by Carol Dunn
WALSENBURG — The Huerfano County Farm Bureau annual luncheon meeting was held November 4 at the United Church in Walsenburg and was attended by about two dozen local members and guests.
State Farm Bureau regional manager Jayde Van Cleave told the group that the Farm Bureau took positions on about 70 legislative bills this year on topics relevant to its members, including water, property rights, oil & gas issues, and hemp production. “Some legislation is a matter of survival for ag families,” he explained.
According to Van Cleave, the Farm Bureau uses its “Pedal the Plains” bicycle tour to “get the word out about agriculture” and various Colorado legislators join in, riding bicycles alongside their constituents on the tour route. He reported that Farm Bureau is “one big family” and told of relief efforts provided to rural families by the organization in the wake of the devastating blizzard last winter and the recent fires.
Also in attendance was State Farm Bureau Associate Director of Training & Development, Kacie Burns, who reported that Colorado is the only state-level Farm Bureau organization working on educating and growing the next generation of ag leaders. One of those initiatives is “Ag in Motion,” an educational experience for groups of children which teaches them about food production, natural resources, wildlife and water. Burns said Farm Bureau also has a leadership program intended to build up and empower youth to go into agricultural production and become advocates for agriculture. Colorado is leading the effort to build leadership cooperation with other states.
Farm Bureau State Board member Tony Hass told the group that, as a grass roots organization, Farm Bureau policy originates with the local members. He suggested that the Army’s proposed expansion of its Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site in Colorado is still an active concern and may see increased discussion in 2018 and beyond.
Neesha Stroh stepped down as Young Farmer & Rancher representative of the local Farm Bureau board, and the position was filled by Nick Lewis, who will be was added as a director as of January. The other members of the board of directors include John Stroh, Rachel Rheuby, Rick Dunn, Paul Coe, Maurice Heikes, and Dave Stroh.
In summing up Farm Bureau activities around the state, Huerfano County Farm Bureau president John Stroh said, “Our job is to represent and work for the cause of agriculture.”
During the meeting, Connie Hass also gave a short presentation about Ronald McDonald House and allowed the meeting attendees the opportunity to donate toward its mission. Door prizes for the annual meeting were donated by JM Tire, Big R, City Auto and Colorado Farm Bureau.