New Hampshire Farm Bureau First Vice-President Joyce Brady leads a discussion on policy resolutions at this year’s House of Delegates Meeting alongside NHFB President Denis Ward.
On Saturday, November 7, the New Hampshire Farm Bureau (NHFB) “House of Delegates” consisting of 23 representatives of the county Farm Bureau organizations met at The Johnson Barn in Northwood to elect NHFB officers and set NHFB policy for the coming year. Those elected were:
President – Denis Ward, Monroe
First Vice-President – Joyce Brady, Columbia
Second Vice-President – Tom McElroy, Newton
Second Vice-President – Jay Phinizy, Acworth
Treasurer – Howard Pearl, Loudon
All were re-elected with the exception of Jay Phinizy, who was elected to a vacant seat on the Board. They will be joined on the NHFB Executive Committee by Associated Women’s President Elaine Moore from Westmoreland and Young Farmer Committee Co-Chairs Ammy Rice from Milford and Amelia Aznive from Concord. President Denis Ward was also elected to serve as NHFB’s Delegate to the American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting being held remotely this coming January.
In addition, the Delegates approved 19 of 25 proposed policy resolutions and/or changes to the existing NHFB policy document proposed by county Farm Bureau membership or NHFB Committees. These included policies dealing with enhancing meat processing options and encouraging milk production in the state as well as support for a state law limiting the liability of farmers providing agritourism activities to the public. Currently 31 states have agritourism immunity laws on the books. Newly adopted resolutions will be printed in the next edition of The Communicator.
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.
The 2016 growing season has brought its fair share of trials and troubles to the Granite State. We have all been experiencing, either first hand or through the countless news stories on television and on-line, the effects of a prolonged and fierce drought. The dairy industry may have been hit the worst as the unique combination of weather and low milk prices has led to twice as many New Hampshire dairy farms closing up shop this year than the previous four years combined. While no one can legislate enough rain to pull us out of the drought, our farmers have begun calling for legislative remedies to the dairy crisis looming over the state. As more and more folks speak up and challenge our elected officials to find a way to help, those officials have been forced to listen.
Politicians have been visiting farms and holding meetings to gather information. They are reaching out to lawmakers in Washington, D.C. and saying all the right things. But so far no action has been taken. Although a Milk Producers Emergency Relief Fund was established in New Hampshire in 2008, it has never been funded. The assurances and platitudes have borne no fruit.
While our legislators have had no choice but to pay heed to the challenges facing agriculture, moving forward it is up to us as individuals to hold them to their campaign promises. Listen to what your local and regional leaders are saying about how they will help agriculture. Get involved by calling or writing your Representatives and Senators. But don’t stop after you cast your vote in November. As an industry we must be sure the promises made in an election year are followed through when we need them most.
As a grassroots organization, Farm Bureau’s best gift to you is the confidence that thousands of other farmers, conservationists, and land owners stand behind you, but it is the power of individuals getting involved that makes the biggest difference. This time of year you have the opportunity to help write the policy that guides our organization by attending your County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting. Policies adopted at those meetings move along to the Policy Development Committee and finally the delegate session at NH Farm Bureau’s Annual Meeting in November. Through this policy development process, Farm Bureau’s members plot the course of action we will take as the voice of agriculture in New Hampshire.
-Josh Marshall, NH Farm Bureau Communications Director