Farm Bureau members highlight year’s successes

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

ROCKINGHAM — It was a night to celebrate the successes of the past 12 months for the Richmond County office of the North Carolina Farm Bureau.

But it was difficult to know where to start.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeepost.com Two youngsters helped pull numbers for the much-anticipated door prizes to close out the evening program.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeepost.com
Two youngsters helped pull numbers for the much-anticipated door prizes to close out the evening program.

Highlighted by a new office on Rockingham Road, nearly 150 people attended the annual banquet in the Richmond Senior High School cafeteria gathered as agency officials gathered to highlight new programs, scholarships and education outreach for new and veteran members alike.

But much of junior board member Donnie Richardson’s talk focused on the new office, located at 925 Rockingham Road. The office opened April 14 and enjoyed a Richmond County Chamber of Commerce-sponsored ribbon-cutting ceremony three days later, but the project was years in the making.

The proposal started to become a plan in April 2010, Richardson said, when a small number of individuals worked on site selection. That November, the current site was identified as ideal and the agency purchased the property on Jan. 12, 2012. That’s about when Richardson joined the board.

“It became my baby,” Richardson said.

In March 2013, board members put the project out to bid and two months later awarded the contract to Hawks Builders, of Rockingham. Last November, officials closed on the loan with Carolina Farm Credit for the project and conducted a groundbreaking ceremony.

After the grand opening of the new office, the former location on Highway Business 74 was sold in May.

But the building was only one of many accomplishments and milestones for the local agency over the past year. Farm Bureau President Chris Yaklin noted that four individuals — Stephen Webb, Molly Webb, Bobbie Gerald and Chris Gerald attended the Young Farmer and Ranch COnference in January in Raleigh. In addition, Betty Wilson attended four key conferences and seminars, including the North Carolina Farm Bureau State Women’s Committee meetings in February, May and September, as well as the women’s conference in March.

The local Farm Bureau also sponsored the Farm Fresh Ventures program and helped purchase Wild about Wellness T-shirts. In addition, two Richmond Senior High School students, Logan Northcutt and Hill Pence, were each awarded in May a $500 scholarship.

The Richmond County Farm Bureau also joined the Rankin Museum in Ellerbe as a benefactor and helped send 199 fourth-grade students to the museum.  The chapter also donated $1,000 to the 4-H Museum and History Center, currently in the planning phase for the Millstone 4-H Center near Ellerbe.

The Richmond County Farm Bureau was incorporated on March 28, 1957. It is a non-profit organization that promotes farming and rural issues for Richmond County. The N.C. Farm Bureau was organized in 1936 with the goal of protecting the interest of farm and rural families across the state.

In addition, Richmond County Farm Bureau provides member services, governmental relationships, agricultural education and many other services. The Richmond County Chamber of Commerce is a private, non-profit, membership-driven organization comprised of 400 businesses, municipalities, civic organizations, educational institutions and individuals in Richmond County.

Across the state, there are 524,598 member families, said Jessica Tripp, federal field representative from the Raleigh office. In Richmond County, there are 2,053 member families. Tripp spoke at length from a 2012 American Farm Bureau Federation article about farm safety.

She said the Farm Bureau “acknowledges the risk we have every day” on the farm.”

Tripp said agency officials are working to help make farms as safe as possible, “especially for our youth.”

Filed in: Farm & Ag, Latest Headlines, News

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