Delaware Farm Bureau News March/April 2024

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Farm Bureau News

Celebrating 80 Years!

Local Farmers Feeding Your Family

Delaware honored at AFBF convention

The Delaware Farm Bureau (DEFB) came out on top as it was honored with the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) highest award available for programming and membership during the national conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The conference, which ran from Friday, Jan. 19 through Wednesday, Jan. 24, was a chance for farmers and volunteers alike to gather, network, learn and work together to advocate for the agricultural industry.

They also celebrated many accomplishments like those of the Delaware Farm Bureau which brought home the Pinnacle Award, New Horizon Award, making this the third consecutive year DEFB has received this award, and Awards of Excellence.

“It’s nice to see that our work was recognized at the national level. We work hard to provide programming to our members and the public that is relevant and promotes agricultu-

In this issue

80 years and counting for DEFB

re and safety in Delaware and these awards highlight those efforts,” DEFB Marketing Coordinator and Assistant Executive Director Mikayla Paul said.

The Pinnacle Award is the highest honor available by the national organization. Delaware joined New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Arkansas and North Carolina in receiving this honor during the 2024 conference. DEFB President Bill Powers was on hand during the event to accept the award.

“It was really an incredible feeling to walk across that stage in front of a conference full of dedicated advocates and farmers and accept these awards on behalf of the Delaware Farm Bureau. Delaware may be small, but we have a lot of positive energy in our staff and volunteers. Receiving the Pinnacle Award really speaks to that energy and what we can accomplish when we work together,” Powers said.

The New Horizon Award was presented to Powers on behalf of the


Risk Management Conference to be held in March

YF&R members head to national conference

Internship applications now accepted

Safety for farmers, public a priority for DEFB

Farmers find new use for leftover produce

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Vol. 31, No. 3 March/April 2024
Delaware Farm Bureau 3457 S. Dupont Highway Camden, DE 19934
DEFB President Bill Powers accepts the New Horizon Award from AFBF President Zippy Duvall during the national convention in January.

From the President’s desk

80 years and counting for DEFB


State Board of Directors


William “Bill” Powers, Jr.

Possibly one of the coolest experiences as Delaware Farm Bureau’s (DEFB) president has been to walk across the stage at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s national convention to collect not one, not two, but three awards for the good work we’re doing here in the First State.

As I proudly walked across the stage each time, Zippy Duvall himself, president of our national organization, stood at the other end with a smile ready and happy to greet me as I accepted the awards on behalf of Delaware while the entire room cheered us on. What a great feeling that was to see them all acknowledging our members, volunteers and staff in that moment.

As a group, we do incredible work. We hold a lot of events throughout the year to educate our farmers and the public, as well as legislators and other changemakers. For example, two conferences are on the horizon for the DEFB - our second annual Risk Management Conference and our 7th annual Safety Conference, both to be

held in March.

The Foundation is gearing up for its annual Milk Run at Ramsey's Farm set for Saturday, May 18, as well. Since 2019, this event has raised funds for the Foundation, Food Bank of Delaware's backpack program and the Ministry of Caring’s Milk for Children Fund.

The Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee (YF&R) is also getting ready for its annual fundraiser - the annual Strawberry Festival held at Bobola Farms & Florist in Dover. This event will take place in May.

As an organization, we benefit from these opportunities to share our work. We also have the chance to connect directly with our changemakers — these are unique opportunities we have here in Delaware because we are a smaller state. We do this through DEFB events like our upcoming legislative breakfasts or a legislative lunch typically held a little later in the legislative season.

These are the kinds of outreach opportunities that landed the DEFB with multiple awards this year and we did that with the support and help of our members. Through your support, we are able to reach out to new partners every year and provide new opportunities to our members.

Recently, we held a presentation at Delaware Ag Week about rural road safety which has always been an important topic for the DEFB. This time, however, we were able to collaborate with the Office of Highway Safety and the Delaware Association of Chiefs of Police to help drive the points home.

I’m also really excited to see 16 of our YF&R Committee members headed to a national leadership conference of their own this March. They are Farm Bureau’s future; we need their innovative leadership to help guide our organization for the next generation of industry leaders. Just like the AFBF’s national convention, these individuals from Delaware will have the chance to learn and network from peers and other professionals from across the country. It’s an invaluable experience for all involved.

Rivaling all of that excitement is the fact that the Delaware Farm Bureau is coming up on its 80th year and we’re still going strong. Our work and your membership continues to be needed. I wonder if our founders 80 years ago had any idea where we would be in 2024 and how hard we would continue to advocate for agriculture. They were visionaries in their time, knowing they needed an organization that could support the needs of their industry then and in the future.

There have been many differences over the years, but the focus has remained the same - advocating for farmers and educating the public. We have an excellent team doing just that from our staff to our volunteers to our members who participate in events throughout the year. Please consider sharing the work of the Delaware Farm Bureau with your neighbors and friends so we can make a splash in our 80th year.

1st Vice President

Steve Breeding

2nd Vice President

Paul Cartanza, Sr

County Presidents

Kent: James Minner

Sussex: Steve Breeding

New Castle: Stewart Ramsey

Young Farmers & Ranchers

State Chair: Mollie Lynch

Kent Chair: Michael Lynch

Sussex Chair: Connor Vincent

New Castle Chair: Alex Keenan

Women’s Committee

State Chair: Mary B Gooden

Kent Chair: Rebecca Bobola

Sussex Chair: Constance Fox

New Castle Chair: June Unruh

Kent County Directors

Bruce Dempsey

Ted Bobola Jr.

John Comegys

Sussex County Directors

Alan Bailey

Laura Brittingham

Cory Atkins

New Castle County Directors

Bruce Patrick

Dave Daniels

Ryan Greer


2 Delaware Farm Bureau News, March/April 2024
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Farm Bureau News (ISSN 10770798), published in Camden, DE, bimonthly, by Delaware Farm Bureau. Production by Delaware Printing Company. Periodicals postage paid at Camden, DE and additional offices. Business and Editorial Offices: 3457 S. DuPont Highway, Camden, DE 19934, 302-697-3183.
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Farm Bureau President Bill Powers
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DEFB legislative advocacy is a year-round job

The 152nd Delaware General Assembly is in the second year of its two-year term. Delaware Farm Bureau stays engaged with the 21 State Senators and 41 State Representatives when they are in session from January – June, but we also stay in touch with them year-round.

As this is being written, the General Assembly is headed back in session for the month of March following weeks of Joint Finance Committee hearings reviewing Governor Carney’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2025.

During the first half of March, many of the state and county government elected officials will join us for each county Farm Bureau’s annual Legislative Breakfast. County presidents and board members will interact directly with attending officials about Farm Bureau priorities and concerns. In some cases, we may have specific bills to discuss or bills that are on the horizon or in the drafting stage.

This setting provides an opportunity for a healthy exchange of views and ideas. The elected officials appreciate the opportunity to hear directly from farmers who get to ask questions and express their views.

DEFB also has a Legislative


DEFB in recognition for the organization’s annual Safety Conference which is now in its seventh year. The award honors the “most innovative new state Farm Bureau program,” according to AFBF. The Safety Conference, which is organized by the Delaware Farm Bureau Promotion and Education Committee, in partnership with Nationwide, is a oneday event held in March focused on promoting agricultural safety practices.

This year’s conference will be held Wednesday, March 20 at Loblolly Acres. More information on registration and/or sponsorship is available online at

The Awards of Excellence was also presented to the DEFB honoring outstanding achievements in one of four categories: Advocacy, Coalitions & Partnerships, Engagement & Outreach or Leadership & Business Development. The DEFB was honored with this award for all four categories, highlighting events

Committee which currently consists of 20 members who review and comment on relevant pending legislation as bills are filed. As executive director, I have the responsibility of representing DEFB on legislative issues. I value the input received from Legislative Committee members as it makes the positions we communicate have greater resonance.

Issues currently being considered by the committee include:

• HB249 which would authorize DNREC fee increases for various permits. While there may be some merit to the argument that many DNREC fees, which have not been revised since 1991, need updating, DEFB will oppose the bill as currently written due to proposed fees for above ground storage tanks and a proposed per-gallon fee for irrigation water allocations, among other provisions.

• HB220 which is still lurking among the pending bills. This act proposes an amendment to Article I of the Delaware Constitution relating to protecting Delaware's natural resources, otherwise known as the “Green Amendment.” We have researched this initiative and the effects of similar constitutional provisions in other

such as the organization’s legislative meals, public outreach efforts like its partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture and Delaware’s Department of Agriculture to promote specialty crops grown in Delaware, and membership outreach programs such as its first statewide Farm Bureau picnic for members which was held in 2022.

“We work hard to fulfill our mission of promoting and protecting Delaware agriculture. We’re grateful that AFBF took the time to recognize us for the work we do here in Delaware. As a lifetime farmer, I know how important it is to be a part of a group of people who are just as dedicated as I am to furthering not only our industry, but our families, too. The Farm Bureau does that very well. It’s an honor to see those efforts recognized with these awards from AFBF,” DEFB Executive Director Don Clifton said.

For more about awards presented during the AFBF’s 2024 annual convention, please visit

states. DEFB is vehemently opposed to HB220 because it will inevitably result in litigation adversely affecting Delaware agriculture across many, if not all, ag sectors. DEFB has submitted oral and written testimony to this effect in each of the last two sessions.

• A bill introduced in June 2023 to establish minimum riparian buffer areas, although it is not likely to be pursued. DEFB is opposed to the bill and has effectively communicated the faults contained in it. The word is it will not move forward.

• A bipartisan discussion about the drafting of a bill to permit the sale of raw milk in Delaware. More than one model for this may come about. The issue will come before the DEFB State Board soon.

• HB87 which would establish the Delaware Agricultural Production Insurance Assistance Program. This bill is particularly timely after hearing expectations of falling net farm incomes in 2024.The effect of this bill will be the re-establishment of state cost

share of crop insurance premiums of up to 30 percent of a producer’s invoiced premiums up to $10 per acre.

• A potential bill to exempt farm structures from school tax assessments, thanks to a meeting DEFB held with Governor John Carney. The governor asked for data on the effect of such an exemption, and we are working on gathering the information.

Several senators are anxious to pursue changes in the DNREC Deer Management Program due to the chronic problem of crop losses caused by deer. A “summit” meeting is likely to be held during March to address this. DEFB has strongly encouraged drafting legislation before June 1.

In November 2023, DEFB held a Legislative Workshop at Legislative Hall in Dover. DEFB members filled the House chamber and engaged the leadership of the House and Senate in discussions including a range of agricultural issues. A very healthy exchange was the result. Feedback received from members and the legislators was very positive. DEFB will plan another workshop for November 2024. Stay tuned for details.

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Delaware’s Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee headed to national conference

Sixteen Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee members from the Delaware Farm Bureau will be traveling to Omaha, NE, this March for a unique leadership conference experience.

The annual Young Farmers & Ranchers Leadership Conference will run March 8-11 and features learning, networking and advocacy opportunities along with local trips and other activities.

Attendees from Delaware will include Mollie and Michael Lynch of Houston with their baby Eleanor, Abel Elwell of Middletown, Casey and Adam Collier of Harrington, Jordan Betts of Milton, Will and Ariel Powers of Townsend, Nathan Thompson of Hartly, JT Robbins of Harrington, Paul William Saathoff of Denton, Connor Vincent of Laurel, Hannah O’Hara of Milford, Alex and Kourtney Keenan of Smyrna, and AJ Alexander of Felton.

The group will explore topics such as networking, farming, grassroots management, and advocacy needs among other hot topics.

“This is a very important conference for younger professionals like me,” Connor Vincent said. “Everyone in our YF&R is very eager to learn and I think that’s only going to push each of us to excel. We all come to Delaware YF&R with different backgrounds and I’m sure we’re not all going to pick the same speakers so we’ll be able to share what we’ve learned when we come back together. It’s going to be a good time. Us being so diverse will make it so fun.”

This will be Vincent’s first YF&R Leadership Conference experience, but it’s not her first time traveling as she’s attended conferences in the past through youth organizations.

“Nebraska is one of the states I haven’t been to yet so I’m excited because it’s different. I wanted to go because everyone last year was raving about it when they came back. They were talking about how they were networking with other people from other states and

to me, that’s very important. In our industry, it’s really important to network with people from across the country to give us a broader view and to share our work with the rest of the country. Diversifying allows us to be better leaders for the YF&R and in our businesses. I also think it’s going to be a good time for us to grow bonds

with each other in the YF&R,” Vincent said.

Speakers during the event will include American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall and best selling author and award-winning journalist Dr. Rick Rigsby. Attendees will also have the chance to tour local facilities like a winery or aquarium to ex-

plore and have fun, or diversify their agricultural knowledge, to name just a couple of experiences waiting for conference attendees. For more about the Delaware Farm Bureau, visit or call the state office at 302-6973183 to inquire about sponsoring the YF&R Committee’s upcoming conference travels.

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Applications now accepted for Delaware Farm Bureau's summer internship program

The Delaware Farm Bureau (DEFB) is now accepting applications for its summer internship program. College students who are ready for unique but practical and hands-on experiences are encouraged to apply through March 29.

“I think the internship was super helpful at making connections in the ag and farming industry. It also helped me with my public speaking and teaching abilities by making me a more confident speaker,” Audrey Hastings of Dover said of her internship experience last year.

As an intern, Hastings worked on redesigning the Delaware Farm Bureau Foundation’s Mobile Ag Lab and revamped lessons taught to young visitors throughout the year. She also helped around the office and collaborated with the other intern to visit farm stands which were then promoted via social media. She is now a junior at Delaware Valley University studying conservation and wildlife management.

In past years, interns have helped advance the organization’s digital presence, promote the DEFB Foundation’s Book Barn campaign, advocate for farmers and ranchers by using modern technology, craft digital designs and content, run the Foundation’s Mobile Ag Lab programming, and much more.

Jaiden Cain of Harrington, an in-

tern in 2022, said her experiences with the Farm Bureau positively impacted her even beyond her educational career – she recently rejoined the staff as the membership and outreach coordinator.

“This internship solidified my decision that I want to pursue a career in agricultural marketing/communications,” she previously told DEFB. Marketing Coordinator and Assistant Executive Director Mikayla Paul added, “They really have been

an integral part of our operation. Our interns bring fresh ideas and a unique and relevant understanding of modern technology that helps drive us forward. Interns really get to experience a lot of different things throughout their summer with the Delaware Farm Bureau. They are very important to the work we do here. We have a lot of fun, but we get a lot done, too. The right candidates will gain a lot of relevant and personalized experience during their

internship time.”

Prospective interns should be undergraduate students pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in the fields of marketing, business or agriculture. They should have extensive knowledge of digital media strategies and platforms and a proficiency in Microsoft applications. Photography and videography skills are helpful. Applications are due March 29 and can be found online at https://

Delaware Farm Bureau News, March/April 2024 5

Annual Safety Conference to feature innovative fire, road safety techniques and pesticide credit

Large equipment, loud noises and fire risks are among some of the top safety concerns farmers face daily in their agricultural operations.

All of these topics and more will be brought to light at the Delaware Farm Bureau’s 7th annual Safety Conference, hosted by its Promotion & Education Committee in partnership with Nationwide and the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension. This free event will be held Wednesday, March 20 at Loblolly Acres in Viola from 9-2 p.m.

The conference features speakers throughout the day on a variety of topics and includes free lunch and refreshments for attendees. Some presentations during the Safety Conference will include:

• Todd McMullen from Great Hearing Benefits, a member benefit for DEFB members, who will offer a presentation on Hearing Loss and Protection.

• A presentation on Fire Realities Mitigating the Risk, Protecting Property & Lives Through Pre-Planning & Awareness by Chuck Thomp, director of customer relations and strategy for eFire USA, speaking to the realities of fire risks which are sometimes overlooked and the idea that there is “. . . never enough first protection.”

• Dr. Kerry Richards of the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension will round out the day with a presentation on pesticides to include a pesticide credit.

“This Safety Conference is important not only for the farmer, but for the general public, as well. With the population growing as it is in the state, it’s very important to keep that education going and with large machinery and more cars, trucks and everything on the road, we have to keep everybody safe,” June Unruh, Delaware Farm Bureau member and Safety Conference chair, said. She added that the conference is open to the public and has always brought in a mixed crowd.

“We’ve always had attendees who

weren’t farmers, but just generally interested in safety and that makes me feel good because those are the people who are out there wondering what they should be doing to keep themselves and their families safer,” she said. “I am very excited about this year’s Nationwide sponsored presentation because it’s about eFire extinguishing balls. It’s that newer, innovative information that we love to bring to the conference that maybe others haven’t

heard about yet. This is definitely an added benefit for our members, as well as the public.”

“We really want to make sure that everyone who can attend does attend and that this information is freely accessible. We need to keep safety at the forefront of what we do to protect ourselves, our families, our workers and our consumers,” Executive Director Don Clifton said. “It helps that this event is held at such a lovely location. We’re very grate-

ful to Loblolly Acres for allowing us to use their space. It’s always nice when we can celebrate our farms and farmers through our work.” Clifton will be among the list of speakers for the Safety Conference, presenting on Improving Road Safety for Farm Equipment along with Kent County Farm Bureau President Jim Minner.

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“As farmers, we get into the daily grind of the day and sometimes we miss crucial steps to keep ourselves safe. We really can’t let that happen.

Some of this machinery that we use could be deadly if we don’t take the right precautionary measures,” Clifton added.

The pair presented road safety information during Delaware Ag Week back in January along with Staples Insurance Commercial Sales and Service Associate Scott Allen and Matt Higgins, an environmental scientist with Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control’s Emergency Response Team.

The presentation was also organized in part by Delaware’s Office of Highway Safety and the Delaware Association of Chiefs of Police. The group covered tips and important topics related to road safety when it comes to larger farm equipment.

“It only takes seconds to have a deadly accident,” Minner said. “When you see the equipment on the road, reduce your speed because you can’t determine what they’re going to do right away. Slow down and assess what’s around you. Use very good judgment about what’s

going on around you.”

“I had a bad experience while on the road once, too. Back before I had cab tractors, I was driving just the tractor itself with no equipment behind it. It was in the Norman G Wilder Wildlife area, Firetower road in Canterbury Rd., back in the S-curves. I saw a driver texting that was drifting. When he got about 300 feet away, I started standing up in the tractor, getting ready to jump out. When he was about 50 feet away, I was about ready to bail off because he was fully in my lane headed straight for me. My brain was saying ‘impact imminent.’ I was getting ready to just jump into the ditch and let him just crash into it. It’s amazing how fast you can assess things when you get in that situation,” Minner recalled. “I was ready to jump when he saw me and swerved. He just about got himself killed because he was just being careless, wreckless.”

Minner, whose career before farming was with the Department of Transportation, spoke of his concerns regarding safety on the roads during the farm equipment and road safety presentation at Ag Week, emphasizing the need for farmers to go above and beyond minimum safety requirements to

keep themselves, their operations and the general public safe.

“The lighting was the big thing –the availability of the lighting that you can use, brightness, efficacy. . . it’s going to get somebody’s attention and it does. It works,” he explained, adding that although the cost of additional lighting for farm equipment can be expensive, the cost of an accident could be more, or worse.

Allen said these kinds of accidents are preventable when the farmer and the public take the time to keep safety in mind.

“As an agent, I want to make sure our farmers are doing the best they can to protect themselves, employees and the community. A farm vehicle accident can be devastating, both physically and financially. Insurance rates are rising in general, without unnecessary claims. One mistake can affect you financially for years,” he said. “Accidents with farm equipment are rarely minute. The losses can be catastrophic to lives and equipment. The public is putting their lives in jeopardy when they do not drive cautiously on rural roads.”

The increased speed, combined with a lack of patience and road safety awareness in all parties in-

volved, is when accidents tend to get worse, the group explained during the presentation.

Some things may help eliminate potential accidents like hazard lighting on farm equipment and the use of lead and trailing vehicles when transporting farm equipment on public roads. Delaware does require hazard lighting by law, including height requirements, magnetic lights and strobe patterns for visibility. The group of presenters emphasized that going “overboard” with the warning lights and other safety measures is not a bad thing.

The general public can also keep safety in mind by reducing speeds on rural roads, being more mindful of their fellow drivers and being aware of their surroundings.

“We are in an environment right now where insurance companies are actively dropping people from coverage more frequently. An unnecessary accident due to aggression, unnecessary speed, carelessness or distraction (texting), can mean your rates will go up significantly, or you lose your coverage, or worse,” Allen said.

For more information or to register for the 7th annual Safety Conference, please visit or call 302-697-3183.

Delaware Farm Bureau News, March/April 2024 7
Minner speaks to the crowd about how farmers can improve rural road safety outcomes by making a few changes to their equipment. Kent County Farm Bureau President Jim Minner shows off safety lighting at Delaware Ag Week in Harrington in January.

P&E Column: Rural road safety continues to be concern for Delaware Farm Bureau

"Rural Road Safety " awareness education is a lifetime challenge. Since the awareness campaign began in 2016, the Delaware Farm Bureau has promoted this very important safety initiative in many ways from students on up through driving adults.

There is one group, however, I think, that needs to be addressed and that is our children/ grandchildren.

We, as parents/grandparents need to start now by teaching them about Road Signs. Make it a game identifying the different signs and it will help spark their interest. This can be the beginning of their road safety education.

Talk about the signs and explain what they mean. They can then help you apply those “SMV” signs to your farm equipment. They’ll never forget doing that and will always remember the experience.

If they belong to a 4-H club, you could be a

volunteer speaker at one of their meetings to teach them about Rural Road Safety.

For our high school students, the Driver Education Class could visit a farm machinery business and have a chance to walk around the farming equipment and see just “How Big” some of the farming equipment really is. To read about it in a textbook is one thing, but to see it up close really resonates with you.

Another scenario which needs attention for Rural Road Safety: As farmers, our children are anxious to begin helping out by learning how to drive the farm machinery on the farm. As they get older and start to participate, sometimes they are given the chance to drive that piece of machinery down the road to the next farm where it is needed.

The question is: Do they have the same knowledge that, you “The Farmer” has? Have they been taught or know about “Rural Road Safety?”

This definitely needs to be addressed before

they go out on the road! Rural Road Safety education will give them a better perspective and understanding of what to expect and how to handle any situation that they encounter.

I know when I’m driving and I see farm equipment on the road, I’m always looking and checking for SMV signs and checking to see if all flashing lights are working. Does the farmer have an escort while traveling down the road?

Sometimes, instead of trying to pass, I’ll just stay behind ,with my flashers flashing, until the farmer gets to where he is going.

We all need to do our part in this very important safety initiative! So volunteer, step up to do your part!You’ll never regret it!

By being a volunteer, your knowledge, dedication, and commitment strengthens you to present the topic to the best of your ability! So, do this for the children and for yourself!

For more on volunteer opportunities with the Delaware Farm Bureau, visit or call the state office at 302-697-3183.

8 Delaware Farm Bureau News, March/April 2024
Delaware Farm Bureau News, March/April 2024 9 THE BEST DEAL ON HEARING AIDS AND CARE Welcome Delaware Farm Bureau Members As a member of the Delaware Farm Bureau, you have access to the Great Hearing Benefits (GHB) program. GHB provides family members access to hearing care and hearing aids at discounted rates. © 2023 GN Hearing A/S. Great Hearing Benefits is a registered company owned by GN Hearing A/S. All rights reserved. 1 Deductible required. 2 Immediate family members include father, mother, husband, wife, son, daughter, brother, sister, grandfather, grandmother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and domestic partner and civil unions recognized under State law. Get up to 50% Off Prescriptive Hearing Aids Free 60-Day Hearing Aid Trial Share Your Benefits2 with up to 3 family members 3-Year Warranty and Service1 5,000+ Locations Nationwide Schedule Your Appointment Today (877) 680-7805 REFERRAL CODE : DEFBDNWI24 40% OFFonJab ioProducts Member SavingsUpTo

Congress to continue working on Farm Bill

While most bills viewed by Congress this session will focus on smaller niche topics or groups of people, the Farm Bill is a unique piece of legislation that is said to touch every American three times a day.

The programming funded through the Farm Bill might come as a surprise; here’s a hint: it’s not just about helping out the farmers and ranchers. Along with crop insurance measures and rules for conservation, research, forestry and other programs, this multifaceted piece of legislation also houses the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [SNAP] and rural development avenues.

Unfortunately for many, the 2018 Farm Bill expired last September before Congress could agree to new terms. It was, however, extended through 2024 to give Congress more time to address modern, post-pandemic needs. To help Congress make their choice moving forward, new baseline figures for USDA Mandatory Farm Programs and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will be made available in the spring by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

“These baseline figures are incredibly important in understanding the process. It is critical that Congress gives the Farm Bill a fair shake and updates some of the very outdated funding mechanisms available to farmers, researchers and the general public. Inflation has really hit everyone hard and leaving the Farm

Bill as it is does a disservice to all of those stakeholders,” Delaware Farm Bureau Executive Director Don Clifton said, adding that it will be important for Congress to remember that inflation has hit the country hard and updates will be necessary to sustain the industry.

According to an announcement made by the CBO in February 2024, mandatory farm programs and SNAP are projected to total $1.46 trillion over a 10-year window from fiscal years 2025 to 2034, down 3.9% or $59 billion from the CBO’s May 2023 10-year baseline of $1.51 trillion during fiscal years 2024 to 2033.

The CBO projected in its February update that of all funding made available through the Farm Bill,

about 79% of that will go toward nutrition programs like SNAP. The USDA further projects that the remaining funding will be distributed as follows:

About 8.5% for crop insurance,

About 4% for commodities and conservation each,

About 2.4% for the inflation reduction act,

About 1% for the discretionary use of the commodity credit corporation, and

About .3% each for trade and the category containing horticulture programming, research, energy and miscellaneous needs.

House Ag Committee Chairman

Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson spoke to the House Ag Committee Wednesday, Feb. 14, about

the importance of not only passing a timely Farm Bill, but also including various measures for the safety of farmers and citizens.

“These men and women have struggled with fractured supply chains, considerable input costs, relentless inflation, natural disasters, volatile markets and labor shortages, each consistently worsened by ill conceived, half-baked executive action,” he explained during the hearing. “Congress can and must craft a bipartisan farm bill that aligns the farm safety net with the needs of the producers, expands market access and trade promotion opportunities, strengthens program operations to demand transparency and accountability to the taxpayers.”

Stay up-to-date at

10 Delaware Farm Bureau News, March/April 2024

Farmers find new use for leftover produce

Farmers with leftover produce or “seconds” in Delmarva now have another option for use thanks to the Society of St. Andrew, the largest gleaning agency in the country.

Hoping to end hunger one field at a time, the mission seems simple: “The Society of St. Andrew brings people together to harvest and share healthy food, reduce food waste, and build caring communities by offering nourishment to hungry neighbors.”

In reality, it takes farmers and community members working together to accomplish the goal of ending hunger. In Delmarva in 2023, the organization gleaned and distributed 1,252,792 pounds of food through December. According to the website, they engaged 90 recipient agencies and partners throughout the year, along with 372 volunteers. The Society of St. Andrew held 158 events to rescue and share food and shared 5,011,168 servings of fresh food thanks to everyone’s collective efforts.

Delmarva Program Coordinator Brenda Mahan takes this mission personally and travels all over the Delmarva peninsula to ensure the organization reaches its goals.

For Mahan, she said it’s about “. . .the feeling you get being able to distribute food. It’s really an awesome feeling.”

The organization is now expanding its operations in the Delmarva area by searching for volunteers, partnering organizations and participating farmers.

“My job is to make those connections,” Mahan said. “Normally, when a farmer calls, we can be there within 24 hours to take care of the need and glean from the farm. Once we get there, we weigh everything we glean so farmers can use it for tax purposes. Everything we harvest goes directly to charities and people in need of food. If you’ll let us in your field, we want everything, even the ugly stuff.”

Kent County Farm Bureau President Jim Minner and Vice President David Marvel have both offered produce from their farms and helped Mahan connect with other farmers in the area.

“Gleaning is traditionally going to the fields and picking up what’s leftover or picking up what’s leftover that isn’t being used. Some groups have tried gleaning in the past but were never successful because it takes a lot of labor and organization. I thought it was intriguing that Brenda has been so successful in her work,” Marvel said. “The good thing about it is that the food doesn’t go to waste. I was able to start shifting watermelons and other produce around with her help. It’s similar to food bank programs, but it’s more about picking up even small amounts that some people think are insignificant. They’ll pick it all up, even seconds.”

Marvel said he was impressed with the networking Mahan and her team does for the Society of St. Andrew, a needed component for a successful gleaning organization.

“Those kinds of organizations rely on rela-

tionship building and Brenda has been tremendously good at that. They’re out there, willing to work and coordinate, even bringing in some of their partners to help with distribution,” Marvel explained. “They’re not trying to compete with the food banks or other organizations. They’re trying to help complete them. The only line they worry about is the hunger line.”

In the last year, Minner was also able to support the Society of St. Andrews by offering 760 lbs. of potatoes. The group also visited his farming operation in February to glean ¼ acre of turnips from his fields.

“When they came in and got those potatoes, they were immediately in food servers’ hands that day being produced for meals. I would say anybody that has excess produce should go through them,” Minner said.

Minner was first introduced to the nonprofit through Marvel. In kind, he then introduced the group to other farmers who have been able to support the mission.

“For example, a friend of mine in Woodside was throwing away excess stuff from his stand. This year, the Society of St. Andrew got 1,200 lbs. of produce from him instead. It wasn’t real-

ly stuff you could sell off the stand, but through the Society, it went straight to a local senior center and was consumed instantly as soon as it got there. It’s a great organization that’s providing a lot of food aid to local groups that provide meals to people who either just can’t afford it or don’t have access to it. And they’re readily willing to come and get anything you’ve got. As long as it’s good, they want it.”

Interested farmers and volunteers should visit for more information or to sign up for future opportunities. The Delmarva program can also be reached by emailing

Delaware Farm Bureau News, March/April 2024 11
The Society of St. Andrew visited Minner Farms in Felton recently to glean 1/4 acres, resulting in more than 400 pounds of turnips. From left to right: Kent County Farm Bureau President Jim Minner, Corlyn and Warren Descovich, Tom Hill and Brenda and Bill Mahan. In addition to serving the mission of the Society of St. Andrew, the Descovichs and Hill gleaned for St. Ann's Catholic Church in Bethany Beach where they support Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission Church pantry in Frankford. This was the Society's first gleaning opportunity for 2024. Bill Mahan helps glean turnips during a recent gleaning trip. Warren Descovich trims the stem of a turnip so it will stay fresh.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) announced the results of the 2022 Census of Agriculture, spanning more than 6 million data points about America’s farms and ranches and the people who operate them down to the county level. The information collected directly from producers shows a continued decline in the total number of U.S. farms. However, the data also show a rise in the number of new and beginning (operating 10 or fewer years on any farm) as well as young (under the age of 35) producers. The full Census of Agriculture report as well as publication dates for additional ag census data products can be found at nass.usda. gov/AgCensus. Ag census data can also be found in NASS’s searchable online database, Quick Stats.

“We are pleased to provide updated Census of Agriculture data to all those who serve U.S. agriculture, especially the producers who gave their time to complete the questionnaire. Census of Agriculture data tell a story. This comprehensive snapshot every five years helps data users to see trends and shifts in the industry over time and helps producers do business,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “Overall, though there are always changes across U.S. agriculture, the data remain largely consistent with the previous ag census. Data users will also notice some new data on the topics of hemp, precision agriculture, and internet access.”

Ag census data provide valuable insights into demographics, economics, land use and activities on U.S. farms and ranches such as:

• There were 1.9 million farms and ranches (down 7% from 2017) with an average size of 463 acres (up 5%) on 880 million acres of farmland (down 2%). That is 39% of all U.S. land.

• Family-owned and operated farms accounted for 95% of all U.S. farms and operated 84% of land in farms.

• U.S. farms and ranches produced $543 billion in agricultural products, up from $389 billion in 2017. With farm production expenses of $424 billion, U.S. farms had net cash income of $152 billion. Average farm income rose to $79,790. A total of 43% of farms had positive net cash farm income in 2022.

• Farms with internet access continued to rise from 75% in 2017 to 79% in 2022.

• A total of 153,101 farms and ranches used renewable energy producing systems compared to 133,176 farms in 2017, a 15% increase. The majority of farms (76%) with renewable energy systems reported using solar panels.

• In 2022, 116,617 farms sold directly to consumers, with sales of $3.3 billion. Value of sales increased 16% from 2017.

• The 105,384 farms with sales of $1 million or more were 6% of U.S. farms and 31% of farmland; they sold more than three-fourths of all agricultural products. The 1.4 million farms with sales of $50,000 or less accounted for 74% of farms, 25% of farmland, and 2% of sales.

• Nearly three-fourths of farmland was used by farms specializing in two commodity categories: oilseed and grain production (32%) and beef cattle production (40%).

• The average age of all producers was 58.1, up 0.6 years from 2017. This is a smaller increase than average age increases between prior censuses.

• There were just over 1 million farmers with 10 or fewer years of experience, an increase in the number of beginning farmers from 2017 of 11%. Beginning farmers are younger than all farmers, with an average age of 47.1.

• The number of producers under age 35 was 296,480, comprising 9% of all producers. The 221,233 farms with young producers making decisions tend to be larger than average in both acres and sales.

• In 2022, 1.2 million female producers accounted for 36% of all producers. Fifty-eight percent of all farms had at least one female decision maker.

The response rate for the 2022 Census of Agriculture was 61%; more than 40% of responses were submitted online. To address questions about the 2022 Census of Agriculture data, NASS will host a live X Stat Chat @usda_nass for the public on Wednesday, Feb. 14, at 1 p.m.

EST. Ag census data highlight publications are available at nass.usda. gov/Publications/Highlights.

12 Delaware Farm Bureau News, March/April 2024
2022 ag census data released

Celebrating National Ag Day one farm at a time

Farmers are growing a climate for tomorrow everyday from their operations across the globe. Celebrating National Ag Day on Tuesday, March 19, with the Agriculture Council of America (ACA) is one way to support local producers so they can continue doing what they do best - farming.

Delaware Farm Bureau Executive Director Don Clifton said Ag Day is a good reminder that farmers, like other business owners, need the support of their community to continue growing strong and vibrant operations while maintaining sustainable agricultural practices.

“Agriculture continues to be Delaware’s leading industry. It stays at the top because of dedicated farmers who learn about and adopt innovative practices to increase production while maintaining healthy soils. We take care of the land so the land can take care of all of us. Treating it right is one of our top priorities and to do that, we need to continue advocating for agriculture with the support of our consumers and those who are professionally engaged in the industry backing us up,” Clifton


In honor of National Ag Day, the ACA has planned virtual and in-person events in Washington DC for March 19. The organization has invited students from all over to interact virtually with legislators and agency representatives, delivering the Ag Day message. A core leadership team of college students will participate in the DC events, along with representatives of national farm and commodity organizations, representatives of the food, fuel, and fiber communities.

According to USDA Economic Research Service, more than 22 million full- and part-time jobs were related to the agricultural and food sector, or roughly 10 percent of all US employment. On-farm jobs represented about 2.6 million jobs, or a little over one percent of US employment. Take that a step further, agriculture- and food-related jobs totaled more than 19 million.

“More and more, students and individuals are finding careers in agriculture. The industry needs scientists, biologists, food safety technicians, livestock nutrition spe-

cialists, arborists, conservationists –one doesn’t have to be a farmer or have a direct on-farm job to be involved in the agriculture industry,” Jenny Pickett, ACA president said.

2024 National Ag Day marks the 51st year of the nationwide effort to share real stories of American agriculture, and remind citizens that agriculture affects everyone. “From the food we eat and the fuel for our vehicles, to the fiber in the clothes we wear, and the oil used to make kids’ crayons, agriculture touches everyone in some way,” Pickett added.

The National Ag Day program encourages every American to:

• Understand how food, fiber, and fuel products are produced.

• Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant, and affordable products.

• Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy.

• Acknowledge and consider careers in the agriculture, food and fiber industry.

In addition to the events on March 19, the ACA will offer the Ag Day Essay Contest. Interested students would create video essays on the topic of Agriculture in the Future: If I had two minutes to talk to a farmer.” The winning video essay will be presented on National Ag Day.

For more information on the National Ag Day effort, visit or contact Pickett directly at to discuss sponsorship opportunities, or with any additional questions.

Locally, the DEFB's Promotion & Education Committee plans to celebrate Ag Day by hosting a legislative luncheon at Legislative Hall in Dover on March 19.

This event offers legislators and their staff another chance to interact with DEFB, talk about upcoming legislation, ask questions and learn more about Delaware's top industry. Students involved in 4-H and FFA will also be onsite to engage changemakers in powerful conversations.

To get involved with the DEFB, visit or reach out to the state office at 302-697-3183.

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Grain bin risk increasing: Safety program provides crucial rescue tools

The following information is provided by Nationwide®, the #1 farm and ranch insurer in the U.S.*

On Jan. 1, 2024, an individual became engulfed in a grain bin in Indiana. Three days later, two more individuals were trapped in Arkansas. These cases highlight growing numbers of grain entrapment cases across the nation, up nearly 45% since 2021. In both cases, local first responders promptly began their rescue operations, using specialized equipment and training they received through Nationwide’s Grain Bin Safety program to successfully rescue all three victims. To help raise awareness of these dangers and prevent tragic accidents in grain structures, Nationwide has opened its 11th annual Nominate Your Fire Department Contest in recognition of Grain Bin Safety Week.

Startling Facts: Injuries & Fatalities from grain bins*

• In 2022, at least 42 grain entrapments were reported, the highest number of entrapments in a decade (a 44.8% increase from 2021). There were 15 fatalities.

• In four seconds, an adult can sink knee-deep in flowing grain and be rendered unable to free themselves without assistance. In just 20 seconds, an adult can be fully engulfed.

• Suffocation from engulfment or oxygen-deficient atmospheres is the leading cause of death in grain accidents.

• More than 300 grain entrapments have been recorded in the past decade. It’s estimated an additional 30% of cases go unreported.

“Grain bins pose very serious dangers to workers as entrapments can escalate quickly and are life threatening if proper safety procedures aren’t followed when working in or around them,” said Brad Liggett, president of Agribusi-

ness at Nationwide. “For over a decade, Nationwide has been a leader in the fight to correct this industry issue, and while we’re incredibly proud of the efforts and the many partners who’ve made them possible, there is more work to be done.”

Grain Bin Safety Week continues to make an impact: February 18-24, 2024

Nationwide initiated its annual Grain Bin Safety campaign in 2014 to raise awareness of the dangers of working in grain bins and promote a zero-entry mentality. Grain Bin Safety Week, which takes place Feb. 18-24, 2024, brings a national spotlight to the issue each year.

A key component of Grain Bin Safety Week is the annual Nominate Your Fire Department Contest, which aims to supply fire departments across rural America with the specialized rescue training and equipment needed to respond if an entrapment occurs.

The Nominate Your Fire Department Contest is now open until April 30, 2024. Learn how to nominate your local fire department here:

Since 2014, Nationwide and partners have awarded 332 grain rescue tubes to first responders across 32 states – eclipsing over $1 million in resources provided. At least ten successful rescues have utilized these resources, including the recent rescues in Arkansas and Indiana.

Nationwide collaborates each year with the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) to deliver the rescue equipment and provide safety training.

“Time is of the essence when responding to these accidents and rural fire departments are often the only line of defense when an entrapment takes place in their region,” said Dan Neenan, director at NECAS. “It’s critically import-

ant to ensure these first responders not only have the specialized rescue equipment, but also the training needed to respond effectively. NECAS is proud to join Nationwide and its partners to make a difference.”

For more information about the program, nomination process or how you can get involved, visit

Grain Bin Safety Week is made possible by the following generous partners:

KC Supply


Indiana Corn Marketing

Maryland Grain Producers

Horizon Farm Credit

Specialty Risk Insurance

Lutz Agency

Delaware Soybean Board

Maryland Soybean Board


ProValue Insurance

Valley View Agri-Systems



Delaware Farm Bureau GROWMARK

Gregerson Salvage

West Side Salvage

Kelly Jones Agency

Eclipse Insurance Agency, LLC

Ohio Farm Bureau

New York Farm Bureau

Maryland Farm Bureau

Pennsylvania Farm Bureau Assured Partners

Gallagher Sump Saver

NOHR Wortmann Engineering


About Nationwide

Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest

diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the United States. Nationwide is rated A+ by Standard & Poor’s. An industry leader in driving customer-focused innovation, Nationwide provides a full range of insurance and financial services products including auto, business, homeowners, farm and life insurance; public and private sector retirement plans, annuities and mutual funds; excess & surplus, specialty and surety; and pet, motorcycle and boat insurance.

For more information, visit

Subscribe today at https://news. to receive the latest news from Nationwide and follow Nationwide PR on X.

All cash contributions help purchase grain bin tubes and/or training. All donations are managed through the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS), a 501(c)(3) non-profit.

For official rules, visit

“FARM BUREAU” and the Farm Bureau mark are registered service marks of the American Farm Bureau Federation and used under license by Nationwide.

Nationwide, Nationwide is on your side and the Nationwide N and Eagle are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2024

* Sources: Summary of U.S. Agricultural Confined Space-Related Injuries and Fatalities; Purdue University

14 Delaware Farm Bureau News,March/April 2024
Delaware Farm Bureau News, March/April 2024 15
Protect your next Whether you’re focused on business success, family security or community prosperity, Nationwide® can help you constantly evolve to ensure a bright future. Nationwide and the Nationwide N and Eagle are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. The Farm Bureau, FB and the FB National logo are trademarks of the American Farm Bureau Federation and are used with permission under license by Nationwide. © 2021 Nationwide AFC-0315DE.1 (12/21) To learn more, visit 16 Delaware Farm Bureau News, March/April 2024
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