Mississippi County Farm Bureau holds annual meeting

Tuesday, September 4, 2018
Randy Veach of Lost Cane, Arkansas Farm Bureau president, spoke at the annual meeting.

Mississippi County Farm Bureau annual meeting was held Monday, Aug. 27, at Arkansas Northeastern College in Blytheville.

County President Russ Thomason welcomed Farm Bureau members introducing State Representative Monte Hodges; state officer Sherry Felts and Joe Christian; Jeremy Wesson, district director; and State Farm Bureau President Randy Veach.

Following a meal catered by Bigg Butts of Leachville, President Veach of Lost Cane spoke about agriculture in the county and state.

Mississippi County 2018 Farm Family was recognized at the Farm Bureau annual meeting on Monday, Aug. 27, meeting. Pictured are Dr. Pamela Pruett presenting Russ and Katie Thomason, Sandy Bayou Planting Company, with a plaque

“Mississippi County is the largest agricultural county in the state,” he said. “It has a huge economic impact on our state. Twenty percent of all jobs in our state are directly related to agriculture. Our farmers and ranchers in Mississippi County and across the state are the best caretakers of our environment.”

He talked about the importance of a trade agreement. He said the largest trading partners in agriculture with the U.S. are Canada, Mexico and China.

Veach said farm income has dropped but farmers and ranchers are out there every day.

Garrett Jolliff and Dalton Hitchcock, 2018 scholarship recipients, were recognized at the Farm Bureau meeting. Neal Benson (not pictured) also received a scholarship

“They are heart-felt workers producing affordable, abundant food, fiber and shelter,” he said.

Veach talked about some of the issues farmers are facing.

“Our farmers are providing food for not only our nation but most of the world,” he said.

Veach thanked the agents for their caring for the membership and helping advocate for agriculture.

Nathan Sanders gave a financial report following the introduction of the Mississippi County Farm Family 2018, Russ and Katie Thomason, Sandy Bayou Planting Company.

Dr. Pam Pruett, County Extension agent, introduced the Farm Family.

Pruett said Ray Benson, County Extension chair, could not be at the meeting so she had the privilege of introducing the Farm Family.

“We think it's important to mention the scope of agriculture in this county,” Pruett said. “Most people recognize agriculture is important to Mississippi County, but we need to understand Mississippi County is equally important to agriculture. With approximately 500,000 acres of farmland, Mississippi County is one of the largest row crop areas in the United States. With our access to water for irrigation and transportation, fertile soils, innovative farmers, and partnerships such as the one that exists between the Extension Service and Farm Bureau, our county is a major supplier for a wide range of commodities.

“Being selected as the Farm Family of Mississippi County means being the best of the best. There is absolutely no doubt Mississippi County has some of the best producers in the world; their ability to deliver food and fiber is unparalleled. The Farm Family program, however, recognizes more than just production agriculture. Family member contribution to work on the farm and involvement in the community are part of the selection process.”

The farm has been in Thomason family since 1937. Russ worked with his father and grandfather since he was a young boy. His dad started farming in 1938 with 400 acres.

“It is an honor to be selected,” Thomason said.

Guest speaker was Ashley Coldiron with Arkansas Community Foundation. She talked briefly about estate planning, endowments and ways to give back to the community.

County Vice President Heath Donner recognized the scholarship recipients from Mississippi County Farm Bureau. The scholarships are given each year to high school seniors who are going into the agriculture field. This year three seniors received scholarships. Neal Benson, Manila High School graduate who is attending University of Arkansas; Dalton Hitchcock of Manila High School attending Arkansas Northeastern College majoring in ag business; and Garrett Jolliff, Arkansas Northeastern College majoring in plant science.

Thomason then conducted a short business meeting with only one change in the Resolutions adopted and officers for the year approved. Officers include Heath Donner, president; Dino Pirani, first vice president; John Weiss, second vice president; Wren Felts, secretary; Randy Reynolds, treasurer; Mike Sullivan, assistant treasurer; Nathan Sanders, financial officer; Russ Thomason, past president; Randy Veach, president of Arkansas Farm Bureau.

Board of Directors for 2018-2019 were elected. They are South – Fred Bourland, Ross Bell, Jason Bennett, Mark Fincher, Rodney Wright, Adam Henard, Steve Metheny, Darlene Musick, Ryan Sullivan, Kevin Johns; North – Jason Austin, James Bevill, Bart Dixon, Jared Hopper, John Langston Jr., Scott Sullivan, Gavin Sullivan, Tony Hopper, Dalton Dilldine, Greg Hart.

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