Annual Farm Bureau meeting held at Burdette

Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Hopper Brothers, Doyle and Tony, and family members were recognized at the annual Farm Bureau meeting. Dave Freeze with Mississippi County Extension service prsented the family with a plauqe.

Farm Bureau officers and members filled the meeting room at Arkansas Northeastern College in Burdette for the annual meeting Tuesday, Aug. 28.

Guests were welcomed by Heath Adkisson, Mississippi County Farm Bureau president. The barbecue/fish dinner was catered by Bigg Butts of Leachville.

Entertainment was provided by singer/guitarist Charles Moody.

Farm Bureau Officers are, from left: Randy Veach, state president; John Tipson, first vice prsident; Benton Felts, past president; Heath Adkisson, Mississippi County president; Ben Davis, secretary; Bill Jackson, treasurer; and Nathan Sanders, financial officer.

The invocation was given by Dr. Robin Moore.

Following the meal, Adkisson recognized past presidents, county officers, state legislatures, staff members from the three county offices and Farm Bureau State officers including Randy Veach, state president for Farm Bureau.

Ben Davis gave the minutes from the 2011 meeting and Nathan Sanders gave the financial report. Sanders reported a $10,000 donation had been given to the President's Scholarship Fund.

Mark Bryles, federation manager, talked about agriculture in the county.

Butch Calhoun, director of the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, was the featured speaker for the evening.

"Agriculture is big business in this county," Bryles said. "It brings in $300 million annually. If you add the surrounding counties, it is even more. We also appreciate our friends in the news media."

Bryles recognized Blytheville Courier News, Jonesboro Sun, KLCN-KHLS, Manila Town Crier, Osceola Times, and Ritter Communications.

Dave Freeze with the Mississippi County Extension Service recognized his staff and introduced new members of the staff. He presented the Mississippi County Farm Family, Hopper and Hopper, a four generation farm family started by Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Hopper.

Brothers Doyle and Tony Hopper and their families make up the Mississippi County Farm Family. They were recognized and presented a plaque.

Butch Calhoun, director of the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, was the guest speaker for the evening. Mr. Calhoun farmed for 33 years. He has served as county judge and state representative, and director of rural services for 5-1/2 years.

He called himself a good listener.

"I will listen to people and my heart is in agriculture," he said. "Our industry is big and I am going to work as hard as I can. Mississippi County is the largest row crop county in the state. You raise 25 percent of the cotton in the state. We have a diverse state. We have timber, cattle."

He talked of the difficulties the cattle farmers are having.

"Some of them (cattle farmers) are having to sell off their cattle," he said. "It would be like you having to sell your land or your equipment. They don't want a hand out; they just want a helping hand. So many people out of our industry do not understand. It is my job to work with people and let people what we do."

Calhoun said agriculture is an $18 billion industry and provides 275,000 jobs.

"I promise I will work hard and do what I can for agriculture," he said.

State President Randy Veach from the Lost Cane area talked about the importance of agriculture.

"It has an impact on each of us every day," Veach said. We have the safest, most affordable food and fiber and shelter supply than any other country. We use less than 10 percent of our usable income for food. No other nation in the world is anywhere close to that. We hear a lot about sustainable. Sustainable definition differs from different places. If we are not profitable then we are not sustainable. If we are not sustainable then neither is your food, fiber and shelter supply. Agriculture has to stay sustainable, it has to be profitable.

"We have to keep it strong. We have seven billion people in the world today and 15,000 children starve to death every year around the globe. By 2050 there will be a projected nine billion people and if agriculture does not stay strong how are we going to feed and clothe that many more people. We are out there in Farm Bureau trying to keep agriculture strong. The resolutions you pass are important."

Adkisson complimented Sherry Felts for doing a great job with the Women's committee. He talked about the young ranchers/farmers committee and the importance of Farm Bureau.

"We are within sight of a 10 star program this year," Adkisson said. "We received nine stars last year. We have started a Mississippi County President's Scholarship to help a senior in the county go to college in the agriculture area. We hope to have enough to give a scholarship next year. I am proud to work with the board and the county leaders. We try to do what we think is right for the county."

Adkisson thanked Mark Bryles for his leadership role to Farm Bureau.

Sherry Felts with the Women's Committee spoke briefly about the work the women's committee is involved in.

"Too many people do not have a clue about their food and fiber," Felts said. "We go into the classroom and sponsor poster contests, agriculture in the classroom, and purchase food stretching our dollar and give to a local food pantry. We work with the safety issues in local schools. We also shop for food to give to the Ronald McDonald House. We will be participating in the state fair in October. Agriculture is very important and we have to stand behind our farmer."

Dr. Fred Bourland with the University of Arkansas spoke about the 150 year celebration of the Land Grant System and the importance of it in the development of agriculture and engineering studies.

"I am proud to be a representative of the University of Arkansas Division and thank Farm Bureau for all their support," Bourland said.

Tony Stubblefield with the nominating committee presented nominees for officers and board members for the upcoming year. They are Heath Adkisson, president; John Tipton, first vice president; Brandon Veach, second vice president; Ben Davis, secretary; Bill Jackson, treasurer; Mike Sullivan, assistant treasurer; Benton Felts, past president; Nathan Sanders, financial officer; Randy Veach, president ARFBF. Nominees for Board members from the north are Jason Austin, James Bevill, Jeff Costner, Todd Edwards, Justin Hawkins, Phil Hawkins, Clark Long, Sr. John Weiss, Heath Donner and Greg Hart. South board members nominated were Fred Bourland, Wade Castleberry, Mark Fincher, Wren Felts, Mike Gibson, Steve Metheny, Darlene Musick, Bert Palmer, Dino Pirani, and Russ Thomason.

The board members and officers were elected as presented.

John Tipton reviewed the proposed resolutions committee members developed at earlier meetings which included cotton, soybeans, rice, wheat and feed grains, research and extension, national affairs, state affairs and local affairs. Thirty-seven resolutions were approved with two rejected.

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