidi Bartlett of Bartlett Blueberry Farm in Newport, NH. Bill & Heidi Bartlett purchased what is now Bartlett’s Blueberry Farm in Newport in 1985 and have continued its growth as a successful farm and business for over 30 years. Beyond that, their contributions to the community have been just as important as their dedication to agriculture.
This year’s NHFB Young Farmer Achievement Award went to Jeff Moore of Windswept Maples Farm in Loudon, NH.
The NHFB Young Farmer Achievement Award competition recognizes young people between the ages of 18 to 35 who have excelled in their farming operation and have shown leadership abilities through Farm Bureau and in their community. The ideal candidate for the award is an individual or couple involved in production agriculture with the majority of their income subject to normal production risk.
The 2017 NHFB Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award was given to Bruce & Rebecca Stevens of Epsom, NH. The award acknowledges the efforts of Young Farmers who do not derive the majority of their income from farming, but are actively contributing to agriculture and to their community.
Bruce & Rebecca Stevens have a small farm in Epsom raising beef cattle and hay. Rebecca became involved with FFA while attending Coe-Brown Northwood Academy winning numerous awards and serving as chapter Vice-President. She was instrumental in the formation of the school’s FFA Alumni Chapter and served two terms as President. Bruce gained experience in agriculture working for local dairy farms and eventually started working for Dairy Farmers of America as a milk truck driver. He now owns his own commercial trucking company. Rebecca has served on the Merrimack County Farm Bureau Board of Directors for many years and is currently serving her first term as President.
Glen Putnam was awarded this year’s NHFB Young Farmer Animal Husbandry Award. He owns and operates Winsome Farm Organics in Piermont, NH producing organic milk, beef, and more as a sixth generation farmer.
Amelia Aznive of Concord, NH was named the winner of the 2017 NHFB Young Farmer Discussion Meet. Competitors in the Discussion Meet prepare thoughts and opinions on various subjects facing agriculture and cooperatively work towards a solution.
The goal of the Discussion Meet is to develop leaders for effective problem solving through group discussion, similar to the organization’s grassroots policy development process. The competition provides an opportunity for Young Farmers to build basic discussion skills, give and receive criticism in a helpful manner, develop an understanding of important issues, explore and pool knowledge to reach consensus, and solve problems.
New Hampshire Farm Bureau Federation (NHFB) held its 101st Annual Meeting on November 10th and 11th in Keene, NH. The event, hosted by Cheshire County Farm Bureau, offered farm tours, workshops, and competitions along with a chance to celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of NHFB members.
The second day of the meeting focused on the grassroots policy development process where NHFB members craft the policy that guides the organization. The House of Delegates also voted to reelect the current slate of officers as follows: Denis Ward of Monroe – President, Joyce Brady of Columbia – 1st Vice President, Matt Scruton – 2nd Vice President, Thomas McElroy – 2nd Vice President, Howard Pearl – Treasurer, Ruth Scruton – Associated Women of NHFB President, Alicia Pedemonti – Young Farmer Committee Chair.
Concord, NH – Hannaford Supermarkets announced the donation of $40,000 dollars to the New Hampshire Farm Bureau (NHFB) Young Farmers Committee Harvest for All program on Monday, September 25th as well as donations to other groups and organizations in New England serving those at risk of going hungry. The donations, part of the Hannaford Helps initiative, were announced at Brookdale Fruit Farm in Hollis, where the NHFB Young Farmers were picking up farm fresh produce to deliver to the New Hampshire Food Bank.
Each year, as part of the Harvest for All program, the Young Farmers organize the collection and donation of healthful, nutritious, and locally raised produce and meat to food banks and soup kitchens across the state. In 2015 & 2016, the group transported over 13,000 pounds of food from NHFB member farms to the NH Food Bank and other local agencies. That dedication was noticed by Hannaford Supermarkets and their grant will help the project continue and expand.