Farm Bureau Delegates Elect Board Members, Adopt Resolutions

December 21, 2021

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The Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) hosted its 2021 annual business meeting on Dec. 3, during which delegates voted on board of director positions and discussed and adopted resolutions. 

“Farm Bureau is known for its grassroots policy process,” said newly elected President and Dracut dairy farmer Warren Shaw. “By having our members bring up their concerns through the resolutions process, MFBF has a strong grasp on the industry and current events. It makes us relevant in today’s industry.” 

This year’s annual meeting was notable as it had heavy participation by a dozen or more new MFBF farmer members, all immigrant and refugee farmers operating farms in Massachusetts, supported by the nonprofit World Farmers. Three of the new MFBF representatives served as voting delegates while more than a dozen sat in attendance. 

“Farmers in our program were excited to be part of Farm Bureau forum where they could hear and participate in policy making decisions that influences the farming businesses,” said World Farmers Executive Director Henrietta Isaboke. “Since they are such a big part of the food system in Massachusetts with what they produce, they are looking forward to becoming participating members of Farm Bureau both in the county and at the state level.”

“I’m excited that Farm Bureau, and myself personally, have connected with World Farmers and am thrilled to see the future of these two organizations working together,” said Worcester County Farm Bureau President Heidi Cooper. “This growth in membership reflects the farmers in the Commonwealth and Farm Bureau’s mission statement. When farmers come together, we can achieve great feats.” 

At the end of this meeting, MFBF delegates prioritized resolutions that they believe MFBF staff and leadership should tackle first. Following the statewide meeting, if a resolution has national applicability, the MFBF will bring the resolution to American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual meeting in January for consideration.

During the business meeting, delegates also voted on Board of Director positions that were up for election. Following this election, MFBF’s 2021-2022 Board of Directors now includes:

• Warren Shaw, President
• Ryan MacKay, Vice President
• Wayne Smith, Treasurer
• Mark Amato, Immediate Past President
• Bob Kilmer, Berkshire County Representative
• Skip Vandals, Bristol County Representative
• David Ross, Cape & Islands County Representative
• Charlie Tully, Middlesex County Representative
• Barbara Rogers-Scharneck, Essex County Representative
• Lenny Roberts, Franklin County Representative
• Richard Woodger, Hampden County Representative
• Karl Norris, Hampshire County Representative
• Dan Martino, Martha Vineyard’s County Representative
• Rudy Medeiros, Norfolk County Representative
• Jim Hayward, Plymouth County Representative
• Heidi Cooper, Worcester County Representative
• Steve Ward, Budge Committee Representative
• Charles Proctor, Budget Committee Representative
• Will Pickard, Budget Committee Representative
• Alex Dowse, Director At Large
• Meghan Gennings, Director At Large
• Laura Abrams, Director At Large
• Heather Bonanno-Baker, Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee Chair 

The new board was seated Dec. 3 and will serve until the organization’s 2022 annual meeting. 

In addition, awards were presented at the meeting that honored American National agents’ accomplishments and members distinguished service to agriculture. Most notably, the following awards were presented:

• American National Agent of the Year: Dick Blair
• Rising Star Farm Family Agent: Shelia McCarthy
• John Ogonowski Award for Distinguished Service to Agriculture: Don and Judy Leab, Ioka Valley Farm, Hancock, MA