Tag Archives: New Hampshire Farm Bureau

Partners in Advocacy Leadership Program Brings New Experiences for Cheshire County Farmer

Beth Hodge (Far right) is one of 10 participants from across the country taking part in the 10th class of American Farm Bureau’s Partners in Advocacy Leadership (PAL) Program. The group spent time in New York City facing mock interviews and receiving training for various media situations.

Newly elected Cheshire County Farm Bureau President Beth Hodge has lots on her plate. Running Echo Farm Pudding along with her sister Courtney, being an active member of NH Farm Bureau, and she recently added one more item: American Farm Bureau Federation’s Partners in Advocacy Leadership (PAL) Program! Beth is one of 10 members from across the country of the 10th PAL class which is designed to help today’s agricultural leaders accelerate their engagement abilities and solidify their role as advocates for agriculture.
 
Through a rigorous, two-year curriculum, participants of PAL use interactive real world experiences to encourage personal and professional growth.

“It’s been an incredible experience so far,” Beth said. “I’m learning so much about myself and really exploring how to use my skills to take my agricultural advocacy to the next level!”

Learn more about how the PAL program is growing agricultural advocates below through videos produced by the participants themselves! 
 
 

Advocacy and Education

Karen Wright of Trail Bend Farm in Belmont teaches fourth grade students about raising chickens at the Belknap County School to Farm Day. Their favorite part of the presentation was most definitely getting to pet a live chicken!

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.

  • Amy Matarozzo of LorrenJoyce Farm in Barnstead presents at the Belknap County School to Farm Day as NH Commissioner of Education Frank Edelblut looks on.

“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.

NH Farm Bureau Celebrates National Dairy Month

It’s the time of year when cows head back out to pastures of plenty and green fields across the state sprout the familiar signs of summer. Appropriately enough, it’s also time to celebrate June as National Dairy Month.

According to the International Dairy Foods Association, National Dairy Month began as National Milk Month way back in 1937 in hopes of promoting milk consumption during a period of surplus. Over the years National Dairy Month has evolved to spotlight all of the dairy industry’s contributions to society. From nutritious and tasty food products to open space conservation and economic activity, the dairy industry has a positive impact on our lives in many ways.

In coordination with National Dairy Month, the New Hampshire Farm Bureau Young Farmers Committee is again accepting the 10 Gallon Challenge and wants you to follow along as they do. Visit their Facebook page all June long to see Young Farmers crisscross the state purchasing 10 gallons of milk to support the dairy industry and donating it to food pantries and soup kitchens to help fight food insecurity. Last year they completed the challenge in every county in NH and inspired even more people to join in (check out the recap video of last year’s challenge below). This year they hope to triple their donations!

In other dairy-related news, New Hampshire Farm Bureau will have a seat at the table for American Farm Bureau’s Federal Milk Marketing Order Working Group. Coos County dairy farmer Scott Mason will head to Washington, D.C. this month as one of three farmers representing the Northeast Region.

So get a moo-ve on and start celebrating National Dairy Month. Raise a glass of your favorite milk, add an extra slice of cheese to that burger, or just thank your local dairy farmer!

NH Farm Bureau Members Featured on New HISTORY Series

(Left to Right) Si, Bram, Heather, Jamie, and Nate Robertson. The Robertsons own and operate Bohanan Farm & Contoocook Creamery in Hopkinton, NH. The family are featured in the new HISTORY series ‘The American Farm’ which debuts Thursday, April 4 at 10 PM. Photo courtesy of HISTORY/The American Farm

To be a successful farmer you have to be a jack of all trades. Some days you are an electrician, other days you may be a plumber, and sometimes –on a good day- you get to farm too! The Robertson family from Hopkinton, NH spent the last year adding yet another job title to that list: Television stars.

Jaime and Heather Robertson and their three sons Si, Nate, and Bram, who operate Bohanan Farm & Contoocook Creamery in Hopkinton, are one of five farms from across the country being featured on a new HISTORY series called ‘The American Farm’. HISTORY bills the show as, “an authentic portrait of the fight to go from seed to stalk, and from farm to fork. The series presents an up-close look at one full year of family farming.” A film crew spent most of last year documenting the lives of the Robertsons from the fields to the dinner table.

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Senator Shaheen Hears Farmers’ Concerns Amid Shutdown Fears

Senator Jeanne Shaheen speaks with dairy farmer Jamie Robertson, who along with his family, operates Contoocook Creamery in Hopkinton.

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.”

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NH Farm Bureau 102nd Annual Meeting Recap

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.

  • The 102nd Annual Meeting of New Hampshire Farm Bureau started off with a farm tour of Fuller's Sugarhouse. Here owner David Fuller explains how sap flows throughout the facility while Stan Knecht looks on.

 

Safety Program a Success for New Hampshire Farmers

Editor’s Note: March 4 – 10 is Agricultural Safety Awareness Program Week (ASAP). ASAP was created to bring awareness to safety and health issues facing the agriculture industry. The following article can also be found in the March/April Issue of ‘The Communicator’

Reflecting on his chosen profession, Chichester farmer and past Merrimack County Farm Bureau President, Steve MacCleery, paused before declaring, “The biggest thing I can say about farming is that it’s difficult, but I enjoy it.” Steve explained that he and his wife Holly didn’t get rich pursuing agriculture, but they agreed that it was a great way to raise their children and to enjoy earning a living. “Having said that, you have to try to be safe.”

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Ag Safety Awareness Week: No One Can Take Your Place

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

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Bartletts Recognized with NHFB Profile Award

Bill & Heidi Bartlett of Bartlett’s Blueberry Farm in Newport were presented with the prestigious NHFB Profile Award by Seth Wilner at the NHFB 101st Annual Meeting.

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.

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NHFB Young Farmer Achievement Award Goes to Jeff Moore

Jeff Moore was presented with the NHFB Young Farmer Achievement Award by Gail McWilliam Jellie at the NHFB 101st Annual Meeting.

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.

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Bruce & Rebecca Stevens Win NHFB Excellence in Agriculture Award

State Representative Howard Pearl (center) presents the NHFB Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award to Bruce & Rebecca Stevens of Epsom at the NHFB 101st Annual Meeting

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.

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Glen Putnam Takes Home Animal Husbandry Award

Glen Putnam was awarded the 2017 NHFB Young Farmer Animal Husbandry Award by NHFB Executive Director Diane Clary at the organization’s 101st Annual Meeting.

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.

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Amelia Aznive Wins Young Farmer Discussion Meet

Amelia Aznive won the 2017 NHFB Young Farmer Discussion Meet at the organization’s 101st Annual Meeting. She will move on to compete nationally in Nashville, Tennessee in January.

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.

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NHFB Holds 101st Annual Meeting

Attendees of the New Hampshire Farm Bureau Federation 101st Annual Meeting in Keene engaged in workshops presented by American Farm Bureau Federation staff.

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.

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NHFB Young Farmers Receive $40,000 Grant from Hannaford Supermarkets

The New Hampshire Farm Bureau Young Farmers received a $40,000 dollar grant from Hannaford Supermarkets for their Harvest for All program. (left to right) Theo Mongeau, Young Farmer Committee Chair Amy Matarozzo, Leandra Pritchard, Young Farmer Coordinator Josh Marshall, Madison Hardy, and Tyler Hardy accept the check at a presentation held at Brookdale Fruit Farm in Hollis.

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.

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