MFBF Office Headquarters
Address 249 Lakeside Ave Marlborough, MA 01752
Phone: 508.481.4766 | Fax: 508.481.4768
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**NOTICE OF BYLAW AMENDMENT TO BE CONSIDERED AT MFBF ANNUAL MEETING**
Pursuant to Article XIV, Section 14.7 of the Bylaws of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation, Inc., notice is hereby given that the delegates assembled at the November 30th MFBF Annual Meeting will be asked to consider an amendment to Article IV, Section 4.2(a) related to the membership year of the County Farm Bureaus, and any related actions. The text of such amendment will be provided to officers and directors of the federation, and county presidents and secretaries in accordance with the bylaws. Further, a copy of the proposed amendment will be sent to all
End of the Formal Legislative Session by Brad Mitchell
The formal legislative session ended on July 31st. Massachusetts operates in increments of two-year legislative sessions. While this technically runs until December 31st of the second year, neither the House nor the Senate typically meet “formally” from August through the end of the second year’s session. Both will meet in “informal” sessions from August until the holidays.
It is a misconception that bills do not pass during informal sessions. Literally hundreds of bills are passed into law during this time. However, while in informal session, there has to be unanimous support of the members present for the bill to move on in the process. If one legislator opposes a bill, it cannot pass in informal session.
MFBF has a number of bills pending in the legislature which we would like to see passed, and several which we oppose. Most of our bills are not controversial and have a good chance of making it through the informal process. There are several we will be trying to pass during the informal session which include:
- HB 3221 – An Act to strengthen and expand the Board of Agriculture
- HB 3351 – An Act to strengthen the Massachusetts agricultural infrastructure relative to meat and poultry production and processing
- HB SB 2047 – An Act to promote the environmentally sound transportation of agricultural products
- HB 240 - An Act relative to the milk producer’s security fund reimbursement
During the next couple of months, please keep an eye out for Action Alerts in your email. We may need you to call your legislators and remind them of the importance of these bills to the farming community.
Controversial bills are not likely to pass through the informal process. Such bills include the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) bills to ban veal and gestation crates. MFBF members did a good job educating lawmakers that the HSUS bills have no benefit in MA (no farmer in MA uses either veal or gestation crates) and would serve only to undermine consumer confidence in MA agriculture. Several legislators have assured me that they would not allow the HSUS bills to pass during informal sessions.
One of the reasons the legislature has informal sessions is to allow them to prepare bills for the next formal session. During the next few months, MFBF staff will be meeting with legislators to discuss and prepare bills for the 2013-2014 session. Bills need to be filed by the 1st Wednesday of December. For those members who will be offering resolutions that involve filing legislation, please call me to discuss. There isn’t much time between the Delegate Session of our State Annual Meeting and the filing deadline. However, if I know in advance that something is coming, I can be prepared to move forward if the resolution is adopted.
USDA Seeks Applications for Grants to Help Ag Producers Bring Increased Value to Their Products
From the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) most recent funding announcement: USDA Rural Development is allocating up to $14 million in grants available for projects that help farmers produce bio-based products from agricultural commodities.
The Value-Added Producer Grants program is designed to help agricultural producers enter into value-added activities. These grants can be used to assist in the funding of an anaerobic digester if it is part of a project that adds value to an agricultural product. For example, if digested manure solids are going to be made into a commercial fertilizer product or if the methane generated is used to power the value-added process (milk processing, cheese making).
Awards may be made for either economic planning or working capital activities related to the processing and/or marketing of valued-added agricultural products. The maximum grant amount for a planning grant is $100,000 and the maximum grant amount for a working capital grant is $300,000. USDA requires that every dollar in grant funds be matched, either in the form of cash or eligible in-kind contributions.
The deadline to apply for funding is October 15, 2012. Questions should be directed to your USDA Rural Development State Office.
MFBF 93rd Annual Meeting information
Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Meeting, hosted by Berskshire County Farm Bureau, will be held on November 29th at the Crowne Plaza in Pittsfield, MA. Join your neighbors and friends in celebrating Massachusetts agricultural industry and the successes of the state’s largest general farm organization.
This two-day event is where Farm Bureau members establish policy for the upcoming year, attend workshops and learning sessions, as well as enjoy good food, entertainment and a bit of rest and relaxation away from the farm . This year’s MFBF Annual Meeting is a value-packed program.
Thursday, November 29th will be full of workshops with an awards program at lunch. The dinner banquet will honor the 2012 John Ogonowski award winner.
Staying overnight? Farm Bureau Members can book accommodations for Wednesday, November 28th & Thursday, November 29th at a rate of $99.95 for a single or double room at the Crowne Plaza. Taxes are extra. The hotel address is: One West Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201 Telephone 413-499-2000 or toll free 1-800-2 CROWNE
The Delegate Session will be on Friday, Novembe 30th It is our delegate session that helps guide and direct MFBF. It is through our membership’s grassroots efforts that we develop resolutions which direct our organization for the upcoming year. Contact your County Farm Bureau President if you would like to become a delegate.
Sponsorship Opportunities & Trade Show Booth Information
Trade Booth space is being offered again this year. Trade booth space will be $350 for an 8’x2’ booth. Booth space this year is at a premium and based on prior demand, you should act quickly to reserve your spot.
ANNUAL MEETING SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
MFBF is again offering annual meeting sponsorship opportunities. The Board of Directors will recognize your company as an industry leader by sponsoring the 2012 MFBF Annual meeting and its activities. We are offering four levels of sponsorship:
Platinum Level- $500
Please contact John Conners or Susan Cornelia at 508-481-4766 or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org We have a special offer for those who sponsor at the Platinum level. If you contact us no later than November 16th, your sponsorship will include a free booth!
MFBF President’s Corner by A. Richard Bonanno, Ph.D., Massachusetts Farm Bureau President
As I write this column Labor Day is fast approaching, and with it comes the peak of the harvest season for many fruits, vegetables, and fall-blooming plants. Some much-needed rain has fallen in most locations across the state and, overall, the anticipated yields for most crops look good. Although it’s a lot of work and expense, supplemental irrigation has kept our crops growing through the dry spells.
Living in a state with plentiful water, irrigation systems on most farms, and high value crops, we are shielded a bit from some of what Mother Nature can dish out. The recent visit by a group of Young Farmers and Ranchers from Illinois made this abundantly clear. For most of them, rainfall is the only way their crops receive water. Many had lost their entire corn crop. A lucky few had received an occasional thunderstorm, resulting in a single ear of corn for every three stalks in the field. The rising price of corn, however, has helped to offset the poor harvest.
In July, I attended the Council of Presidents meeting at AFBF in Washington DC. We spent a good deal of time working on the Centennial Development Project--defining the vision for AFBF and discussing how both AFBF and the agricultural landscape will change, and should change, in the coming decades. Congressman Frank Lucas (Oklahoma), Chair of the House Agriculture Committee, spoke to us about the fate of the 2012 Farm Bill. The Senate did pass a bill with cuts to all three major areas (commodity programs, conservation, and nutrition). On the House side, the Ag Committee put forward its own bill, also with cuts. However, Chairman Lucas said he wasn’t sure if he could get the full House to pass the bill. In this age of huge federal deficits and with the need for deep budget cuts, the division between agricultural interests and nutrition interests has never been greater. What I took from all of this is that a new Farm Bill is unlikely to pass unless it can go to conference without a full House vote. It would need to be attached to another bill during the lame duck session after the election. A new Farm Bill will be favorable to both specialty crop and dairy producers. Congress could also vote to extend the current Farm Bill or, in a worst case scenario, the current bill will expire and farm policy would revert to almost century old policies which would be devastating for both dairy and specialty crop producers. So much is uncertain at this time.
In early August, the MFBF Board of Directors met with representatives from UMass at the site of the future UMass Agricultural Learning Center on the Amherst campus. Many of our benefactors, as well as all of the Farm Family agents, were in attendance. It was a great opportunity to see the 50 acre field and get a feel for the proposed layout of the project. I have high expectations for this venture. It will serve a key role in the education of UMass undergraduates, bringing hands-on practical agriculture into the “classroom”. If you have not yet contributed, please consider being a part of this endeavor through your financial support. Please go to our website www.mfbf.net and pledge to this campaign.
Farm Family representatives Jim Bettini, Tom Kolberg, Lewis DuFort, and Steve Charette also attended our August 1st Board meeting at UMass to honor Frank Bingham for 40 years of service to Farm Family and to the farmers of Norfolk County. Congratulations to Frank for his many years of service!
As always, I appreciate your thoughts and criticisms. I plan to be at every County Annual meeting except Worcester (same night as Essex). See you there.
Rich Bonanno, Ph.D., President
Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation
Are you up to the challenge? Young Farmer Competitions at the MFBF Annual Meeting in Berkshire County
We are seeking Young Farmers who are between the ages of 18 and 35 and are members in good standing to participate in our upcoming competitions at the MFBF Annual Meeting on November 29th & 30th. The winners will go on to compete at the national level, and represent our great state amongst other Young Farmers and Ranchers from around the country. Winners will receive a trip to the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee in January 2013; or, the American Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Leadership Conference in Phoenix, Arizona in February 2013!
DISCUSSION MEET COMPETITION
There will be two Discussion Meet competitions; The “Collegiate Discussion Meet” is open to college-aged participants, and the “AFBF Discussion Meet” is open to Young Farmers who are no longer in that age bracket.
The Discussion Meet contests are designed to simulate a committee meeting where discussion and active participation are expected from each participant. These competitions are evaluated on the exchange of ideas and information about a pre-determined topic. The judges are looking for the contestant that offers constructive criticism, cooperation, and communication while analyzing agricultural problems and developing solutions.
2013 Discussion Meet Questions:
- Certain sectors of agriculture are labor intensive and rely heavily on immigrant workers. What is a fair and balanced immigration policy?
- What can be done to encourage young farmers and ranchers to return home to the farm if it means living in a rural area that does not provide the same amenities (education, health care, technology) as a metropolitan community?
- How do we reach out to associate members to provide value to their membership?
- How should Farm Bureau help prepare its members--both young and old--for transferring operations to the next generation of farmers and ranchers?
- What is Farm Bureau’s role in encouraging more transfers?
- How can Farm Bureau play a role to ensure the viability of quality agricultural education programs within our schools?
Excellence in Agriculture Award:
The Farm Bureau Excellence in Agriculture Award Program is designed as an opportunity for Young Farmers & Ranchers, while actively contributing and growing through their involvement in Farm Bureau and agriculture, to earn recognition. Participants will be judged on their involvement in agriculture, leadership ability, involvement and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations (i.e., civic, service and community).
Agriculture Achievement Award:
The American Farm Bureau Federation Achievement Award Program is designed to recognize those Young Farmers & Ranchers that have excelled in their farming/ranching operations and honed their leadership abilities to superiority. The contestants will be evaluated on a combination of their farming operation growth and financial progress of operation, FB Leadership, as well as leadership outside of Farm Bureau. More specifically, the judges will be looking for excellence in management, growth and scope of the enterprise and self-initiative that have been displayed throughout the operation. A contestant’s participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations is a definite point getter from the judges.
PRIZES, PRIZES, PRIZES!
There are substantial prizes awarded to the winners of these competitions. The “Collegiate Discussion Meet” winner receives a $2,500 scholarship; three finalists each receive a $1,000 scholarship; and, every participant receives a $250 scholarship.
Winners of the “AFBF Discussion Meet”, the “Excellence in Agriculture Award” and the “Agriculture Achievement Award” , have a choice of either a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado or a 2013 GMC Sierra and paid registration to the 2013 AFBF YF&R Leadership Conference in Phoenix, AZ. Three runners-up will each receive a Case IH Farmall 55A, a $2,500 cash prize, and a STIHL Farm Boss.
Contact Jamie Cruz at email@example.com if you are interested in participating in the upcoming competitions.
To learn more about the Young Farmers & Ranchers Competitions visit www.fb.org and all you need to do to get involved is contact the MFBF Office!
Interested In Attending the AFBF 94th Annual Meeting?
Members must register through their state Farm Bureau office to attend the AFBF annual meeting. Many state Farm Bureaus offer group travel arrangements.
Farm Bureau members arrive on Friday , January 11th and depart on either Tuesday, January 15th or Wednesday, January 16th. Farm Bureau members will attend group tours on Saturday, January 12th and Tuesday, January 15th. The AFBF Convention is held on Sunday, January 13 and Monday, January 14th. For full agenda and tour information and descriptions read below. For more information or to reserve your space contact John Conners at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office at 508-481-4766
Retired astronaut Mark Kelly will deliver the keynote address at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 2013 Annual Meeting, Jan. 13-16, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn.
More than 5,000 Farm Bureau members from across the nation are expected to gather in Nashville for the 94th annual meeting to hear from distinguished leaders and participate in a grassroots policy-setting process that will guide AFBF through 2013.
Kelly is one of America’s most experienced pilots and has logged more than 6,000 flight hours aboard more than 50 different aircraft. His experience includes 375 aircraft carrier landings, 39 combat missions, more than 50 days in space and serving as commander of the Space Shuttle Endeavor’s final mission.
In addition to his experience as an astronaut and Navy captain, Kelly is a prostate cancer survivor and best-selling author. “Moustronaut: A Partially True Story,” is a children’s book written by Kelly that is slated for release in October.
“We are excited to have Mark Kelly as our keynote speaker,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “His outstanding leadership, dedication to teamwork and courage under pressure are truly inspirational.”
Kelly is married to Gabrielle Giffords, the former member of Congress who survived an assassination attempt in January 2011. Watch Kelly’s YouTube video about speaking to Farm Bureau members at http://annualmeeting.fb.org.
Friday, January 11
1:00 p.m. Meeting Registration
Saturday, January 12
7:00 a.m. Meeting Registration
1:00 p.m. Cyber Café
6:00 p.m. State Presidents’ Dinner
Sunday, January 13
7:00 a.m. YF&R AA & EA Competitor Networking
7:30 a.m. Foundation Flapjack Fundraiser (by ticket only)
9:00 a.m. Opening General Session
11:00 a.m. Tradeshow Opens
11:15 a.m. YF&R Discussion Meet Competitor Orientation
YF&R Discussion Meet Judges Orientation
YF&R Discussion Meet Timekeepers Orientation
YF&R Achievement Award Top 10 Competitor Orientation
YF&R Excellence in Ag Top 10 Competitor Orientation
Exhibitor Seminar 1
Women’s Leadership Program Recognition Luncheon (by ticket only)
12:15 p.m. Exhibitor Seminar 2
1:00 p.m. YF&R Discussion Meet Round 1
YF&R Achievement Award Top 10 Interviews
YF&R Excellence in Ag Presentations (Part 1)
1:15 p.m. Exhibitor Seminar 3
1:45 p.m. Annual Meeting of Farm Bureau Women
2:15 p.m. Exhibitor Seminar 4
2:30 p.m. YF&R Discussion Meet Round 2
3:00 p.m. Conferences (four concurrent sessions)
3:15 p.m. Exhibitor Seminar 5
4:30 p.m. Vespers
5:15 p.m. YF&R Discussion Meet Sweet 16 Announcement
Monday, January 14
7:00 a.m. Cyber Café
7:30 a.m. Meeting Registration
8:00 a.m. Tradeshow Opens
YF&R Sweet 16 Discussion Meet
8:30 a.m. Conferences (four concurrent sessions)
Exhibitor Seminar 6
9:00 a.m. YF&R Achievement Award Top 10 Interviews
YF&R Excellence in Ag Top 10 Presentations
9:30 a.m. Exhibitor Seminar 7
9:45 a.m. State Women’s Leadership Chair Networking Session
10:00 a.m. YF&R Discussion Meet Final Four Announcement
10:30 a.m. Exhibitor Seminar 8
11:00 a.m. YF&R Final Four Discussion Meet
12:00 p.m. County President Luncheon
12:30 p.m. Exhibitor Seminar 9
1:15 p.m. Tradeshow Closes
1:30 p.m. Conferences (four concurrent sessions)
3:00 p.m. Closing General Session
Tuesday, January 15
7:00 a.m. Voting Delegate Session
12:00 p.m. Voting Delegate Luncheon
1:00 p.m. Regional Caucuses
Wednesday, January 16
7:00 a.m. AFBF Board of Directors Breakfast
8:00 a.m. AFBF Board of Directors Meeting
Delvin Organic Farm, Riverbend Nursery and Carnton Plantation
COST: $75 per person
Stop 1: Tour members will visit Hank and Cindy Delvin’s certified organic farm to see the latest in organic practices. This family enterprise includes a CSA in an urban market. See how the Delvin family works to connect non-farmers to their food.
Stop 2: Tennessee has the perfect weather for nursery stock. Tour members will visit a farm where trees and shrubs are shipped all
over the world. The Riverbend Nursery grows 1,500 varieties of plants in our advantageous climate.
Stop 3: Lunch will be in nearby Franklin.
Stop 4: Tour members will visit Carnton Plantation and the McGavock
Confederate Cemetery. Carnton Plantation was witness to The Battle of Franklin, which is called the deadliest four hours of the entire Civil War. The house and grounds served as the largest field hospital for hundreds of wounded and dying confederate soldiers for up to six months after the battle. A tour of the restored house reveals soldiers’ bloodstains on the floors and gives visitors a great lesson on the war and how it affected this 19th-century livestock farm.
George Dickel, Bellbuckle Café and Walking Horse Farm
COST: $65 per person
Stop 1: Tour members will visit George Dickel distillery and see the production of Tennessee whiskey from the arrival of grain to the fermenting vats to the charcoal mellowing process to the final process of aging whiskey in white oak barrels.
Stop 2: Step back in time to the small town of Bell Buckle, Tennessee, and have a lunch of good country cooking at the Bell Buckle Café and then take a short visit to the shops in Bell Buckle.
Stop 3: Tour members will visit one of the preeminent walking horse breeding operations in Tennessee. See the Tennessee Walking Horse and learn about its history from the time that it was the preferred horse of Southern plantation owners to its place today.
REMINDER: CHAPTERLAND FILING DEADLINE APPROACHING
Chapter 61 A is intended for landowners whose property is engaged in agricultural or horticultural use. Assessment is based on the land’s ability to produce the agricultural or horticultural product being grown. Forestland may be enrolled in this program and is based on your land’s ability to grow timber. Assessments and program requirements for Ch. 61A forestland are the same as they are in the Ch. 61 program. Filing deadline at your local assessor’s office is October 1st.
For more information feel free to contact Brad Mitchell via email email@example.com or at 508.481.4766
County Farm Bureau Policy Development Contacts
Farm Bureau members are encouraged to recommend ideas and issues for consideration by your County Farm Bureau at upcoming annual meetings. Your ideas can be shared with the County President and/or Policy Development Chair from your county, listed below:
BERKSHIRE Annual Meeting on 09/27/12
President: James Larkin 413-822-8774
Resolutions Chair: James Larkin
BRISTOL Annual Meeting on 10/18/12
President: David Brownell 508-992-4944
Resolutions Chair: Jackie Chamberlain 508-880-2817
CAPE/ISLANDS Annual Meeting on 10/16/12
President: Leo Cakounes 508-364-1532
Resolutions Chair: Leo Cakounes
ESSEX Annual Meeting on 10/18/12
President: Peter Gibney 978-777-4039
Resolutions Chair: Lisa Colby 978-499-8868
FRANKLIN Annual Meeting on 10/11/12
President: Lenny Roberts 413-522-1425
Resolutions Chair: Lenny Roberts
HAMPDEN Annual Meeting on 10/23/12
President: Leon Ripley 413-357-8829
Resolutions Chair: Willard McKinstry 413-536-2043
HAMPSHIRE Annual Meeting on 10/19/12
President: Paul Jekanowski 413-219-6041
Resolutions Chair: Charles Norris 413-527-1678
MIDDLESEX Annual Meeting on 10/17/12
President: Donna Kramer 508-429-6233
Resolutions Chair: Frank Matheson 978-486-3824
NORFOLK Annual Meeting on 10/09/12
President: Rudy Medeiros 781-344-4096
Resolutions Chair: Charles McNamara 781-344-6836
PLYMOUTH Annual Meeting on 08/27/12
President: Jim Hayward 617-827-1412
Resolutions Chair: Jim Hayward
WORCESTER Annual Meeting on 10/25/12
President: Jon Nourse 508-366-9891
Resolutions Chair: Mark Amato 508-951-0901
County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting Dates
Place: Pauline’s Restaurant at Greenock Country Club, 220
West Park St., Lee, MA 01238 Phone: 413.822.0453
Time: Social Hour at 6:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm
Cost: $ 30 per person
RSVP: by 9/21/2012 to Jeannette Rotondo at 413.243.0989.
Please send check ahead of time to Jeannette at 40 Stringer
Avenue, Lee, MA 01238
Place: Venus de Milo, 75 Grand Army Highway (Rte. 6),
Swansea, MA 02777 - Tel: 508.678.3901
Time: Social Hour from 5:30-6:00, dinner at 6:00pm
Cost: $ 35 per person
RSVP: Peggy Lopes at 508.822.6635 by October 11
Cape & Islands:
Place: Cape Codder, 1225 Iyannough Road, Hyannis, MA
02601 Tel: 888.297.2200
Time: Cocktails at 6:00pm, dinner at 7:00pm
Cost: $ 30 per person
RSVP: Nancy Chute at 508.563.3368
Place: DiBurros, 887 Boston Road, Haverhill, MA 01835
Time: Cocktails at 6:00pm, dinner at 7:00pm
Cost: $ 25 per person
RSVP: Betty Rogers at 978-372-4305 by October 22, 2012
Place: French King Restaurant, 129 French King Highway,
Erving, MA 01344
Time: Social hour at 6:00pm, dinner at 7:00pm
RSVP: Vicki Vincent at 413-475-5976 or
firstname.lastname@example.org by 10/1/2012
Place: Take Five Restaurant, 944 Springfield Street, Feeding Hills, MA 01030
Time: Social Hour 6pm, dinner at 6:30pm.
Cost: $ 21 per person
RSVP: Liz Hall at: 413-357-6624 by 10/18/12
Place: Bluebonnet Diner, 324 King Street, Northampton, MA 01060 413.584.3333
Time: Social hour 6:00pm, Dinner 7:00 p.m.
Cost: $15 for regular members, $18 for associate members
RSVP: Barbara Mitchell at 413-253-5532 by 10/15/12
Place: Gibbet Hill Grill, 61 Lowell Road, Groton, MA 01450 Tel: 978.448.2900
Place: Norfolk Aggie, 400 Main Street, (Rt. 1A)
Walpole, MA 02081
Time: Social Hour 6:00pm, dinner at 7:00pm
Cost: $ 20 per person
Norfolk County Farm Bureau Seeking New Board Members
Norfolk County Farm Bureau is looking for members to join the county board. If you or someone you know is interested contact Frank Bingham at 781-249-2643
Support Equine Agriculture & Tradition
Keeping horses local, keeps money local. Donate to the Equine Economic Impact Study: Make check payable to: MA Farm Bureau Agricultural Preservation Corporation
MFBF Yf&R hosts Illinois Farm BUREAU
In late July, fifteen young farmers from Illinois spent the week touring select farms throughout the Commonwealth. The young farmers & ranchers program in Illinois is known as the “Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leaders.” In preparation for their visit, the Massachusetts Young Farmer & Rancher committee, under the direction of John Conners, planned an itinerary that included a diverse selection of agricultural operations. Trying to be
gracious hosts, we asked what they wanted to see while they were here. They had only one request--no corn or soy beans, please! We wanted our guests to experience the best of the best, and our tour showcased many different types of agricultural production. They visited farms which produced small fruit, vegetables, hops, turf, shellfish, hydroponics, cranberries, dairy production and pick-your-own operations.
Although common in New England, the concept of the CSA business model was foreign to these Young Leaders. One of the goals of our tour was to convey just how important the interaction between farmers and their customers is in Massachusetts. Each business was customer oriented like pick-your-own, CSA, farm stands, and farmers’ markets. The Young Leaders were not used to dealing with the public and found our farmers to be quite “tolerant” in dealing with consumers. They were also surprised at the prices some commodities brought at the farmers’ markets.
The landscape of farms in Massachusetts is drastically different than that of Illinois. As the tour bus rolled through a dense Methuen neighborhood to take a walk through one of Pleasant Valley Garden’s fields, the Young Leaders commented on not only the physical geographic differences, but they also marveled at the cost of farmland here and how we managed to carve out a living on so few acres. Members of the Massachusetts Young Farmer & Rancher Committee, along with MFBF staff, tagged along for the tours, spending time getting to know Illinois members and learning just how differently their farming experience was from ours.
The week was a great opportunity for not only the visitors from Illinois to see the variety of Massachusetts agriculture, but for the Massachusetts Young Farmers to build connections with a strong Young Leader group. We thank all of the farmsers who opened their doors and welcomed the
Illinois Young Leaders to witness firsthand the amazing and diverse agricultural businesses that exist in our state
MFBF YF&R Vice Chair
Hands-on Agricultural Lab for Our members
In 1863, leaders in Massachusetts agriculture seized the opportunity to create a land grant college under the Morrill Act. They founded Massachusetts Agricultural College by buying 310 acres of farmland in Amherst and establishing a curriculum combining modern farming, science, technical courses, and liberal arts. Over the years the needs of a growing university pushed farmland and agricultural research to off-campus sites in Hadley, Belchertown, and South Deerfield.
That will soon change thanks to a $500,000 commitment from the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation that will allow students to study agriculture on campus. The partnership between MFBF and UMass Amherst is establishing the Agricultural Learning Center on 50 acres on North Pleasant Street. A 19th century horse barn, which will be known as “Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation Hall,” will be relocated to the parcel and serve as the hub of agricultural learning and research.
“This center will solidify the role of agriculture at UMass for the future and provide a hands-on learning laboratory on campus,” says A. Richard Bonanno, president of the farm bureau. Wesley Autio, director of the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, says the planned center will be the centerpiece of agricultural education and outreach programs. “It will be a visible symbol of the importance of agriculture to UMass, the Pioneer Valley, and the Commonwealth,” says Autio. Students will have opportunities for hands-on education from food and animal production to the management of aesthetic and recreational landscapes.
Besides educating future farmers, Bonanno says, innovations that come from research will keep the state’s agricultural sector strong and provide solutions for feeding a planet undergoing explosive population growth. “We need to have good research and technology to meet future demands,” explains Bonanno.
The farm bureau, composed of nearly 6,000 diverse small and large farms, has put its faith in UMass Amherst to keep farming enterprises afloat. “In 150 years, the land grant universities have made great accomplishments, and even with the dramatic changes in agriculture, land grants will be needed for the next 150 years,” believes Bonanno.
MFBF Leaders Tour Future Site of Ag Learning Center
The MFBF Board of Directors held its August meeting at the UMass Amherst campus, on the site of the future Agricultural Learning Center. The Center will serve as a “living laboratory” for students and the general public who are interested in food, farming, landscape, and other endeavors that rely on natural resources.
Umass Ag Learning Center Donation info
Have you considered donating to The Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) partnership with the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in support of the Agricultural Learning Center? With a total contribution of $500,000, paid over three years, the Center’s cornerstone building will be named “Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation Hall”. MFBF has the goal well within our reach, with current pledges totaling nearly $200,000.
The Agricultural Learning Center at UMass Amherst will serve as a hands-on “living” laboratory for students and the general public who are interested in food, farming, landscape, and other enterprises relying on natural resources. The Center will have areas dedicated to livestock and horses, fruits and vegetables, cranberries, turf and nursery crops and so much more; and will offer training in both traditional farming methods and new innovations developed through ongoing agricultural research.
Situated within easy walking distance of the heart of campus, the Agricultural Learning Center will provide students with an interactive experience in agriculture. It will also make the scientific and educational resources of the university available to a larger community, drawing visitors from across the Northeast to workshops, courses, demonstrations and conferences at a state-of-the-art Center. The Agricultural Learning Center is destined to become the focal point for agriculture in the region!
With YOUR support, and upon passing structural approval, the fully renovated, historic 19th Century historic horse barn will be relocated to its new location on 25 acres abutting the UMass Amherst campus, and be renovated to serve in its new capacity as a learning laboratory. Just as it was once was a showcase for Mass Aggie, the barn, “Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation Hall,” will be the heart of the Center.
As more and more people are rediscovering the importance of local and sustainable agriculture, and as more students are becoming interested in farming, the time is right to establish the Agricultural Learning Center to address the needs of students, farmers, and citizens. Please join the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation and give generously to fund the creation of the Center, which will benefit agricultural education, outreach and research. All donors will receive permanent recognition inside the building. Consider joining MFBF President A. Richard Bonanno, PhD, and Vice President Edward Davidian, and their families, in pledging to become a member of “The President’s Circle” (details are provided on the pledge form included in this issue), or giving at a level appropriate to you and your business.
To make your contribution to the Campaign for the Future of Massachusetts Agriculture, in support of the Agricultural Learning Center’s Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation Hall, please complete the pledge form and mail to the specified address.
Thank you for your generosity!
MFBF and UMass Amherst Pledge Card
My/our gift to UMass Amherst Agricultural Learning Center is
o As a Benefactor, with a gift of $____________
o President’s Circle (Pledge at least $1,000 per year for three years)
o A one-time gift of $_________________
o A multi-year gift of $________________ per year for _________ years with the first payment made by the date of __________________, 20____.
Please remind me/us of this pledge: _____Annually _____Quarterly
I/we plan to make this gift in the form of: _____Check _____Securities _____Other (please specify) __________________________________________
PLEASE MAKE CHECKS PAYABLE TO UMASS AMHERST
Or use your _____VISA _____MasterCard _____Discover _____American Express
o My gift will be matched! Many employers will match charitable contributions. If your employer does, ask for a matching gift form and enclose it with your payment. Please complete:
How You Wish To Be Listed In Recognition: ________________________
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(All gifts will be acknowledged directly by Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation.)
Life Insurance: Because Life Happens
Life can take unexpected, unpredictable turns. Toward the amusing. The inspiring. The annoying. And, unfortunately, even the tragic. So every day, you take little steps to improve the odds good things will happen and to guard against the bad. You wear seatbelts. You lock your doors when you leave home. You buy life insurance for the same kind of reason — to protect your family financially.
Will your family be OK when life happens?
Life insurance is something no one likes to think about. But purchasing life insurance is one of the most selfless things you can do for your family. Life insurance provides financial support when people need it most. In the short term, it pays for immediate expenses, allowing loved ones time to grieve. In the long term, it helps replace lost income so the family can continue to pay for life’s necessities. Bottom line: it ensures your loved ones will have the kind of lifestyle and opportunities you always hoped they’d have, even if you’re not here.
September is Life Insurance Awareness Month, the perfect time to take stock of your life insurance needs and determine how much – and what kind – you need. There are plenty of resources you can turn to for assistance. For a general sense of your life insurance needs, visit an online Life Insurance Needs Calculator like the one offered by the nonprofit LIFE Foundation at www.lifehappens.org/lifecalculator. Then, seek professional advice. Your Farm Family agent can conduct a thorough needs analysis, and then help you determine the right amount and type of life insurance for your specific goals and situation. To find an agent in your area, please visit www.farmfamily.com or contact Steve Charette, Farm Family’s general agent in Massachusetts, at (978) 686-0170.
Farmers: looking to cut energy costs?
Plug into a wealth of practical information by downloading the Massachusetts Farm Energy Best Management Practices Guides, a series of guidebooks just released by the Massachusetts Farm Energy Program (MFEP). The guides are now available online at www.berkshirepioneerrcd.org!
The five guide books provide information on energy-conscious and cost-effective upgrades that you can make on your farm. Included are manuals for several of the Commonwealth’s major farming sectors -- dairy, greenhouses, maple, orchards and vegetable farms – and a fifth section for renewable energy systems.
The MFEP is a project of Berkshire-Pioneer Resource Conservation & Development. The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) supported BPRC&D in developing MFEP and these farm energy publications.
FROM THE DESK OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR by Douglas Gillespie
Well it’s almost Fall, and with the change in seasons comes the series of County Farm Bureau Annual Meetings. I want to encourage you to make an extra effort this year to attend the county meeting where you are a member. These events are essential to the “grassroots” nature of Farm Bureau. Let me explain…
Whether it is the staff here at MFBF, or in the Washington DC headquarters of American Farm Bureau Federation, we get our “marching orders” from Farm Bureau policy. The entire policy book detailing the beliefs adopted by farmers everywhere in the US, or by members from all eleven county affiliates here in Massachusetts, were developed by passing policy resolutions at a county or state meeting.
So if you have a problem that’s hindering your ability to farm, or a suggestion of a program where Farm Bureau can better serve its membership, advancing that idea begins with a resolution at your county meeting. It can be as simple as: “Whereas animal manures are an essential and valuable agricultural input, be it resolved that Farm Bureau work to ensure that farmers can continue to utilize manures in everyday farm operations.” That was the basis of a resolution passed a few years ago by Essex County Farm Bureau. We sent it on to AFBF, where it was adopted as federal Farm Bureau policy. Within a year, AFBF had secured an interpretation from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proclaiming that manure could not be regulated as a hazardous waste. It all started at a county meeting like those taking place this Fall! County meetings are also a great place to volunteer for service on your county board, or on the dozen or so committees that make Farm Bureau function so well.
Plymouth County Farm Bureau traditionally holds their county meeting prior to Labor Day, so that the cranberry growers can stay close to home later in the Fall as the frost risk increases. The rest of our counties begin their meetings in late September, and most occur in October. So please check the date for your county meeting, elsewhere in this issue, and plan to attend.
The MFBF State Annual Meeting will be held November 29-30 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Pittsfield, hosted by Berkshire County Farm Bureau. We hope that you will join members from across the state and attend the workshops, luncheon awards program, and banquet with keynote speaker on Thursday. Friday’s program is the business meeting of the federation, where elected delegates from all counties debate and vote on the policy resolutions forwarded from the counties to formulate MFBF policy.
The great thing about the federation system of our organization is that it truly is “grassroots.” When a Member of Congress or other government official sees Farm Bureau’s position on a particular issue, they understand that it was not created in an office building, but rather it was vetted and debated by farmer-members throughout the nation. Farm Bureau policy has the full force of 6 million members behind it. While individual members, and sometimes even states, may disagree with a policy position, there is strength in the policy development system. It allows for dissent, and it allows for every state to have an impact.
The American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting will be held in January in Nashville, Tennessee. This is another great opportunity to attend workshops and see Farm Bureau policy as it is developed. There are details in this issue if you want to consider joining the Massachusetts group as we attend the meeting as well as a few farm visits in Tennessee.
May your harvest be bountiful! See you at your annual meeting.
Douglas P. Gillespie
MFBF Executive Director
AFBF Women’s Committee Communication Boot Camp by LuAnne Bonanno
I was honored to represent the state of Massachusetts at the 6th annual American Farm Bureau Women’s Committee Communications Boot Camp, July 17-20th in Washington, DC.
There were fifteen farm women from all areas of the country in attendance. As the only representative from MA, I was able to enlighten the other attendees, all beef cattle or dairy people, about the diversity and scope of Massachusetts agriculture. Many of the women were not full-time farmers, there were doctors, veterinarians, bankers and high school principals. Those that were full-time farmers had young children and farming backgrounds, either through their families or their education.
We all had one thing in common, though; we were all committed to American agriculture-the lifestyle, the food safety, the family values. We were all there for the same purpose-to learn how to improve our communicating when speaking about our lives in farming, and to help others understand why we do what we do and how committed we are to ensuring a safe, fresh food supply.
We were asked to come prepared with a 3-4 minute speech on one of several topics: Immigration Reform, the Farm Bill, Antibiotic Access, Title 9 funding, and Water Rights to name a few. During first morning as we each spoke about our chosen topic, we were filmed and critiqued in private. The goal was to make us better at presenting ourselves and our stories.
We were given an opportunity to practice print interviews, live radio interviews and television appearances. I learned that I can tell a good, relatable story. I chose Immigration Reform as my topic, and spoke about how the changes to the H2-A program are affecting the Jamaican workers that we hire. A personal story can be your best asset when speaking to people, it can help them relate to what you are saying.
We had some fun, too. On Wednesday afternoon, we had the opportunity to testify at a mock Congressional hearing. Sherry Saylor, Women’s Committee vice-chair, was entertaining as a Congresswoman! We were testifying about Congress proposal to provide a free lunch to everyone in the country every day. My team was “for” this proposal. After being asked to step out of our comfort zone, we all took on different personas. I became “Chef Boyardeedee” and spoke about how wonderful this proposal would be for my restaurant business!
AFBF offers a class for those wishing to run for public office, and they boast a 78% success rate. We spent a lot of time evaluating potential candidates and learning how the political system works. While running for office is not something I may pursue in the future, the skills I learned will help me in whatever I decide to do.
The conference stressed the importance of social media in communicating about our farms, Massachusetts farming, and agriculture in general. Tweeting, Facebook and blogs are quickly becoming the fastest way to reach the most people. Getting the word out, in a positive manner, about what we do is critical to keeping our farmers farming.
For my final exam, I was given the opportunity to testify about Immigration Reform in front of a mock Dianne Feinstein We were given a biography of Ms. Feinstein, and, fortunately, she was a proponent of Immigration Reform. Some of my classmates were not so lucky. The challenges to our testimonies were a great way to tell our stories, though.
I encourage every woman in Massachusetts agriculture to consider applying for the next Boot Camp. Farmers are perceived as believable by voters and legislators. Women are considered even more credible. Women who can speak fluently about farming and agricultural issues can have a major influence on how society views our farmers!
I want to thank the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Women’s Committee for giving me this opportunity. I hope to use my newly-acquired skills to educate people about our local agriculture.
MFBF Women’s Committee Member
September is National Preparedness Month
Are Our Communities Ready?
“Communities that recover successfully tend to drive their own recovery,” said David Kaufman, director of FEMA’s Office of Policy and Program Analysis recently at the Natural Hazards Workshop in Boulder, Colo. “There is a need for a shared sense of direction and urgency – collective preparation.”
With September’s National Preparedness Month (NPM) just days away, this is a reminder that resources are available to help families, farms, businesses and whole communities become as prepared as possible for disasters through the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN). Please take advantage of EDEN’s NPM materials, which include news releases that you can customize/localize to suit your needs. Other resources available are editorials and fact sheets. Links to resources from federal agencies can also be found there. From the EDEN home page www.eden.lsu.edu click on Resources and National Preparedness Month. Drought, flood, tornado and other information shared by our colleagues at other land grant institutions can also be found at the website.
Massachusetts Harvest for Students Week Good Wholesale or Promotion Opportunity
Interested in exploring reliable wholesale markets? Sell your produce to local schools and colleges during Massachusetts Harvest for Students Week, September 17-21.
Massachusetts schools and colleges celebrate Mass. Harvest for Students Week by serving foods from local farms and/or holding special events that can generate media attention. Some schools buy local foods for the first time, while others bulk up their orders, so there is increased demand for locally grown products.
Harvest Week can be a good opportunity for you to sell your surplus, find steady new wholesale customers, and possibly generate some positive press for your farm. (In addition, October was recently declared National Farm to School Month, so there could be some additional orders and media coverage next month.)
Massachusetts Farm to School Project staff offers individualized help to you to evaluate potential sales or find profitable customers in this market.
Interested? If you are located in eastern or southeastern Mass. please contact Simca Horwitz, email@example.com. If you’re located in central or western Mass., please contact Emily French Emily@massfarmtoschool.org or call us at 413-253-3844.
Farm Bureau YF&R schedule western MA meeting
Mass Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee has scheduled a meeting on September 19th at 6PM at Chandlers Restaurant 25 Greenfield Road South Deerfield, MA 01373.
If you have any question or would like to attend please email YF&R Chair Jamie Cruz at firstname.lastname@example.org
On Everyday Equipment on the Farm
Grainger helps members of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau save both time and money that they can use to reinvest in their businesses.
Grainger features free shipping for internet orders, and discounts that exceed 50 percent off certain tools and brands.
Members can take advantage of the savings that Grainger has to offer by registering on grainger.com. Simply click “Register Now” in the upper right hand corner create a user profile and enter your name, address and phone number along with the Massachusetts Farm Bureau member account number #853567089. You can also visit any Grainger location bring in our Grainger account number and receive 10 percent discount with any purchase.
If you currently have an account with Grainger and would like to combine it with our Farm Bureau account in order to save 10 percent and charge the items to your account, simply call Kelley the MFBF office at 508.481.4766 and notify our her that you would like to receive the Farm Bureau discount. You will need to provide your existing Grainger account number, your Massachusetts Farm Bureau member number, name, address and phone number and we will provide the information to Grainger so that they can make the appropriate modification to your account.
Your Massachusetts Farm Bureau discount gives you the opportunity to consolidate your purchases with Grainger’s extensive product inventory. You no longer have to spend precious time searching multiple suppliers and leaving your business for the product as we bring the product to you next-day on in stock items and with free freight on grainger.com orders.
Northeast Agriculture: The Overlooked Economic Engine
Farm Credit East Releases Report Analyzing the Economic Impact of Agriculture on the Northeast’s Economy
The agricultural, commercial fishing and forest products industries are key economic engines in the Northeast according to an economic impact report recently released by Farm Credit East, the largest lender to Northeast agriculture.
The report found that the 64,570 farms and related businesses throughout the six-state region of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire and Rhode Island produced an estimated $71 billion impact on state output in 2010 and resulted in 379,000 jobs on and off the farm.
“Agriculture is a major economic engine in the Northeast and this means jobs, local food production and economic activity in hundreds of communities,” said Bill Lipinski, Farm Credit East CEO. “Agriculture has a bright future here in the Northeast and with appropriate state policies and community support will continue to enhance our Northeast economy.”
From dairy farms to commercial fishing operations along the coast, to the fruit, vegetable, vineyard, timber, nursery and greenhouse operations in between—the Northeast agricultural industry is extremely diverse. Farm businesses create economic activity and jobs not only on the farm, but also through (1) farm services businesses which are upstream to farming and would include suppliers, repair, equipment, lenders, insurance, etc., and (2) processing activities which are downstream to farming and would include dairy processing plants, sawmills, wineries, etc. The following information highlights the agricultural impact on the six Northeastern states’ economies.
New York State contributes a $38 billion impact on state economic output, with $15.6 billion being value-added activity. In addition, New York agriculture generates 196,200 jobs, both on and off the farm, statewide. Milk and cattle production accounts for 40 percent of the total agricultural output impact generating nearly 28,500 jobs.
Massachusetts agriculture and related processing activities is responsible for $13 billion in output, with $5.5 billion being value-added, which stays within the community. In addition, Massachusetts agriculture generates 68,110 jobs. Commercial fishing is the state’s largest sector, at $1.5 billion in output and more than 12,000 jobs, but the cranberry and greenhouse industries are also major economic contributors.
- New Jersey has a long history of farming and fishing as indicated by the approximately $11.5 billion impact on state economic output and 61,000 jobs generated statewide. Greenhouse and nursery production is the state’s largest sector with $919 million in output and 8,864 jobs generated.
- Connecticut contributed $4.6 billion in output and generated more than 26,700 jobs. Greenhouse and nursery production is the state’s largest sector generating $457 million in output and 4,782 jobs.
- The forest products industry is a major industry in New Hampshire with its impact of over $1 billion. Combined with other agriculture and related processing activities, the New Hampshire agriculture and forestry industry contributes $2.5 billion in output and 18,500 jobs statewide.
- Commercial fishing dominates Rhode Island with $172 million in output and 2,400 jobs generated. As a whole, the Ocean State’s farming and fishing industries generated approximately $1.1 billion impact on state economic output and generated 7,500 jobs statewide.
This report titled Northeast Agriculture: The Overlooked Economic Engine was compiled by Farm Credit East based on information generated from an independent study completed by Dr. Rigoberto Lopez from the University of Connecticut. The purpose of the report was to illustrate the importance of agriculture and related industries to the Northeast economy. To view a full copy of the report contact your local Farm Credit East office or visit FarmCreditEast.com.
FOR SALE: Green House Hoops–Most with Ground Stakes. 25-14’- 25-17’ -25-18’ Wide. $40 A HOOP. Can be used for high tunnels. Wood Burning Kalamazo Kitchen Range: very good condition $1200. 300,000 BTU Oil Hot Air Furnace: good for green house or large garage $1200. 100,000 BTU Wood/Coal Boiler: good condition $1,400. Call Frank Bart 978-939-5556 (H) or 978-660-2886 (Cell). Old Civil Defense Water Pump About 1940 – Asking $500 – would hate to scrap it.
FOR SALE: Lovely Black Corriedale-Tunis Ram Lamb, fast grower, perfect confirmation available for sale or fall breeding, pictures. Call 774-217-8057.
FOR SALE: 8N Tractor 1203 Hrs. All new rubber, runs great, metal needs paint. In storage 25 years $3,200. Call 978-928-4292.
FOR SALE: Hereford Calves for Sale: 9-10 months old, hand-raised and tame, both steers and heifers, for your feed lot or pasture. Call 617-840-2074.
FOR SALE: Draft Mule. Drives, rides, cultivates, plows etc. Harvard Mass. $1,650. Call (978) 635-0409.
FOR SALE: Hay – 1st and 2nd cut – no dust guaranteed. Wholesale and retail. We deliver and unload. Work cell 774-259-6960 or office 508-252-9029. Skip & Tish at Homestead Farms.
FOR SALE: Tires. Great prices, all sizes, tire repairs, road service, calcium chloride service. Hoey Tire, Worcester. Call 508-755-6666, www.hoeytire.com.
FOR SALE: Hay 1st and 2nd cutting. 4’ X 5’ round and small square bales. Conway Farm’s Lakeville, MA. 508-821-0149.
FOR SALE: Bagged Shavings. Kiln-dried pine shavings, in clear plastic or paper bags, made in USA. Trailer loads, 1,000 plus free storage 30 days on our trailer. Worcester County to Cape Cod. Priced according to location. Call Jack at 781-589-8534.
WANTED: Manure spreader, bed maker, seeder, and rototiller for small farm. Contact Mike at Bartlett Greenhouses. 800-552-2278 or
SERVING THE FARMERS IN MASS: Helping farmers keep what they make. Experienced in dairy, beef, fruit & vegetable farming; experienced with APR, retirement planning, estate planning & taxation, tax free exchanges. Donald E. Graves, CPA, LLC, Masters Degree in Taxation & Financial Planning, Bentley College, 377 Main Street, Suite 1, Greenfield, MA 01301-3332, 1-800-286-6036, email@example.com
FARM MAINTENANCE: All types arena work, construction & renewal. Paddock areas built, fencing new & repairs, hydrant work, & brush work. CRF Maintenance Services. www.cringfarm.com 508-234-9824.
PASTURES: Let our expertise in pasture construction and design provide you with pastoral views, solutions for your equestrian needs and elimination of boarding fees. Reclaim your woodlands into pastures. Increase your property value. Call Woodridge Farm, Lincoln, MA. 781-259-0251.
REAL ESTATE APPRAISER: for farm/forestry property. Reports provided for estate planning/tax returns, APR/CR or buying/selling. William King 508-867-2600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOR RENT: Long established farm stand recently renovated available for rent in Woburn. Walk-In Cooler, Flower Refrigerators, Greenhouses & Parking. High traffic road. Great opportunity $1,000/month. Owner will work with right person. Call David Burns 781-863-2727 or email@example.com