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IOW Farm Bureau delegates participated in convention

Steven W. Crocker, J.W. Jones Jr, and Annette Crocker of Isle of Wight County Farm Bureau were among 276 delegates who helped formulate legislative policies during the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation 2017 Annual Convention.

Overall, three Isle of Wight County Farm Bureau representatives attended the convention, which was held Nov. 28-30 in Williamsburg.

The delegates adopted policy positions to guide Farm Bureau’s legislative direction during the 2018 General Assembly. Issues that were addressed included funding support for Ag Best Management Practice Cost-Share Program, including technical and engineering assistance; funding for essential positions within Virginia Cooperative Extension; farmers’ groundwater usage rights; and updates to current land use assessment law.

Along with setting legislative priorities, delegates re-elected five members of the VFBF board of directors: Emily F. Edmondson of Tazewell County, M.L. Everett Jr. of Southampton County, Thomas E. Graves of Orange County, Gordon R. Metz Jr. of Henry County and Robert J. Mills Jr. of Pittsylvania County.

Convention participants also heard from several speakers.

Keynote speaker Tyne Morgan, host of U.S. Farm Report, gave farmers an economic outlook on agriculture and told participants that farmers’ adaptability keeps U.S. agriculture viable. Vincent “Zippy” Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, encouraged Farm Bureau members to engage lawmakers and other representatives and advocate for themselves. Vance Crowe, director of millennial engagement for Monsanto, told participants they need to counter farming falsehoods with the truth.

Two workshops engaged members in discussions about their land and operations, including Cannabis Production —‚ Are There Value-added Crop Opportunities? It featured Kristi Kelly, director of the Colorado-based Marijuana Industry Group, and Lindsay Reames, Virginia assistant secretary of agriculture and forestry. Participants learned what to consider when leasing land to cellular and solar companies in Lessons Learned on Leases — Solar, Cellular and Others, featuring attorneys Mark Botkin and Kevin Rose of Botkin Rose PLC in Harrisonburg.

Isle of Wight County Farm Bureau is one of 88 county Farm Bureaus in the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. With 127,000 members, VFBF is Virginia’s largest farmers’ advocacy group. Farm Bureau is a non-governmental, nonpartisan, voluntary organization committed to supporting Virginia’s agriculture industry and preserving the Virginia way of life. View more convention news at vafb.com/convention.