By Sydney Garrett
Through its annual County Activities of Excellence Awards, the American Farm Bureau Federation celebrates county Farm Bureaus for their unique, volunteer-driven programming. The following counties are being recognized for their programs and activities in 2021 and 2022. The programs featured here focused on education and agricultural promotion.
Farm to Table Gala – Mifflin County Farm Bureau, Pennsylvania
To promote locally produced products and connect county farmers to the public, the Mifflin County Farm Bureau hosted a Farm to Table Gala. One hundred tickets were sold for the event and the meal was planned and prepared using almost entirely local products.
The event also helped increase county Farm Bureau membership.
Taste of Volusia County – Volusia County Farm Bureau, Florida
Taste of Volusia County was a farm-to-table social that highlighted Farm Bureau members’ farms to the Volusia County public. During the event, created by the county Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee, the 300 guests were given a tasting card that detailed all the farms and ranches in attendance, encouraging them to stop by each booth to taste and learn about the provided products.
Thanks-4-Giving – Berrien County Farm Bureau, Michigan
On Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, the Berrien County Farm Bureau partnered with county 4-H clubs and the Collegiate Farm Bureau for "Thanks-4-Giving," a program to provide bushel baskets filled with the ingredients for a traditional Thanksgiving feast to families in need.
The groups distributed roughly 4,400 pounds of food to 110 families. The donation included recipes and handouts with information about agriculture in their community. The event also strengthened relationships between Farm Bureau members and the agriculture-focused youth in their community.
Farm Bureau Goes To Market – Scioto County Farm Bureau, Ohio
Farm Bureau Goes To Market is a four-month series of free events for children at the county farmers market. The program began in May with planting Mother's Day flowers to take home. In June, Scioto County Farm Bureau helped kids build bird feeders as a gift for Father's Day. July and August focused on snack recipes using locally grown fruit from the local Farmers' Market. These programs were provided by the Scioto County Board members and every board member participated.
The objective was to educate kids about where their food comes from and to provide support and awareness to the local farmers who participate in the farmers market. The program reached 140 kids and their families.
Storytime with a Farmer – Fayette County Farm Bureau, Ohio
Fayette County Farm Bureau wanted to help students in their community learn about where their food originates and who was growing that food, so they created Storytime with a Farmer. The project took many forms including weekly classroom readings by a farmer accompanied with related take-home items, donations of accurate ag books and a video project.
Fayette County shares that building community relationships with educational institutions such as schools and libraries is key to getting accurate agriculture information into the hands of young people.
Farmer Fred – Cherokee County Farm Bureau, Texas
Based on the popular Flat Stanley children’s activity, Cherokee County Farm Bureau created their own character named Farmer Fred with the goal to increase county children’s interest in agriculture. Farmer Fred has been included in video projects, social media campaigns and at the county wide Ag Day helping to share the goals of Farm Bureau.
Farmer Fred was also welcomed into all kinds of homes and classrooms and fulfilled his mission of broadening Cherokee County’s Farm Bureau’s reach outside of the local community while spreading the message that agriculture is alive and well.
Reindeer Feed Store – Montgomery County Farm Bureau, Texas
Each year, Santa and his reindeer fly around the globe to deliver gifts and Christmas cheer, but what does it take to keep Santa’s reindeer healthy? By enlisting the support of the community, the Montgomery County Farm Bureau engaged more than 1,200 people at the annual community Christmas celebration to teach kids and adults what is needed for a healthy reindeer’s diet.
Agricultural principles were taught through a hands-on activity where children could add hay for roughage, oats for protein
and corn for energy to a “feed bag” they could take home and leave on their front lawn on Christmas Eve to help the reindeer refuel. The Reindeer Feed Store sparked conversations about the nutritional needs of humans and livestock and how agriculture fits into Christmas.
Applications are now open for the 2024 County Activities of Excellence. Up to 24 counties will display their winning activities at the 2024 American Farm Bureau Convention in Salt Lake City in January. County award winners receive up to four free registrations to the Annual Convention (cost of travel and housing not included) and a $2,250 stipend to apply toward the cost of travel and exhibition.
Sydney Garrett is the communications assistant for the American Farm Bureau Federation.