by Howie Feaga, President - Howard County Farm Bureau
I hope that by the time you are sitting back to
read this, we are living with more average temperatures and
hopefully, more average rainfall. It seems that lately, we have been
experiencing more above, or more below average, than normal. But of
course, that is why we calculate averages. We arenít always happy
with the extreme values that averages are based upon. Then we always
seem to prefer trying to hold Mother Nature to our own standards.
And that just isnít likely to happen.
I was really pleased to see so many of you at the
Legislative Dinner. We had a good turn out of legislators and it
gave us a chance to thank them for all the work that they do on our
behalf. Our legislators were given an opportunity to try to explain
what they see when faced with the decisionís they had to make. There
are always differences of opinion and legislative decisions are not
always to our liking.
That is why we need to help our legislators, and
the public, to understand our reasons, for not always agreeing with
some of the new laws and regulations that are being imposed upon us,
at both the State, and the County level. These changes, are not
always based upon the latest scientific information, nor always
properly interpreted to best fit our needs. Sometimes, there is too
much of an emotional element involved in political decisions and
laws are changed just because they seem to be the "feel good" thing
As I strongly suggested in my closing remarks at
the dinner, we must now be the ones to educate our leaders in
Annapolis and in Washington, DC in order for them to fully
understand and responsibly react to the problems of modern
We no longer do things like we used to. We take
soil samples as well as manure samples to make sure that we are not
applying excessive amounts of nutrients to our land. Farming is a
way of life, but, it is also a business. We realize that we could
not stay in business for very long if we waste money by applying
excessive amounts of fertilizers and chemicals.
We have, with the help of modern technology and
more modern machinery, been able to avoid the overlapping of
fertilizer and chemical applications. With the help of space-age
technology, such as GPS, we can accurately track each field at the
time of harvest and determine what our crop yields are and then make
adjustments based upon that information.
With the help of the expertise of the folks at the
Howard Soil Conservation District, as well as all the informative
publications that we receive, such as periodic "Farm Magazines", we
have learned about the benefits, as well as the problems, that have
occurred, with innovative practices such as crop rotations and
tillage methods. We also keep up-to-date about the latest practices
we should follow to protect and improve animal health and
So, the next time you are out with the general
public, let them know that you donít farm the way that your parentís
and grandparents used to, not that they were wrong, but that through
them passing their knowledge to you and their open-mindedness as
well as ours, we are, and always have been, improving our way of
life, as well as that of our neighborís lives, in the process.
Remember, that without erosion we would not have
the Grand Canyon or the Mississippi Delta, two of this countries
greatest treasures. With time and scientific knowledge we can make
our own small treasures and preserve our world, in a slow and
So, like I always say "Keep your plow in the
ground, weíre all pulling for you". Or, more in todayís reality,
"Keep your computer turned on and your minds wide open. Weíre all in
MARCH 13 MESSAGE
The Ground Hog came out of his den (or as you may
have noticed on TV, was reluctantly removed) and did not see his
shadow. So as legend has it, we will have an early spring. I have
always counted Ground Hog Day as being at the half-way point of our
hay and feed supplies. In general, I believe that we should do well
with our supplies so long as we have no major snows or other winter
weather to slow down the arrival of spring. The days are now getting
longer and we are doing ok so far.
I hope that the weather out in the Plains states
treats our fellow farmers with some moisture soon or they will be in
trouble again this summer. The Mississippi River is at the lowest
level that it has been since 1988. At that time, they closed the
river for 30 days in the St Louis area. Authorities are hoping not
to have to close it again this year, but it is getting close to that
happening again. The tugboats are having trouble moving barges of
grain and other commodities up and down the river. Letís hope that
the situation changes soon, and for the better.
We have been through some of the most
controversial times, that I can recall, during the last few months Ė
e.g., the rewriting of PlanHoward 2030; our new zoning regulations
as part of that process; and the Stateís new laws that are being
passed down to us. It has been a stressful time for us all. I hope
that things settle down soon.
With the changing of generations, as well as the
new laws, it has put some of us on different sides of the issues, in
some situations. Those of us who are here for the long haul in
agriculture view things a little differently from those who are at,
or are approaching, the end of their farming careers. We all want
what is important to us, and those differences are always in the mix
when we are trying to work out changes. I hope that the turmoil will
end soon, and we can get back into our fields, with the warm breezes
in our faces and the sunshine to our backs.
Our Legislative Dinner is coming up on the 11th of
April and I look forward to seeing all of you there. Bring your
questions and a good appetite. I encourage all of you to try to be
present, not only to visit with your representatives in government,
but we have a very special presentation planned and you wonít want
to miss that.
So, like I always say, "Keep your plow in the
ground. Weíre all pulling for you."
JANUARY 13 MESSAGE
Itís 2013 already and it seems like we just got
started with 2012. Where did the year go? Itís been so much fun we
can hardly stand it in our area. Some of our neighbors have not had
it so good, with the drought and storms. But we can really count our
blessings in our local area. Hopefully everyone had a great
Christmas, and you are ready for another fast-paced year of
accomplishments and triumphs over lifeís challenges.
I want to welcome our new board members. They are,
Mitzi Jones, Martha Anne Clark, Guy Moore, Jamie Brown, Mark Hereth
and Mark Iager. I look forward to working with them in the coming
years. I also want to thank those board members who are retiring
(for now) for doing a great job. I wish them luck in the coming
years. They are Lynn Moore, Charlotte Mullinix, Shelly Bulhman,
Charlie Feaga, Bucky Clark, and Tim Dowd. It has been a pleasure
serving with all of you.
By now Iím sure you know that the Md. State Farm
Bureau Board has been reconfigured to a smaller size. The counties
were divided into districts to reduce the number of State Board
members. Our district consists of Carroll, Montgomery and Howard
Counties. Our district has two representatives on the State Board.
They were elected by a caucus election at the Ocean City Convention
As you know, we tried to elect them with the
combined membership, but due to some complications, we had to
reconsider that approach and move forward. We have Jay Rhine now as
our 2-year representative and Tom Hartsock as our 1-year
representative. Tom will also serve on the Executive Committee.
Congratulations to both of you.
It will be interesting to see how things work out.
Like most any new change in procedure, there will be some bugs, Iím
sure. But please be patient and bear with the new State Board of
Directors as they work through the "rough spots" and continue to
move forward once again. We will elect someone next year for a
2-year term. After that, we will be on a regular cycle of electing a
new representative every year who will serve a 2-year term.
There was a little sadness expressed at our
December board meeting. We had to wish a fond farewell to our
retiring secretary, Merhlyn Barnes. She has served as secretary for
30 years and has been the heart and soul of the Howard County Farm
Bureau during that time. We could not have been better represented
during that period. I could not have had a better teacher of all the
duties I had to learn when I took office. She had more patience than
a saint with me as I went through those first couple of years. I
will always be indebted to her for all her help, as will the entire
county for the countless hours of time she spent as our WONDERFUL
secretary and friend.
Merhlyn is handing over the minutes to Leslie
Bauer who will take the job of secretary. Together with Merlynís
help and mine, Iím sure that Leslie will do a great job. Leslie and
her husband Ricky have 3 children. They grain farm as well as raise
hogs and beef cattle near Dayton. She has helped with the Sheep and
Wool festival for several years and I look forward to working with
So as we begin a new year and venture into the
unknown, I wish everyone a good New Year. Like I always say, "keep
your plow in the ground; weíre all pulling for you."
NOVEMBER 12 MESSAGE
Well, how about this weather? We have been so
lucky to end the summer and go into the harvest with some of the
most favorable weather since last spring. Everyone is asking me what
the forecast is for the winter. I can only answer that the weather
forecasters have trouble predicting what it will be for the next
three days. So, I think that we will get what we get. We can handle
it, we always have.
We tried our best to get the details of the election of our District
Directors worked out only to be confronted by a "brick wall" right
at the end. In an effort to be in compliance with the State by-laws,
we will have to wait on a critical definition to be interpreted by
the State Board before we can go forward. No one is more
disappointed than I am. But, we will continue to do our best with
the situation at hand.
I hope that the Director issue will be quickly resolved so that I
can update you at our Annual Dinner on the 8th of November. We will
be electing six new County Farm Bureau Board members and a slate of
officers at that meeting. So, I hope that all of you can be there to
welcome these people to their new positions. Also, I hope that you
will thank the directors who are retiring for doing such a great job
for us all.
Speaking of elections, I would encourage everyone to get out and
vote in the upcoming Presidential Election. In these trying times we
need to continue to show an interest in who we elect. The outcome
may not always be the way we want it to be, but at least if you vote
you can say you were a part of history. Just knowing that you did
your part by exercising your valuable freedom to vote, is a great
reason to be proud of this country that we live in. Not everywhere
do people have that right. So, be thankful and take advantage of
what this country has to offer.
With the fall harvest beginning to come to an end, we will be
celebrating Thanksgiving soon and then it's on to Christmas. It's a
time to take a look back at all the things you and your family and
friends have accomplished over the past year, and then look forward
to next year, to try and do even better.
I wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving and a very Merry Christmas!
And an even better Happy New Year! So as I always try to remind you,
"keep your plow in the ground. We're all pulling for you".
SEPTEMBER 12 MESSAGE
Well, the summer is about over and if you are
anything like me, we are all pretty much ready to have it come to an
end. The heat has been a real burden on us all. We have to be
thankful though, that we, at least most of us, have received a
goodly amount of rain. You donít have to travel very far our area to
see how the lack of rain has taken a heavy toll on many crops and
pastures. We have been very blessed to have gotten what we did.
Iíd like to congratulate our new Miss Howard
County Farm Bureau, Molly Ousborne. She did a great job in the
contest as well as did the other contestants.
Our Little Miss Howard County Farm Bureau is
Rebecca Herriotts, and our Little Future Farmer is Mark Chaney.
Congratulations to all of you. I look forward to seeing all of you
throughout the coming year as you carry out the duties associated
with your respective new roles.
I would like to thank Katie Loveless for the great
job that she did this past year as our 2011 Miss Howard County Farm
Bureau. She was well-spoken, offered a smiling face and a bright
voice for Farm Bureau wherever she went. Thanks, Katie, and Good
Luck in all of your future endeavors!
Your county Farm Bureau Board of Directors is
meeting again with the Montgomery and Carroll county Boards to
develop the list of nominees for our State Board of Directors
position. We will be sending that final list of candidates to our
voting members so that they can vote for our 2013 representative and
also for our 2013-2014 representative. If you have any questions
about any of the nominees or about the election itself, please donít
hesitate to discuss these issues with me or with any of your board
members. I will try to keep you up-to-date with the outcome of the
election, and later on regarding how the new board structure is
Try to slow down and enjoy the cooler weather. The
trees should have some brilliant colors this fall as they take that
last turn to winter. Be careful as the fall harvest begins and take
your time. As always, the fall work will get done as it always has.
And remember what I always say. "Keep your plow in the ground, weíre
all pulling for you."
MAY 12 MESSAGE
Well here we are, all as busy as a long-tailed cat
in a room full of rocking chairs. We had way more rain last fall
then we could use, and now we are so dry. Now we wonder what this
summer will bring. I hope that by the time you read this we will all
have received a good soaking rain.
In our efforts to get as much done as we can in a
short period of time, donít forget to take a moment to slow down and
check, then double-check your equipment. You have more time to do it
right the first time than to do it over again. Also I want to remind
you of another important safety consideration. As you and your kids,
relatives, and/or friends start out to take a quick ride on your
4-wheeler, please slow down. I recently lost my cousinís husband to
a 4-wheeler accident and I lost a cousin several years ago to a
4-wheeler accident also. They are great tools and are a lot of fun,
but just be careful with them. I donít want to have to add your name
to my list of losses.
The General Assembly session in Annapolis is now
over, and I hope they donít get called back in. If they couldnít get
the job done during the regular session, then why waist our tax
money on bringing them all back. We did manage to get the Estate Tax
exemption of $5 million on agriculture as long as the farm stays in
ag for 10 years after the ownerís death. We can be very thankful for
that success. It has been a long time in coming.
We will have had our Legislative Dinner by the
time you receive this Newsletter, and I hope that all of you had a
chance to attend. Itís always been a good dinner and an excellent
chance to meet our representatives and question them first-hand
about any concerns that you may have had. As always, I want to thank
our elected representatives for taking their valuable time to visit
The following report concerns the proceedings of a
very important Tri-county Farm Bureau Board meeting held on
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 in Gaithersburg. In an effort to reduce
the current large, and somewhat unwieldy, size of the Maryland State
Farm Bureau Board of Directors, a new, re-structured, State Board
with fewer members is in the works. Delegates representing the
Carroll, Montgomery and Howard County Boards convened to work out a
plan for equitably selecting two representatives from our new
tri-county district to serve on the re-structured, down-sized
Maryland Farm Bureau Board.
This new Board structure was adopted by the
Maryland Farm Bureau last December at the State Convention in Ocean
City. The new plan divides the state into districts that in effect,
makes the state board smaller and more efficient. Our new district
is composed of Carroll, Montgomery, and Howard Counties. These three
counties will be represented on the new State Board by two
The purpose of our Tri-County Board meeting was to
work out a fair way to select the two directors who would represent
the three counties. After much discussion about possible ways to do
this, we came up with the following procedure. The FB Voting
Membership will vote (bring in your card) at each countyís Annual
Dinner Meeting, or you will be able to vote by mail.
It was also agreed that by September 1st, each
County Board will nominate no more than two candidates from their
county for their state directorís position. Another Tri-County Board
meeting will then be convened during September at which time the
candidates will present their resumes and be interviewed. Your
County Board will then make that information available to the Voting
The Voting Members will vote for two of the six
possible nominees. The two nominees receiving the highest number of
votes will represent all three counties on the State Board.
Initially, one director will serve a one-year term, and the other
will serve a two-year term. After the first year, one director will
be elected each year and will serve a two-year term.
We thank you for your patience as we work our way
through this re-structuring process. We hope that everyone is clear
on just what we are doing, and the reasons for doing it. Regardless,
I hope that you will, once again, remember what I always say. "Keep
your plow in the ground. Weíre all pulling for you."
MARCH 12 MESSAGE
Everything seems to be higher so far this year.
Gas prices, grain prices, temperatures, seeds, milk prices, propane,
hay, twine, you name it, theyíre all up. So what happens when some
prices come down and others stay up? Be a little cautious, take care
now, and save back a few dollars for when things do start coming
back down. Seems that nothing lasts forever, so letís enjoy it while
If the new Septic Bill passes, we will see our
farmís value go down. If you have equity loans, they will lose some
of their value due to the reduction of that value. The Farm Bureau
will keep on trying to defeat that one. If the estate tax bill
called "Family Farm Preservation Act of 2012" passes, the exemption
level will go to $5,000,000, but not without certain requirements.
So, get ready for a real "roller coaster" ride of ups and downs.
OK, on now to some good news. I want to
congratulate the Robert and Drew Stabler families on winning the
"Maryland Hall of Fame" Farmers of the Year Award for 2011.
Presentation was made at at the recent Maryland Ag Dinner. These
brothers and their families farm mostly in Montgomery County and
have done a fine job. They are well known in the Ag community for
their hard work and their all-around community service. We wish them
many more years of successful farming.
I want to recognize Rhonda Winkler for standing up
for the U.S. flag in her town of Lisbon/ Woodbine. If her efforts
are successful, we will all be able to fly our American flag in
other traffic circles to show our troops that we are behind them as
they risk their lives for us every day that they are away.
With the help of Warren Miller a bill has been
introduced in the House of Delegates. Rhonda and Warren both
testified in Annapolis to help get things on the way. Letís hope
that they are successful in this patriotic endeavor. Letís cheer
That same day, Farm Bureau and others went to
Annapolis to visit with our legislators and to sit in on some of the
other hearings being held that day. I hope that our presence shows
the elected legislators that we do care and that we need them to
represent us well when we cannot be there ourselves.
Some of us will travel to Washington DC on March
28th to meet with our senators and representatives to discuss new
issues of this session, such as the Trade Agreements that were last
yearís discussion topics. I feel we had a part in getting Congress
to see our side of those issues, and they voted favorably.
Hopefully, we can have the same success this year.
As I write this message, it is a cold and windy
day. But soon, the days will start getting a lot longer and the
warmth of the sun will begin to warm both us and the earth. We will
then see the green coming back into our surroundings. The ground
will begin to dry out and we can once again get back onto our fields
in preparation for planting and nurturing our crops. We can all be
thankful that we live in such a place as Howard County, where we can
enjoy winters that are not all that cold, and summers that are not
all that hot and friends that come from all walks of life.
We will always have problems from time to time,
learning to live with each other, but if we concentrate on the
solutions more than the problems themselves, then we will succeed in
living together as harmonious neighbors.
So, remember what I always say. "Keep your plow in
the ground. Weíre all pulling for you".
JANUARY 12 MESSAGE
Well, we made it through another year. It always
seems so far away when you think of something a year away and then
all of the sudden it is here. When we look back at the year we just
had, itís been cold, snowy, wet, dry and wet again. I guess Forest
Gumpís mom was right, you never know what youíre going to get. We
know one thing for certain though. Things will change and all of us
will make the best of it, we always have. I believe that we farmers
have even more capability to handle change than most others because
we have always had to make changes to meet the task at hand. We can
all be proud of those abilities.
We traveled to Ocean City for our annual
convention in December and we are changing there also. The delegates
voted to reduce the size of the State Board. We will share
representation on the Board with two other counties, Montgomery and
Carroll. There will be two representatives from the three counties
as State Board members. Communication will be the key to making this
new arrangement work. Lets all do our best and once again change
will become the normal.
Congratulations to our President Pat Langenfelder,
1st Vice President Chuck Fry and 2nd Vice President Jim Steele on
their reelection. Thanks to them for a job well done this past year.
And congratulations to the Mullinix Brothers for winning the 3rd
highest sales award for Maryland Farm Bureau Tireís.
I want to thank everyone that helped the Hudson
Family over the past year. Hopefully, the Hudsonís nightmarish law
suit will end soon. No one deserves to be harassed that way. The
Hudsonís personally thanked us all at the convention dinner. Keep up
the fight; it is for all of us.
A second barn was lost to fire last year. Grant
Hillís hay barn was lost in mid-December. I hope that no one else
has to experience such a disaster. A barn fire has got to be one of
the most feared, and expensive, events to happen to anyone.
The first annual Lisbon Christmas Horse Parade on
December 10, 2011 was a big success thanks to the efforts of all its
organizers and participants. They did a great job to help bring back
a really neat part of our past. The Carroll County and Howard County
food banks benefited the most, and thatís a good thing.
I want to welcome Rhonda Winkler and Mark Martin
to our local Board of Directors, and I want to thank Susan Baker and
Brice Ridgley, our retiring members, for serving their terms and for
doing a fine job for us.
Well I hope everyone has gotten their crops
harvested and that your Holiday Season was a happy and blessed time.
So as always, "Keep your plow in the ground, weíre all pulling for
NOVEMBER 11 MESSAGE
Well, as I sit here writing this message, outside
it is pouring rain once again. I can only hope that everyone is safe
at home as I am. The rain has been relentless this fall and every
time we think that it has stopped for a short while, the race begins
to get as much done as possible before the rain returns again. Try
not to get in too much of a hurry to get ahead of the weather and
then make some unfortunate, perhaps costly, mistake.
With the stress of the weather and the effect that
it has on every crop, and every job we have to do, it still is
better than the stress that the Waterkeeper Alliance has put on one
particular Maryland farm family, Alan and Kristin Hudson of Berlin,
Maryland. Due to a series of circumstances that were out of their
control, the Waterkeepers are suing this family, in the opinion of
many, for no valid reason. But like most of us, their finances can
not handle the legal fees that they have incurred in an effort to
defend themselves against these unjustified charges. I would
encourage all of you to go to
www.savefarmfamilies.org on the web
and decide if you can help this farm family in any way. This
horrendous situation could have befallen any one of us that this
group chose to target and destroy, all without any scientific, or
even logical, test results, to pinpoint the alleged pollution that
the Hudsons have been charged with creating.
We also have to be thankful that most of us have
not gone without rain for so long, that we had to sell our
livestock, so that they would not starve because of the lack of
pasture and water resources. The farmers in Texas may need help as
well as some of those in other states that had flood waters to cover
their farmsteads, filling their barns, grain bins, and machine
sheds, with water that took days, weeks, or months to recede before
they could begin cleaning up the damages. The loss of feed, hay and
animals has got to be one of the most damaging events that anyone
could ever have to experience. I hope perhaps, that as a group, the
Howard County Farm Bureau, might be able to help in some way, to get
some of these fellow farmers past these disasters and back on their
I also learned by way of a telephone call just as
I was finishing up writing this article, that Betsy Hobbsís straw
barn had been hit by lightning and had burned to the ground. I hope
that you all can keep her in your prayers. She has had a really
rough go of it lately. I have always thought that to lose a barn, in
this case, one filled to capacity with straw, is one of the most
depressing things a farmer can experience.
Our Annual Dinner meeting is scheduled for
November 10, 2011. I hope to see all of you there, to enjoy an
evening of good food and good fellowship. We need to provide
ourselves with a chance to forget our struggles, and to recognize
that we are not alone with the burdens that we bear.
We will be electing new board members and officers
that evening. So donít miss this opportunity to be in on this
important process. Finally, like I always say, "Keep your plow in
the ground. Weíre all pulling for you".
SEPTEMBER 11 MESSAGE
Well, the end of summer is fast approaching. Where
did the summer go so fast? We have had a pretty good summer here in
the Glenelg area, but just a few miles away, the season has been
very different. The lack of rain has left its mark on all the crops
and pastures. As I write this though we are getting some rain that
has been very widespread over our whole area. So, I hope these rains
have helped everyone, even though for some, it may have arrived a
I would like to congratulate the new Howard County
Miss Farm Bureau, Katie Loveless, she was selected from a group of
seven contestants. All of the girls did a great job. But, of course,
we could only have one winner to represent us. The girls were all
very helpful to one another and it was almost like the movie "Miss
Congeniality". We can look forward to a great future for this
contest. We must hope that this trend will continue with the next
groups of contestants.
I would also like to congratulate the Little Miss
Farm Bureau winner, Ellie Feaga, and Kevin Spicer, the winner of the
Future Farmer award.
It was nice seeing so many of you at the fair, and
the kids did a really great job with all their animals, baked goods,
and exhibits that they entered in the hopes of perhaps picking up a
blue ribbon or even a championship. Good job, kids, and hope to see
you next year.
I hope everyone can spend a little time this fall
harvesting and enjoying the cooler weather. Try to slow down and
take your time. You have always gotten your work done before and Iím
sure it will get done again this year. So like I always remind you,
"Keep your plow in the ground. Weíre all pulling for you." We will
see you soon.
Howie Feaga (center), Howard
County Farm Bureau President, accepts recognition for being selected
as the 2011 Howard Soil Conservation District Cooperator of the
Year. Some of the officials participating in the presentation were,
from left to right, County Council Member Greg Fox, Howard SCD
Manager Robert Ensor, and County Council Member Mary Kay Sigaty.
MAY 11 MESSAGE
Well here we are into May already, can you
believe it? Seems we were hoping to get out of winter without too
much more snow, and now here it is spring. This is a great time of
the year especially for farmers, we start to see everything grow,
and we are planting our crops. There is no better thing then to be
a farmer in the spring time.
We had a great Farm Bureau visit to Washington,
DC. This year, we had quite a few people go along to try and help
persuade our legislators to understand our point of view on some of
the bills that were being considered. Somehow, I think that we
helped even though we donít always see things that way. I do think
that our efforts make a small difference some of the time and that
is a start.
The Legislative dinner a couple of weeks ago was a
big success, we had a lot of elected officials present. They were at
least willing to visit with us and give us their perspectives on our
government, even though it isnít always what we want most to hear.
The dinner and the fellowship were great and I thought that overall,
we had a good evening. We look forward now to seeing everyone in the
fall when we have our annual dinner.
Congratulations to Brent Rutley and Martha Clark
Crist, among others, who were appointed to the General Plan Task
Force. I would encourage everyone to let our Task Force
representatives know of anything that you feel needs to be addressed
in revising this document. It is your chance to make a difference.
Well, try not to work too hard or to fast, and
enjoy this time of the year. Once again, "Keep your plow in the
ground, weíre all pulling for you."
MARCH 11 MESSAGE
Are you as ready for spring as I am? We havenít
had a really bad winter yet. It just seems to me though, to have
been really long and cold.
We attended the American Farm Bureau Federation
Convention in Atlanta, Georgia in January, and yes, it snowed while
we were there. Although it only amounted to a few inches, for
Atlanta, it turned into a disaster. The buses stopped running and
the taxiís were off the roads. Many people didnít make it back to
work the next day.
But, we had a good time and our keynote speaker,
Mike Rowe from the TV show "Dirty Jobs", was a great speaker and did
an outstanding job. (See the accompanying article in this Newsletter
about his message.) He is very pro-farmer and some of his shows have
been heavily criticized by the EPA and the OSHA people. But he
broadcast them anyway because they represent real life. You have to
like him just for that.
I congratulate Pat Langenfelder on her election to
the national AFBF board of directors. I know that she will do a
great job in that position and will represent Maryland very well.
The Legislative Affairs committee and all the Farm
Bureau staff are back to working with all of our new and returning
representatives to try to keep all the new bills on the right track.
We donít need anymore hardships to deal with than the ones that we
Locally, I am glad to see that we received a
favorable vote from the Howard County Council on the Beekeeping
bill. I believe we can all live with that decision. I would like to
thank the Council for all of the time and effort that they put into
that issue. I also want to thank the beekeepers and hope that they
can now go back to their hives and keep them healthy and busy doing
their very important job of pollinating crops. I hope to see all of
you at the Legislative Dinner coming up later in the spring.
With spring coming on and our lives about to get
really busy, try to take it easy and not hurry so much and make a
costly avoidable mistake with either a piece of your machinery or
with your tools. We all tend toward getting in a hurry sometimes,
and that, unfortunately, can lead up to the making of a terrible
accident. So slow down and remember, "Keep your plow in the ground.
Weíre all pulling for you."
JANUARY 11 MESSAGE
Well, winter is here, we have
already had a couple of light snows, but it made driving a mess.
Unfortunately, we most likely havenít seen the worst yet. Letís
hope that we donít have a winter like last year. That should be a
once in a lifetime event. Hopefully most crops are now out of the
field and we can take care of our animals without too much
The recent Maryland Farm Bureau
Convention in Ocean City went well. We adopted a few new policies
and have a battle on our hands with the lawsuit filed against the
Maryland Department of Agriculture, but hope to do well with that.
I would like to congratulate our
1st Vice President Chuck Fry and 2nd Vice President Jim Steele on
being reelected; they have done a great job and work well with
everyone. Pat Langenfelder, President of the Maryland Farm Bureau,
has done a great job as well and has a couple more years on her
term. I am looking forward to traveling to Atlanta, Georgia to
attend the American Farm Bureau Federation Convention in January. I
hope to return to Howard County with a lot of new ideaís for the
I hope everyone enjoyed our recent
Annual Dinner at the Lisbon Fire Department Social Hall. It is
always good to see all of you and it was good to have some of our
neighboring county Farm Bureau Presidents as well as our State
President in attendance to enjoy a great evening.
We have had a good year and hope
to have another one next year. So, like I always say, "Keep your
plow in the ground. Weíre all pulling for you."
NOVEMBER 10 MESSAGE
Wow. Did this summer ever go fast, or did it
just seem that way to me? Fall is all but over now and it seems
like we just got cooled down from a record hot summer. I hope
everyone had a good summer. It seemed like it was an exceptionally
hot one with rain arriving just in the nick of time. It wasnít the
worst summer for most of us, but the weather did challenge a lot
of areas in the state that werenít as fortunate as most of us.
With the harvest in high gear now, remember to
take your time and be extra careful. We donít want to hear about you
in the news. I would like to send our heartfelt condolences to the
Dell Family in Carroll County on the sad loss of Tommy Dell. You
never know when life will take a tragic turn. We all know from our
own experiences that it just takes a split second and we can be in
trouble. Please slow down and enjoy life to the fullest, and good
We will be heading to the Maryland Farm Bureau
Convention in Ocean City on December 5 - 7. Among other items, we
will be considering policy suggestions that have been submitted over
the past year. We also will enjoy visiting with other delegates from
across the state, some of whom we only get to interact with on these
Everyone continues to work hard in making Maryland
Farm Bureau as effective as possible. We will soon have the newly
elected legislators to become acquainted with and hopefully, to try
and educate them about our needs. We must let them know what
policies work best for us so that any future decisions they make are
in our best interests.
I hope that everyone will plan to attend the
Annual Howard County Farm Bureau Dinner on November 11th at 7 pm. We
look forward to seeing all of you there. We look forward to enjoying
a great meal and fellowship with many of our friends.
So for now, like I always say, "Keep your plow in
the ground. Weíre all pulling for you"
SEPTEMBER 10 MESSAGE
MAY 10 MESSAGE
I hope everyone enjoyed the
fellowship and the food at the Legislative Dinner on April 15.
Those nice ladies at the Lisbon Fire Hall sure know how to prepare
a good meal.
Did everyone listen closely to
their legislators trying to make sense of this yearís session in
Annapolis? Remember, this is an election year, and you need to
really evaluate what went on and prepare to make a decision next
fall that will be best for you.
Your Board of Directors has been
working hard to get our membership up so that our voice is heard
loud and clear. We are all being asked to sign up one new person,
each of us, starting in July. But I think that is an unrealistic
goal. Nevertheless, we should still try to do our best to increase
Well, who would have thought that
we were going to have such an early spring. It is very welcome
though isnít it? After all that snow last winter, Iím sure no one is
complaining. With the weather getting better, we all are anxious to
get out to the fields. But once again, please take your time. You
will still be able to get your work done. Try not to rush through to
the next job. You will still get it all done.
With all the snow in February, it
will seem as though we will have had only an 11 month year because
we lost that whole month. But we will catch up. You just need to
work at it and re-prioritize. You will get through it. Like all of
you I am looking forward to a great summer and just like a farmer I
am hoping for "PERFECT" weather.
You all take care and I hope to
see you at the Ho. Co. Fair, and like always "keep your plow in the
ground, weíre all pulling for you".
MARCH 10 MESSAGE
WOW!! It just kept on coming. Just when we
thought that it had finally stopped raining, then it just wouldnít
stop snowing. We have blown the seasonal record for snowfall right
off the books.
I hope that all of you made it through the storms
safe and sound. I did hear that tragedy struck at Gene and Charlotte
Mullinixís Woodbine farm with the collapse of one of their big
feedlot barns. I havenít heard yet how many animals were lost or
injured. Regardless, we wish them well on their cleanup and recovery
Hopefully, no one else has suffered this kind of
misfortune. All that we can do is learn from our experiences. And it
seems that there have been more than enough opportunities for
learning from our weather-related experiences of this past fall and
winter. Please be safe in your future endeavors. Take your time and
I had the wonderful opportunity of traveling to
Seattle, Washington in January for the American Farm Bureau
Federationís annual convention. Believe it or not, it was warmer in
Seattle than in Tampa Bay, Florida. We met many other farmers from
across the country and enjoyed visiting with them.
We heard a very moving message from AFBF President
Stallman, telling us that we must no longer tolerate the efforts of
our opponents to change American Agriculture. Our adversaries are
skillful at taking advantage of the politeness of members of the
farm community. We must not allow that to continue lest it result in
our demise. We need to be more proactive and actively defend
ourselves and our way of life.
On the lighter side though, we were totally
entertained by our keynote speaker, Terry Bradshaw, a former
Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback and member of the Pro-Football Hall
Spring is just around the corner and hopefully
memories of this past fall and winter will fade, and we can begin to
look forward to a more normal spring and summer.
So, like always, "keep your plow in the ground."
"Weíre all pulling for you".
JANUARY 10 MESSAGE
I hope everyone had a great
Christmas and New Year. We all need to put last year behind us and
start looking forward to the new year. Not that last year was that
bad, it just really got old with that weather. We have had a little
bit of winter and there are a lot of crops that have not been
harvested yet. The only thing I can say is that you are not alone.
This past fall was just one of the wettest that I can remember. Try
to be patient and sooner or later things will get better.
Several of us went down to Ocean
City to the annual Maryland Farm Bureau Convention and we left with
a new President. She is former Howard County farmer Pat Langenfelder.
She and her husband, "Dutch", farmed in Clarksville and moved to
Kent County several years ago where they now have a very successful
hog and grain operation. Congratulations to Pat.
Chuck Fry has moved up to 1st
Vice-president and Jim Steel is our new 2nd Vice-president. I would
like to express a fond farewell to our out-going president, Mike
Phipps. He has done a great job and will always be remembered for
his humor and talents as well as being a great Maryland Farm Bureau
President. Good luck to all of these hard working, dedicated people.
Here at our county level we have a
new Vice-president, Jay Rhine. Jay is a former dairy farmer and now
farms part time, but also has a very successful landscaping
business. I look forward to working with Jay.
We have two new board members now,
Zack Brendel and Allan Bandel. Zack farms part-time and operates an
excavating business that he and his brother Justin started along
with a new septic pumping business. Allan Bandel, the other new
director, you all have known as our newsletter editor for many
years. I would like to welcome the new officers and directors and
thank the rest for a great 2009. I am looking forward to another
great year together.
So, like always, "Keep your plow
in the ground. Weíre all pulling for you".
NOVEMBER 09 MESSAGE
Well here we are in the middle of harvest again
and we are looking at Thanksgiving in just a few weeks. The summer
was a lot different than those that we have gotten the last few
years. Plenty of rain, lots of sun at times, but our weathermen
still struggle with being able to predict the future. But I think
it was a good summer all in all.
With the wet summer and fall it is going to be a
challenge to get all the harvest done quickly, so we will need to be
patient, and donít let yourselves get into a worse situation by
rushing. Take time to enjoy the fall with its cool breezes and
wonderful colors. The colors of the trees are short-lived and before
you know it, the cold winter winds will be here, the colorful leaves
will be gone, and the winter will really be upon us.
I hope to see all of you at our Annual Banquet on
the 12th of November. Itís always good to visit with you. It will be
a good meal, as usual, and you will have plenty of opportunities to
catch up on how all of your farmer friends are doing.
Your Board of Directors has been working hard to
increase our membership. They made their goal! And that was not so
easy to do. With everyone tightening their belts it was a job well
done. A special thanks to Susan Baker, Shelly Buhlman, and Merhlyn
Barnes who are the ones who really deserve a congratulatory "slap on
I want to congratulate our new Miss Howard County
Farm Bureau, Danielle Bauer. She also did a great job at the state
contest. She is joined by the Little Miss Howard County Farm Bureau,
Rachel King, and Future Howard County Farmer, Mitchell Feaga. These
kids did a great job! I think we have another great generation
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and
enjoy the up-coming Holiday Season! Once again, remember to "Keep
your plow in the ground. Weíre all pulling for you."
MAY 09 MESSAGE
I think that we made it! Itís warming up more
each week and we are getting some rain and thatís a good thing.
The daffodils are blooming and soon the Red Winged Blackbirds will
be nesting in the weeds in our hay fields. I always leave a few
weeds just for them, donít you?
I hope you all enjoyed the legislative dinner.
Itís always good to see everyone and it shows us that you approve of
what we are doing. Your Board of Directors works hard to keep up
with all the new changes and at the same time with their own farm
work. With the economy in such a ditch, I canít say rut, because I
think itís a bit deeper than that, we need to remind ourselves that
we are all here together with the same problems. So donít hesitate
to tell others about how things are going, good or bad, and it will
I was fortunate to be able to participate in Farm
Bureauís DC drive-in this year where we had, as a group, an
opportunity to lobby our Congressmen and Senators. We met with each
one in small groups to argue our views on how the different bills
would affect us as farmers, and agriculture as a whole. We visited
the Capital Visitors Center. It was all a really good experience for
me. My background in how government really works is not very
extensive, so this experience was quite educational for me.
Itís almost summer once again, so donít be in too
big a hurry to enjoy the early summer warmth and the nice summer
days. I know that we are all very busy. But God didnít make these
nice days for everyone else. He made them for everyone. So have a
great summer! Be careful! And like always, "Keep your plow in the
ground; weíre all pulling for you."
MARCH 09 MESSAGE
The winter has gone rather well, we have had
some cold weather and some snow and ice, but we have done better
than a lot of other parts of the country. We are not done yet, but
with the days getting longer, we can easily get through what is
I had the opportunity to go to the American Farm
Bureau Federation annual convention in San Antonio, Texas in early
January. It was very interesting to meet so many farmers from all
over the country. Our keynote speaker was Bill Bradley, a Hall of
Fame basketball star for the New York Knicks and a former U.S.
Senator from New Jersey. He assured us, and I agree, that we
Americans will get through these tough times and will learn from the
mistakes that have been made.
We went on a bus trip into the "Winter Garden"
area of Texas and saw where they had already planted potatoes. We
visited a feedlot, a beekeeper who had 9,000 bee hives, and a
purebred Brahman breeder. We ate lunch in country music star George
Straitís home town of Pearsall, TX, though we didnít see him. The
food was great.
We are getting ready for our Legislative dinner on
April 23 and I would encourage each of you to bring a friend with
you who would be interested in hearing some of our legislators give
us their updates on how things are going, or to just have a great
dinner with friends.
We are trying to keep up with all the new bills
that are being introduced. They are read and reviewed to determine
whether they are in our best interests or not. We then make our
commitment to be for or against them from an agricultural
Iím sure everyone is looking forward to spring,
and as the days get warmer we seem to pick up the pace. But
remember, there will be another good day. You donít have to do it
all today. Try to enjoy the new growth of the grass and treeís. And
be careful as you begin to run your machines Ė thatís everything
from your lawnmowers to your corn planters.
So have a great spring and a prosperous summer.
And like always "Keep your plow in the ground; weíre all pulling for
MARCH 09 MESSAGE
I hope that everyone had a great Holiday Season.
The past year went by so quickly that it seems to have passed more
in a blurr than as a normal 12 whole months. The year ahead of us,
2009, will most likely present many new challenges for us all.
Potential economic hardships will challenge almost
everyoneís efforts to stay out of financial trouble. Some good
advice might be to first try to talk out any problems before they
get out of hand. You might ask a friend to just listen to your ideas
so that you can face each new challenge with as much good reliable
information as you can assemble.
The year-end Maryland Farm Bureau Convention in
Ocean City went very well. We were able to get a lot of new policies
introduced and accepted, including one that will help to protect our
Beekeepers from unnecessary complaints from neighbors.
We are going to try to gain more support from our
Nurserymen and Landscapers this year. The membership committee is
working hard to encourage more of them to become interested in
joining our County Farm Bureau. Next year we also plan to work on
trying to interest more of the local Grape Growers and Wineries to
join us in our ever more diversified county, to try and keep these
industries viable through favorable legislation, ultimately for the
good of Howard County.
We have a new Vice-President in place for 2009.
Justin Brendel is a life-long farmer and I am looking forward to
working with him in the coming years. We also have a couple of new
directors on board for the coming year. Larry Barnard is a part-time
grain farmer as well as a part-time builder. Phil Jones is a
full-time dairy farmer. We welcome them both on the board.
I would also like to thank our secretary Merhlyn
Barnes for all that she does in keeping our county organization
running smoothly. And thanks to Allan Bandel, our Newsletter editor,
for another year of hard work. All of the members of the Howard
County Farm Bureau Board of Directors are doing a great job. My
sincerest thanks go to all of them.
So, as always, please remember to, "Keep your plow
in the ground. We are all pulling for you."
NOVEMBER 08 MESSAGE
Well here we are deep into harvest and have had
some of the greatest weather. We are dry but this kind of weather
is the next best thing.
We all hope to see you at the Annual Dinner
meeting on November 13. For more details, please refer to the
announcement elsewhere in this newsletter. We have new board members
to nominate and bring on board, and we also will have our election
We are getting ready for Maryland Farm Bureauís
annual convention in Ocean City. If anyone would like to serve as a
delegate, please let us know. I had the honor and privilege of being
invited recently to the Frederick County and Carroll County Farm
Bureau Dinners. Our neighbors are doing quite well and gave me a
very warm welcome.
I hope that all of you are doing well. Try not to
get in too big a hurry and make any costly mistakes. Have a
wonderful Holiday Season and I will look forward to communicating
with you next year. Like always, "Keep your plow in the ground.
Weíre all pulling for you."
SEPTEMBER 08 MESSAGE
Where did the summer go? Seems that we were
waiting for the weather to warm up just a few weeks ago. I hope
everyone has had a good summer, a season that is quickly coming to
an end. I do like the fall though. It is my favorite season.
I hope that you all got a chance to visit the
Howard County Fair. We have a new Miss Howard County Farm Bureau.
Miss Caitlin Patrick is the daughter of Denny and Nancy Patrick of
Maple Dell Farm in Woodbine. I would like to thank Laura Bradley for
the great job that she did as the 2007 Miss Howard County farm
Seems that we are all busy with our comings and
goings. But I hope that everyone will take time to enjoy the last of
the summer. Before you know it, we will be into the busy fall
harvest season and then the holidays.
Until next time, have a great end of the summer
and a wonderful fall. And like always, "Keep your plow in the
ground. Weíre all pulling for you."
MAY 08 MESSAGE
I hope everyone had a great Easter. It certainly
came early this year. And how about that time change coming so
early?. We are soon going to be in the fields at full go. I hope
that we will all be careful. Itís so easy to get in a rush. Thatís
when accidents happen.
This spring has been a dry one, but maybe by the
time this newsletter goes to print we will have caught up on spring
rains. We definitely do not need another drought this year.
Our membership committee, Susan Baker and Shelly
Buhlman, are doing a great job with trying to recruit new members to
keep our organization strong and in an effort to help make our laws
work for us. It was gratifying to have a good turnout at our Annual
Legislative Dinner on April 10. I hope that everyone present got a
chance to ask the questions that they wanted to ask Ė and got the
It has been one year on the job for me now as your
president. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone
for all they have done to help me with the responsibilities that the
office entails. I especially want to thank Merhlyn Barnes, our
County Farm Bureau Secretary. She is always right on top of things.
And your Farm Bureau Board of Directors has been very willing to
quickly step up to each task. For their enthusiasm, I am very
grateful. And last, but not least, I want to thank you, the members,
for your great interest in this organization. It has meant a lot and
has ultimately been what has kept us all going.
Well thatís it for now. I hope everyone has a
wonderful spring and like always, "Keep your plow in the ground.
Weíre all pulling for you."
MARCH 08 MESSAGE
The winter has been pretty good so far this
year. I hope everyone is doing well. The dry summer is still
plaguing us with a shortage of winter feed. Thankfully we are past
Ground Hog Day now and that is about the half-way point of the
winter feeding season, although most of us have been winter
feeding since September or earlier. So, we are two thirds through
the winter feeding time. Letís hope the rest of the winter will be
This time of year our Membership committee is hard
at work to get our membership up to meet the stateís expectations
and that is not an easy task. Our committee is reaching out to many
new potential members with the hopes of getting some more new
innovative thinkers into our organization. I hope all of you will
try to encourage your neighbors that may not be familiar with the
Farm Bureau to join, so that we can have the support to carry on
with our job, to guide the governing powers to help us to keep the
laws working for agriculture.
As we do enroll our neighbors, I would encourage
all of us, traditional dairy, beef, swine, and crop farmers, that
have dwindled in numbers but not in importance to the farm bureau,
to welcome these new members and their ideaís so that we can include
those horse, sheep, goat, beekeepers, landscapers and other
agriculture related businessís into our organization.
With springtime fast approaching we will all be
anxious to get out and start our field work. We need to take time
now to get our machinery and our bodies ready to work all summer. So
start slow and work up to those heavy loads and try not to over-do
it the first good day. And like always, donít forget to "keep your
plow in the ground, weíre all pulling for you."
JANUARY 08 MESSAGE
I hope that all of you had a great Thanksgiving,
a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to a healthy and
prosperous New Year!
This past December, I had the privilege of
attending the 92nd Annual Maryland Farm Bureau Meeting in Ocean
City. There was a lot of time spent working on Farm Bureau policy
and we all worked hard to see that they were the way you all would
like to have them written I was really impressed with the process
and must admit that I learned, and am still learning, how this
process works. If you donít think your dues are worth the $60.00 you
pay, you need to experience these meetings. The Farm Bureau is our
voice when it comes to having valuable input in the policies of our
State and County laws.
We heard several very good speakers, one being
Chad Hymas a young paraplegic farmer who had a terrible accident
with a round bale that rolled over him while on the tractor. His
message of encouragement was that you should be ready and able to
change your life when things change, and that you should be thankful
for what you have whether it is good or bad, it is what you make it.
Gov. Martin OíMalley spoke on making agriculture
profitable to our family farms and promised to help make that
happen. Dr.Cheng-I Wei, Dean and Director of the College of
Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Maryland, was also
there to update us on the collegeís latest improvements and
Your Board of Directors, after taking a much
needed break for the Holidays, is ready to go back to work for all
of you. Thank you for all of your support during the past year. I
would also like to thank the Board and your Secretary Merhlyn Barnes
for all their help during my first year as your President and like
always donít forget Ė keep your plow in the ground weíre all pulling
NOVEMBER 07 MESSAGE