Delaware Farm Bureau News Nov./Dec. 2023

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Vol. 31, No. 1


November/December 2023

Farm Bureau News Celebrating 79 Years!

Local Farmers Feeding Your Family

Participants in the 3rd annual Lace Up for Ag Literacy 5k start their journey around Hopkins Creamery in Lewes Saturday, Oct. 21.

Runners Up: Lace up for Ag Literacy 5k held

By Jennifer Antonik Delaware Farm Bureau More than $10,000 was raised in October at the Delaware Farm Bureau Foundation's 3rd annual Lace Up for Ag Literacy 5k held at Hopkins Farm Creamery in Lewes. Three friendly cows greeted walkers and runners Saturday morning, Oct. 21, at the agritourism location as they found their way to the registration table around 8 a.m.

The event benefits the Delaware Farm Bureau Foundation which works to promote ag literacy across the state for consumers of all ages. The Foundation also operates its Mobile Ag Lab year round, bringing information to the fingertips of students across the state. "This fundraising event is really important to the Foundation because it helps us raise funds so we can continue our mission of education and advocacy in Delaware," DEFB Foundation

Board of Directors member Laura Hill said. The Foundation's next fundraising event will be the annual Milk Run typically held in May and benefits the Foundation, the Food Bank of Delaware's Backpack Program and the Ministry of Caring's Milk for Children Fund. For more information on the Delaware Farm Bureau Foundation, visit


In this issue

Delaware Farm Bureau 3457 S. Dupont Highway Camden, DE 19934

Unraveling the Farm Bill debate ............................................................ Page 2 Registration open for AFBF Convention .............................................. Page 3 County Farm Bureaus award top ag honors ....................................... Page 4 Legislative Day to feature speakers, tours ........................................... Page 6 Sponsor a Wreath through the Women's Committee ..................... Page 7 Carper holds roundtable with farmers ................................................ Page 11


From the President ’s desk

Delaware Farm Bureau News, November/December 2023

Unraveling the Farm Bill debate The Farm Bill is a multi-faceted ball of wax that can be very overwhelming for the average American. It is riddled with complexities involving national nutrition code, crop insurance needs for American farmers, research funding and safety information regarding food, pesti- Delaware Farm Bureau cides and more. President Bill Powers It’s a lot to unravel, but the good news is you have advocates on your side within the Farm Bureau who have been following this debate all along. We have to watch it closely because this isn’t just our livelihoods at stake, it’s yours, too, and it involves the health of our communities all across the country. Without the protections made available through the Farm Bill, food scarcity would become an even larger issue than it is now and farming would become impossible for many in this difficult economy. We can’t let that happen. Your membership to the Farm Bureau helps us stay connected at the state and national levels so we can have these conversations and work toward better solutions. I’m proud to say that we have the chance to work with our state legislators and the American Farm Bureau Federation to keep them abreast of farmDelaware Farm Bureau News

Editor Jennifer Antonik 302-697-3183

ing in Delaware. Those conversations really do go a long way and our membership works to make our voice louder. The 2018 Farm Bill, the most recent Farm Bill enacted into law, expired Sept. 30, 2023. The truth of the matter is that legislators in Washington, D.C. have to focus on the federal budget before continuing to work on the Farm Bill. In the short-term, we may not see many drastic effects of this failure to renew and/or update the Farm Bill. The bigger concern, of course, is the long-term effects to farmers and food scarcity nationwide, among other issues covered in this legislation. It’s important to remember that while it can be frustrating that the Farm Bill hasn’t been renewed and/ or updated, the federal budget does play a significant role in the process as it works to fund many of the mechanisms in play. It is just as crucial that legislators work out the weeds of the federal budget as it is for them to figure out the Farm Bill situation. In September, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del) visited the Delaware Farm Bureau’s state office

in Camden to hold an agricultural roundtable. He listened to our concerns and invited members of the media so we could share our thoughts more widely. Steve Breeding, our Sussex County Farm Bureau president, also had the chance to attend a similar roundtable with watermen in Lewes focused on aquaculture so we could learn more about their farming needs, as well, both in general and as they relate to the Farm Bill. The more we learn, the better we can advocate for our membership and industry; and the more we are supported by our membership and industry, the more we can learn. It’s important that we work together to advance our needs. In my eyes, advocacy and teamwork created through the Farm Bureau are some of the most important benefits of membership. It’s an honor to have the opportunity to sit around these tables and have these discussions knowing our membership supports us in the background. If you would like to know more about how to get involved with the Delaware Farm Bureau, please call the state office at 302-697-3183 and ask about volunteering.

Correction Scholarship awardees for 2023 were announced in the previous issue of the Delaware Farm Bureau News, however Lauren Hudson's photo was not included in the artcle. The Delaware Farm Bureau is happy to celebrate with Lauren Hudson for her accomplishments, as well! Congratulations to all of the scholarship awardees for 2023!

2022-2023 State Board of Directors President William “Bill” Powers, Jr. 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: Abel Elwell 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 Will Powers, III Ryan Greer

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Delaware Farm Bureau News, November/December 2023

Registration opens for annual AFBF convention

The American Farm Bureau Federation announced the opening of general registration for the 2024 American Farm Bureau Convention. The convention will be held Jan. 19-24 in Salt Lake City, Utah. “New Frontiers” is the theme of AFBF’s 105th consecutive convention, a “can’t miss” event that offers attendees unique insights on the policies and perspectives that will affect farms, ranches and agribusinesses in 2024 and beyond. “This is your opportunity to join the Farm Bureau family as we explore new frontiers in agriculture, develop professional skills and help set the agenda in Washington,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “I look forward to seeing you in January in Salt Lake City as we gather together with a common purpose to kick off another year of feeding, clothing and fueling our great nation.” A broad array of educational and inspiring workshops will be available to attendees interested in honing their leadership skills, expanding business proficiency and gleaning insights from industry visionaries with expertise in food production-related policies and trends. A vibrant trade show with exhibitors showcasing cutting edge innovations in agricultural technology, tools and services is also sure to capture the attention of attendees. Workshops will be offered in four tracks – public policy, rural development, member engagement and consumer engagement. Workshop topics include Farm Bill Update; Who’s Up Next? A 2024 Elections Analysis; Livestock Markets; Crop Markets; Dairy Market Issues; As Seen on Social Media: Farm to Fork in Action; and The Next Big Thing in Growing Farm Bureau Membership. Numerous optional ag and food-related day tours are available for attendees who wish to explore the great state of Utah. These

include touring the Utah State University Animal Science Farm, a brine shrimp cooperative, elk farm and an artisan cheese plant. Attendees can also sign up to visit a chocolate factory, see where the 2002 Olympic Games took place, visit a salt mine or learn about lavender farming. Details about additional tours will be posted when available. Members may register for Convention and tour by calling the Delaware Farm Bureau at 302697-3183. Non-members can visit the official event website through the AFBF at Connect with other Farm Bureau members by using the official event hashtag: #AFBF24.



Delaware Farm Bureau News, November/December 2023

County Farm Bureaus award top ag honors By Jennifer Antonik Delaware Farm Bureau

Every year, the three county Farm Bureau's in Delaware honor top agriculture professionals and farm families for their service to the industry. The honorees then move on to vie for statewide recognition. This year, two counties also added a new award honoring young farmers and their contributions to farming in the First State. The following individuals and families have been honored recently: Gary Rhodes Kent County Distinguished Service to Agriculture Gary Rhodes has a lifetime of farming and related experiences under his belt. In honor of his dedication to the industry and his fellow farmers, the Kent County Farm Bureau awarded him with the Distinguished Service to Agriculture award Monday night during its annual banquet. Rhodes was born and raised on the oldest purebred Guernsey dairy farm in the state of Virginia, according to Kent County Board Vice President Dave Marvel. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Dairy Science from Virginia Tech and started a career working at Southern States. To this day, Rhodes has worked at six Southern States locations, including Christiansburg in Virginia and Sudlersville and Easton in Maryland. He moved to Delaware in 1980 and also worked at the Middletown, Bridgeville and Milford locations. In 2009, Rhodes was named Manager of the Year for Southern States Cooperative, an achievement he claims to be his proudest moment. He has been heard saying, “It gives me great pleasure to work in an industry that feeds the world.” Jackie King Sussex County Distinguished Service to Agriculture Jackie King of King Crop Insurance in Georgetown was awarded as this year’s Sussex County Distinguished Service to Agriculture honoree. She has proven her dedication to agriculture and the Delaware Farm Bureau over the years and continued to learn through family members, neighbors and agricultural leaders.

Gary Rhodes displays his Kent County Distinguished Service to Agriculture award during the banquet in Felton.

Jackie King of King Crop Insurance was honored with the Distinguished Service to Agriculture award for Sussex County this year.

After growing up on a family farm in Laurel and graduating with a degree in Agribusiness Management from the University of Delaware, she wanted to get into the crop insurance business with her mother who had run a crop insurance business since 1967. But she had to learn more about agribusiness before jumping into the family business. Over the years, she had many mentors that helped guide her and shape her future experiences like her high school ag teacher Willis Kirk and then-extension agent Ed Kee at the Georgetown Research Farm. She also gained experience by working as a crop insurance agent recruiter, a processor at the Winston-Salem, North Carolina, regional office and a loss adjuster in the Northeast. Finally, with her mother’s full support, she joined King Crop Insurance, Inc. in 1987. Thirty-six years later, she is still advocating for farmers on Delmarva and is an active member and volunteer with the Delaware Farm Bureau. King received the 1988 Outstanding Service Award from the Nation-

al Association of Crop Insurance Agents (NACIA), the Delaware Farm Bureau Distinguished Service to Agriculture in 2000, Appreciation Award from RCIS for service on the National Agents Advisory Council, and countless Outstanding Achievement Awards from RCIS, just to name a few. Her involvement in agriculture does not stop at her work. She supports the Delaware FFA and 4-H organizations, and currently serves on both the DEFB Foundation Board of Directors and the DEFB Promotion and Education Committee In the past, she has been instrumental in assisting in the success of several agricultural promotion ventures including parade floats and exhibiting at Farm & Family Field Day. She spent numerous years as the secretary and treasurer for the Sussex County Farm Bureau, as well. King says she is proud to be an advocate for farmers so farming can remain profitable while making food affordable and safe. Being involved in the Delaware agricultural com-

munity is a lifestyle and it’s the people that make everyday worth it, she adds. Recently, King and her sisters have created the King Foundation of Sussex. This project captures audio and video stories of legacies in Sussex County farms to share the farming story with the public. Along with her husband, Kevin Rogers, she resides in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and Jamesville, Virginia. When she’s not working or advocating for farming, she can often be seen with her sisters Nancy, Bonny, and Donna or cheering for the Baltimore Orioles and Dallas Cowboys. Judy Money Puckett New Castle County Distinguished Service to Agriculture The New Castle County Farm Bureau is proud to announce this year’s NCC Distinguished Service to Agriculture recipient — Judith Money Puckett. She grew up on a farm with her brothers where she helped with milking cows, feeding calves, cleaning stalls, washing milk equipment, etc. Her own first cow was a Guernsey named Alice. She spent her childhood years in the Cecil County 4-H club raising calves and showing cows at the local fairs. She was also a Brownie Girl Scout and later belonged to the Mariners which is an extension of the Girl Scouts where she learned about sailing on the Chesapeake Bay. Judy graduated from Bohemia Manor High School and Goldey Beacom College, successfully completing a one-year Commercial Business Course. She worked for the News Journal and the Delaware State News in classifieds, and AWARDEES CONTINUED TO PAGE 5

Delaware Farm Bureau News, November/December 2023


CONTINUED FROM PAGE 4 at Johnson Controls as a production control manager. But, her real love is farming where she says “you can be your own boss” and every day is a new experience. Puckett and her husband, Medford, live in Warwick, MD. She now raises Black Angus cattle and her brother, Cooper, along with her son, Darrell, help. She also raises a few chickens. The family also grows corn, soybeans, and has a straw business. In addition to the farming business, Puckett also owns and operates a very successful business known as the “Bolts and Nuts Depot.” Her business serves many customers in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Although she suffered a lightning strike in her early 30s while in the milking barn of her family farm, Puckett continues to do what she loves. She can often be found baking cakes for 4-H fundraisers to help fund projects and she spends a lot of her time as a volunteer for the Kent County Maryland 4-H Fair and Delaware State Fair. She often works as a ‘herdsman,’ helping the children with their livestock projects. She teaches them about the presentation of their animals in the shows and the general welfare and well-being of their animals while at the fair. Puckett belongs to and supports three Farm Bureaus: Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. As an active volunteer in Delaware, she has served as a delegate to the DEFB annual meeting several times. She also donates to and supports antique tractor pulls in Delaware and Maryland. Paul Cartanza, Sr. Kent County Farm Family of the Year Paul Cartanza, Sr., is a second-generation farmer leading future generations as they work to conserve land and help feed Delawareans and is this year’s Farm Family of the Year awardee for Kent County. Cartanza’s father, Phil Cartanza, came to Delaware in 1952 with a dream to farm in the First State. Phil went out on his own after a couple of years and purchased land across the street; Shadybrook Farms was born. Paul and his brother Mark Cartanza were born into farming. At the age of eight, he was riding the back of the potato planter. He was a member of the FFA and Chestnut Grove 4H Club. As he got older and took on more responsibilities, his father

Judy Money Puckett poses for a photo with her son, NCC Farm Bureau President Stewart Ramsey and legislators.

Paul Cartanza, Sr., and family members were honored with the Farm Family of the Year award in Kent County.

started to expand. In 1976, a grain elevator was built which he went on to run for 29 years along with his other responsibilities on the farm. Cartanza’s father passed away in 2001, but Paul’s dream of farming continued. Lazy Day Farms became a reality for the Cartanza family when he inherited farmland from his Uncle Mike for whom they cared for several years. Lazy Day Farms currently farms 1200 acres, growing corn, soybeans, wheat, and processing vegetables. In 2017, they added a grain elevator to the operation. Currently, they are working with third and fourth generation farmers of Shadybrook Farms, Paul, Jr and The Paul Parsons family was awarded with the Farm Family of the Year granddaughter Taylor, to dry and Awrd from Sussex County Farm Bureau. store grains. Over the years, Cartanza has He and his wife Jan were awarded age of 10 on the side of the road with served as the Chairman of the Del- the Supporters of the Year award a simple farm stand and umbrella in aware Potato Board. He currently in 2016 for supporting the Young 1989. It has now grown into one of the largest agritourism businesses in serves on the Governor's Council for Farmers and Ranchers. the county offering agritourism acAgriculture, the Council of Farm Ortivities such as fall festivities, field ganizations, the Kent County Farm Paul Parsons trip opportunities year round, U-pick Bureau Board and as the 2nd Vice Sussex County fields in the summer and Christmas President of Delaware Farm Bureau. Farm Family of the Year Paul Parsons and his family in trees in the winter. The farm has He also is working with the University of Delaware to help monitor sea Dagsboro were honored as this grown to include almost 250 acres, level rise on their farms along the year’s Sussex County Farm Family a farm store and a cafe. The farm store is surrounded by of the year by the Sussex County bay. AWARDEES Cartanza has two children, Paul, Jr, Farm Bureau. He started his farm business at the CONTINUED TO PAGE 12 and Angela, and four grandchildren.


Delaware Farm Bureau News, November/December 2023

Learn how to speak up at DEFB's Legislative Day The Delaware Farm Bureau will host its first Legislative Day at Legislative Hall in Dover Wednesday, Nov. 15 from 8:30 a.m. until noon. DEFB Executive Director Don Clifton emphasized the need for members to get involved in the legislative process in a letter to members. "This opportunity [Legislative Day] is one more way DEFB is working to provide greater value to the members who make up this organization. Grassroots legislative advocacy is essential to our survival as a family-centered industry," he said. The General Assembly includes 41 members of the House of Representatives and 21 Senators. "Since I became executive director, I have worked hard to develop working relationships with all elected members of the Delaware General Assembly," Clifton said. "Legislative Hall in Dover can

be a bustling place when they are in session," he added. "I find Legislative Hall and the process of lawmaking to be fascinating. The issues being debated sometimes touch the lives and businesses of Delaware Farm Bureau members very directly." At DEFB, new bills that might impact the agriculture industry are passed through the volunteer Legislative Committee which acts as a sounding board when important issues arise. "While this committee is representative of the entire DEFB membership, it is desirable that all members be engaged and provide grassroots input on their views regarding the issues," Clifton said. One goal of Legislative Day is to help members understand the process and how advocacy at DEFB can help impact new bills. The agenda for the day includes a tour of historic Legislative Hall

provided by professional staff from First State Heritage Park and an orientation from Chief Clerk of the Delaware House of Representatives Richard Puffer and Secretary of the Delaware State Senate Ryan Dunphy about their duties in organizing and supporting the legislative process. Participants will also view a demonstration of how to navigate the Delaware General Assembly website. A panel discussion featuring bi-partisan leaders of the House and Senate will be held mid-morning during the event. Panel speakers include: ● Senator David Sokola, Senate President Pro Tempore ● Representative Valerie Longhurst, Speaker of the House ● Senator Brian Townsend, Senate Majority Leader ● Senator Gerald Hocker, Senate Minority Leader ● Representative Lyndon

Yearick, House Minority Whip (for Representative Michael Ramone, House Minority Leader) "These leaders will provide their individual and collective perspectives on how they work together to accomplish the work of the General Assembly. There will also be an opportunity for questions from the DEFB members in attendance," Clifton said in his letter. The event will close out with a presentation of DEFB's 2023 Legislative Report including a compilation of bills which have been introduced and considered during the first half of the 152nd General Assembly. Clifton will discuss key bills of interest to DEFB and agriculture in general as well as expectations for the session beginning in January 2024. To RSVP, and for information about parking around Legislative Hall, call the DEFB office at 302697-3183 or visit

Delaware Farm Bureau News, November/December 2023


DEFB Women's Committee to sponsor Wreaths Across America as they honor veterans for the holidays

The Delaware Farm Bureau Women's Committee will be volunteering at the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetary in Millsboro Saturday, Dec. 16, as a sponsorship group for the Wreaths Across America program. Wreaths can be purchased ahead of time for $17 each through the Women's Committee who will receive a portion of the proceeds and will be on site on National Wreaths Across America Day to help place the wreaths on gravesites in Millsboro. Although they will volunteer at the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetary, wreaths can be also purchased in memory of a deceased veteran at any cemetary or in honor of a living hero — wreaths purchased in honor of a hero will be placed on gravesites not yet sponsored.

According to Wreaths Across America, "2.7 million veterans’ wreaths were placed in total across the country at 3,702 participating locations. More than two million volunteers helped place wreaths, a third of whom were children." To purchase a wreath through the Women's Committee or to volunteer on National Wreaths Across American Day, contact Sussex County Chair Connie Fox or the DEFB state office at 302-697-3183. Wreath sponsorships can also be reserved online through the Women's Committee by visiting DE0079P


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Delaware Farm Bureau News, November/December 2023

Lace Up for Ag Literacy 5k Walk/Run

Runners enjoy the race route at Hopkins Creamery in Lewes. From left to right: Kylie Plummer of Lewes; Liam Antonov of Frederick, MD; James Benkinney of Berwick, PA; Jack Noel of Lewes; and Gaetano Ferro of Milton..

Walkers and runners of all ages smile during the 3rd annual Lace Up for Borislav Antonov and Daniela Delong of Harbeson walk during the fundAg Literacy 5k fundraising event. raising event along the scenery found at Hopkins Creamery.

DEFB Foundation Board Member Laura Hill talks to the crowd.

Runners start the second half of their 5k journey after emerging from a covered bridge along the picturesque route at Hopkins Creamery in Lewes.

Delaware Farm Bureau News, November/December 2023


Lace Up for Ag Literacy 5k Walk/Run

Robert Dobak of Lewes rounds the bend at the farm as he runs toward the Jamie Loucks of Lewes gives a thumbs up as she runs in the 3rd annual second leg of the race. Lace Up for Ag Literacy 5k.

Claire Boyle of Philadelphia, PA runs past a horse at Hopkins Creamery Lisa Sherman of Washington, D.C., to the left, and Liz Guida of Lewes, to Saturday, Oct. 21 during the fundraising event. the right, meet one of the resident dairy cows at Hopkins Creamery.

Noah Dixon of Felton, Jason Baker of Lewes and Matthew Fox of Milford Janna Kirby of Milford and Sheena Hall of Millsboro walk out of the covcelebrate their racing successes next to DEFB President Bill Powers. ered bridge as others seize the opportunity for a selfie in the background.


Delaware Farm Bureau News, November/December 2023

Delaware Farm Bureau News, November/December 2023


Carper holds roundtable with farmers By Jennifer Antonik Delaware Farm Bureau

Tensions are rising for farmers and legislators alike as the national Farm Bill expired at the end of September and a new, updated bill emerges on the horizon. To better understand the needs of Delaware farmers, Senator Tom Carper, D-Del., held a roundtable Monday, Aug. 28 at the Delaware Farm Bureau, DEFB, office in Camden which included farmers from a variety of agricultural specialties and representatives from entities such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the United States Department of Agriculture. DEFB Executive Director Don Clifton said he hoped to offer a varied representation of agriculture in the First State for this meeting, so he invited several farmers to participate including dairy and grain farmers with smaller operations, a grain farmer with a larger operation, a diversified meat producer and a poultry grower. Sen. Carper started the meeting by acknowledging the hard work put in by farmers across the First State, thanking them for providing food and sustaining conservation efforts. He and his staff quickly dove into the priorities for what they hope will be a successful bipartisan Farm Bill, including advancing support for the growing aquaculture industry, improving on crop insurance programs as climate change and unpredictable weather patterns have impacted farmers in recent years and expanding qualifying practices for conservation programs to include more farmers. They said his office hopes the Farm Bill can be passed before the end of 2023. “If nothing else can get through the Farm Bill, crop insurance has got to get through it,” farmer and Kent County Farm Bureau President Jim Minner said during the meeting, citing the rising costs and increased risks associated with farming. “I’ve had years when I wouldn’t have made it without crop insurance. It’s cheaper to get crop insurance in the midwest than in the east. It’s twice as much. It’s the risk, but there is a substantial cost difference,” he added, stating that the increase is a reflection of the risks farmers face on Delmarva.

Senator Tom Carper, D-Del., visits with farmers and agriculture professionals at the Delaware Farm Bureau state office in Camden to discuss the Farm Bill and issues impacting the industry in Delaware.

Kent County farmers and brothers Mark and Denny Wilson said government subsidies are crucial in getting more crop insurance coverage for farmers with operations of all sizes. Delaware Farm Bureau Executive Director Don Clifton agreed. He told roundtable participants that the crop insurance program is “pretty intricate,” but said crop insurance options must remain available as it benefits both farmers and taxpayers. “The crop insurance program is less expensive to the taxpayer. . .” than relying on Federal ad hoc disaster programs,” he explained. “It’s always too little money, too late. The bank’s already foreclosed on a lot of [the affected farms].” Kent County dairy farmer and crop insurance agent Greg Knutsen added smaller farm operations and dairy-related needs to the conversation, stating that those with smaller operations often have to pay almost double the premiums for crop insurance for one unit versus those with more than one farming property who can request an option called enterprise units. He agreed that subsidies need to stay in the Farm Bill and be improved upon to better include the dairy industry. “I describe crop insurance as the 800-lb. gorilla in the room,” Sen. Carper said light-heartedly as he listened to the multitude of concerns. Lisa Jones, poultry farmer in Sussex County expressed support for paying poultry growers based on performance, especially from the perspective of a smaller operation.

“We need to be paid on what we can do [how we perform]. Everybody getting paid a straight price per pound is not a good deal,” she said. Although not Farm Bill specific, Clifton lauded the Healthy Poultry Assistance and Indemnification Act sponsored by Senator Chris Coons, D-Del. with bipartisan support, which would provide compensation for poultry growers within or near areas affected by diseases like avian flu outbreaks. He said the Farm Bureau supports efforts like these. “Not only is the viability of the poultry industry critical to our opportunity to grow grain crops for a profit, but our success at growing grain crops is just as critical to our nearby poultry industry. We all need to work toward better agricultural opportunities because what benefits one usually benefits all,” he said after the meeting. Along with traditional farming concerns, NRCS State Conservationist Kasey Taylor mentioned seeing more concerns with rising sea levels, soil health, weather patterns and land practices and said they monitor developments often, “looking at current practices as a catapult for the future.” “Farmers here have done a great job with soil health and, with storms coming more frequently and lasting longer, we’re also looking at soil moisture management,” she said. “The one thing that we recognize is that we’re still growing.” She added that NRCS now has the ability to approve some applicants

for NRCS initiatives quickly through the Act Now program made possible by the Farm Bill, but, like many other programs, its continuance is at risk as the Farm Bill’s expiration date looms in the near future. “Our planet is on fire,” Sen. Carper said, closing out the meeting. “Farmers are the best and original conservationists in the country. I’ve seen that with my own eyes and so have you. . . I want to make sure, for the people who gather in this room 100 years from now, that we have a strong ag economy.” Along with agricultural and risk management needs, the Farm Bill also covers topics such as trade, nutrition, rural development, forestry, energy and research. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in an interview for AFBF’s Newsline podcast, “We want to see a 2023 Farm Bill before the end of the year and ensure that it [Congress] has enough resources to write a meaningful farm bill, including strong risk management programs. We want to promote food security by ensuring a strong food supply, and also by supporting nutrition programs for those facing hunger. And we want to support job creation. The farm bill is a jobs bill. And we want to invest in ag research and conservation.” Follow the American Farm Bureau Federation online for more updates on the progress of the national Farm Bill at The Delaware Farm Bureau can be found online at


Delaware Farm Bureau News, November/December 2023


fields of blueberries, pumpkins, peaches, apples, corn, strawberries and livestock, offering a peaceful reminder of farm life in a family-fun environment in the middle of the beachside bustle. Parsons also focuses his time on bringing ag to the larger community and helping build a community of farmers in the area. He often sells baked goods and other products that are locally made or grown in his store front. He became a memThe William Phipps family was honored with the Farm Family of the Year ber of the Farm Bureau which has Award from the NCC Farm Bureau. also helped him associate with other farmers through networking and by They expanded their flock and Dorpers flock. He evaluates the herd, having a voice in legislation. space in 2016 by purchasing more feeds and rotates the flock, and acts property; their flock now ranges be- as a large part of the general mainteWilliam Phipps tween 70 to 140 sheep depending on nance around the farm. From fencNew Castle County the time of year. ing to mucking stalls to seeding the Farm Family of the Year Throughout the year, the fami- pasture, he is the man that runs the William Phipps and his family are ly travels to compete nationally at show. this year’s New Castle County Farm shows such as the North American His wife Robina has an undergradFamily of the Year recipients. International Livestock Exposition, uate degree in Agricultural Business He grew up on the family farm the Dorper National Show and Sale Management. Aside from her fullwhere they raised Holsteins until in Duncan, Oklahoma and Cookev- time job at Constellation, Robina the dairy operation was transferred ille, Tennessee. In 2020, the Phipps also helps out with the livestock. Her to his sister when their father passed family had a record setting ram at biggest role around the farm is makaway. Knowing he wanted to con- one of the National Dorper Show ing sure the sheep don’t take over the tinue farming, as well, he purchased and Sales and had both the Grand house. She helps with moving hay, two lots from the previous farm and and Reserve Champion Rams. In cleaning stalls and water buckets, started brainstorming ways to utilize 2021, the family held the high sell- and is especially helpful when lambthe smaller space. ing and Grand Champion ram at the ing season comes around. Phipps and his wife Robina start- 2021 Cookeville, Tennessee sale unTheir daughter, Sydney, is a freshed out with horses and goats before der South African judges. man pursuing Veterinary and Biotransitioning to Dorper Sheep. They Attending these shows gives the medical Science at Pennsylvania created Centre Del Farm Dorpers in family the opportunity to teach oth- State University and holds a junior 2013 and have grown and improved ers about agriculture in Delaware. Dorper course certification. Before the flock ever since. This exposure helps put Delaware heading off to college, she played a The Dorper breed was introduced on the map as an area of quality live- key role in evaluating and maintainto the United States in 1995, not long stock that is easily accessible from ing the flock, as well as served as a before the Phipps started their Dorp- many areas of the Northeast. key sounding board in breeding and er farm. Dorper hair sheep was a perPhipps holds an undergraduate de- sales decisions. Her main chores infect fit for the family since they could gree in Dairy and Animal Science clude shearing off the baby coats of be raised on small acreage, are rela- and holds a junior and senior Dorper lambs in the spring, slick shearing tively low maintenance and could be course certificate. Despite working before every show, halter breaking, managed by the family while they a full-time job, Will spends a lot of helping trim hooves, clean stalls, and continued to work full-time jobs. time caring for the Centre Del Farm more. Sydney has served as the pres-

Teddy and Rebecca Bobola show off their Young Farm Family Achievement — Excellence in Agriculture Award for Kent County during the banquet in Felton.

ident for her 4-H club, the New Castle County Sheep Club, for the past 5 years and is also a New Castle County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee Scholarship recipient this year. Their son, Liam, is starting his Junior year at the Charter School of Wilmington. He is the general handyman, video editor and shot record keeper. He will soon take over many of his sister’s responsibilities as she heads to college. Like their parents, Sydney and Liam have taken to the idea of educating the public about agriculture and Dorper sheep, helping their peers learn more through 4-H and educational events during school.

Teddy and Rebecca Bobola Kent County Young Farm Family Achievement — Excellence In Agriculture The Young Farm Family Achievement - Excellence in Agriculture award is new this year and was awarded to Teddy and Rebecca Bobola. They have both had a long tenure in the agricultural field, including years of involvement with the Delaware Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee. Over the course of their time with DEFB, both Bobolas have served in leadership roles in the YF&R Committee and other areas. Both continue to work full-time jobs on and off the family farm while raising their family which includes two sons, seven-year-old Brant and four-year-old Theo. They are also active members of their church. Their contributions to the family farm include working five chicken houses, raising and caring for sheep and pigs and tending to 1,500 acres of farmland which produces wheat, hay, barley, corn, soybeans, strawberries and pumpkins. They support the Bobola Farm & Florist shop located on the farm by assisting with festivals in the spring, like the YF&R’s annual Strawberry Festival. They both value education and hold Bachelor of Science degrees from Delaware State University; Teddy has a degree in Agricultural Business and Rebecca holds a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Management. Teddy is employed full-time on the farm and Rebecca is employed by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources as an Environmental Program Manager in the Wetlands and Waterways section.


Delaware Farm Bureau News, November/December 2023


CONTINUED FROM PAGE 12 Cory Atkins Sussex County Young Farm Family Achievement —Excellence In Agriculture The Sussex County Farm Bureau is proud to announce its first Young Farm Family Achievement - Excellence in Agriculture recipient: Cory Atkins. Atkins’ passion for agriculture began at a young age. With the help of his father, Rudy, he started from scratch and sold produce grown in his garden at a stand at the end of their lane at ten or 11-years-old. Eventually, his little produce stand turned into 600 acres of corn, soybeans, green peas, snap beans, and lima beans in addition to several hundred acres of custom work. His real passion is growing vegetables and has grown squash, watermelons, and various other crops. With all the challenges facing him as a first-generation farmer, Atkins never let them dull his passion for the love of the land and the desire to be a successful farmer. The most important and valuable thing he needed was advice and guidance from his mentors, friends, family, and colleagues. One of the things that makes this young farmer special is his desire to learn more every day. He graduated from Delaware Technical Community College with an associate degree in pro-

Cory Atkins and family display their Young Farm Family Achievement Award in Sussex County.

duction agriculture. Shortly after graduating, he decided one way to learn a little more was to join a team in the Midwest for the wheat harvest. He spent a few weeks on a combine in the middle of tens of thousands of acres of wheat. It was a sink or swim environment. You had to be a farmer, a mechanic, and an agronomist to succeed and focus on time management and relationship building. Atkins is a graduate of LEADelaware, a past member of the National Bio-Diesel Board and currently serves as a Director for Sussex County Farm Bureau and the Delaware Representative


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for the United Soybean Board. He is also a member of the Mid-Atlantic Soybean Association and chair (past president) of the Delaware Soybean Board. Over the years, he has worked with Southern States as a commercial applicator and Pictsweet as a field representative, seed dealer and community builder. For his efforts in agriculture through work and his personal life, he received the Conservation Legacy Award for the Northeast region. He continues to farm in Sussex County with his wife Kate and their three-year-old son, Connor, as his biggest cheerleaders and advocates.

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Delaware Farm Bureau News, November/December 2023

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Delaware Farm Bureau News


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News: Thankful for Our Farmers

During this time of the year, farmers are harvesting their fields and Jennifer Antonik Delaware Farm Bureau News tending to their livestock to provide ./ & / E @ + , / ÿ L T̀ Y e [ ^ U ÿ ] R U ] ÿ Y N ^ U V ÿ 3457 S. DuPont Hwy., Camden, Kent County, DE, 19934 302-697-3183 food, fuel and fiber for their comf"G+2E&/*/ÿH)'&',6ÿBAA3/;;ÿ+?ÿg/)A<$)3*/3;ÿ+3ÿh/,/3)&ÿi$;',/;;ÿK??'(/ÿ+?ÿ#$%&';@/3ÿLMNOÿQRSTOURV munities and nation. U.S. President Delaware Farm Bureau 3457 S. DuPont Hwy., Camden, Kent County, DE, 19934 Thomas Jefferson once stated, "Culj"5$&&ÿ1)2/;ÿ),AÿG+2E&/*/ÿH)'&',6ÿBAA3/;;/;ÿ+?ÿ#$%&';@/3kÿlA'*+3kÿ),AÿH),)6',6ÿlA'*+3ÿLmNÿTNOÿeU]nUÿoe]TpV tivators of the earth are the most #$%&';@/3ÿLM]qUÿ]T^ÿYNqQeUOUÿq]SeSTrÿ]^^RU\\Vÿ valuable citizens. They are the most Delaware Farm Bureau 3457 S. DuPont Hwy., Camden, Kent County, DE, 19934 vigorous, the most independent, and the most wedded to its liberty and lA'*+3ÿLM]qUÿ]T^ÿYNqQeUOUÿq]SeSTrÿ]^^RU\\Vÿ Jennifer Antonik, Delaware Farm Bureau interests, by the most lasting bonds." 3457 S. DuPont Hwy., Camden, Delaware, 19934 As the Thanksgiving holiday apH),)6',6ÿlA'*+3ÿLM]qUÿ]T^ÿYNqQeUOUÿq]SeSTrÿ]^^RU\\Vÿ proaches, we want to share why we Jennifer Antonik, Delaware Farm Bureau are thankful everyday for our Dela3457 S. DuPont Hwy., Camden, Delaware, 19934 ware farmers! !s"KJ,/3ÿLmNÿTNOÿeU]nUÿoe]Tptÿ̀uÿOvUÿQ[oeSY]OSNTÿS\ÿNwTU^ÿoZÿ]ÿYNRQNR]OSNTXÿrSnUÿOvUÿT]qUÿ]T^ÿ]^^RU\\ÿNuÿOvUÿYNRQNR]OSNTÿSqqU^S]OUeZÿuNeeNwU^ÿoZÿOvU T]qU\ÿ]T^ÿ]^^RU\\U\ÿNuÿ]eeÿ\ONYpvNe^UR\ÿNwTSTrÿNRÿvNe^STrÿxÿQURYUTOÿNRÿqNRUÿNuÿOvUÿONO]eÿ]qN[TOÿNuÿ\ONYptÿ̀uÿTNOÿNwTU^ÿoZÿ]ÿYNRQNR]OSNTXÿrSnUÿOvU Agriculture contributes nearly $8 T]qU\ÿ]T^ÿ]^^RU\\U\ÿNuÿOvUÿST^SnS^[]eÿNwTUR\tÿ̀uÿNwTU^ÿoZÿ]ÿQ]ROTUR\vSQÿNRÿNOvURÿ[TSTYNRQNR]OU^ÿuSRqXÿrSnUÿSO\ÿT]qUÿ]T^ÿ]^^RU\\ÿ]\ÿwUeeÿ]\ÿOvN\UÿNu U]YvÿST^SnS^[]eÿNwTURtÿ̀uÿOvUÿQ[oeSY]OSNTÿS\ÿQ[oeS\vU^ÿoZÿ]ÿTNTQRNuSOÿNRr]TSy]OSNTXÿrSnUÿSO\ÿT]qUÿ]T^ÿ]^^RU\\tV billion a year to Delaware’s econoz ÿ{243ÿ 74 313ÿ 2 5 ÿ 3 ÿ my and accounts for 30,000 jobs in 3457 S. DuPont Hwy., Camden, De, 19934 Delaware Farm Bureau the state, resulting in agriculture being Delaware’s number one industry! On a national scale, agriculture employs about 25 million Americans, which is approximately 17% of the U.S. workforce. Delaware’s 2,302 !!"I,+J,ÿi+,A@+&A/3;kÿH+3*6)6//;kÿ),AÿK*@/3ÿD/($3'*=ÿg+&A/3;ÿKJ,',6ÿ+3ÿg+&A',6ÿ!ÿ#/3(/,*ÿ+3ÿH+3/ÿ+?ÿ.+*)&ÿB2+$,*ÿ+?ÿi+,A;kÿH+3*6)6/;kÿ+3 farms produce $1.5 billion in agri1+,/ K*@/3ÿD/($3'*'/;"ÿ:?ÿ,+,/kÿ(@/(|ÿ%+}ÿ z ÿ{243ÿ 74 313ÿ 2 5 ÿ 3 ÿ cultural sales and ranks No. 1 nationally in the value of agricultural sales per farmland acre. Thank you, farmers, for strengthening our economy! Our farmers care about their land and are committed to improving their farmland. Their goal is to be good stewards of the land and to leave ~ ÿ ÿL NRÿYNqQeUOSNTÿoZÿTNTQRNuSOÿNRr]TSy]OSNT\ÿ][OvNRSyU^ÿONÿq]Seÿ]OÿTNTQRNuSOÿR]OU\VÿL vUYpÿNTUV .@/ÿE$3E+;/kÿ?$,(*'+,kÿ),Aÿ,+,E3+?'*ÿ;*)*$;ÿ+?ÿ*@';ÿ+36),' )*'+,ÿ),Aÿ*@/ÿ/}/2E*ÿ;*)*$;ÿ?+3ÿ?/A/3)&ÿ',(+2/ÿ*)}ÿE$3E+;/; their land in better condition than g);ÿ1+*ÿG@),6/Aÿ7$3',6ÿ#3/(/A',6ÿ!0ÿH+,*@;ÿ g);ÿG@),6/Aÿ7$3',6ÿ#3/(/A',6ÿ!0ÿH+,*@;ÿLa[oeS\vURÿq[\Oÿ\[oqSOÿU Qe]T]OSNTÿNuÿYv]TrUÿwSOvÿOvS\ÿ\O]OUqUTOVÿ when they acquired it. Many farmers #Dÿ5+32ÿ ÿ $&=ÿ0s!9ÿ a]rUÿxÿNuÿcÿL\UUÿST\OR[YOSNT\ÿQ]rUÿcV ÿ#D1 ÿF>4s s! sss jj4!ÿ ÿ{9 ÿD//ÿ+$3ÿE3' )(=ÿE+&'(=ÿ+,ÿwwwt[\Q\tYNqtÿ have implemented environmentally sustainable agricultural practices, such as cover crops, no-till farming, Delaware Farm Bureau News 9/1/2023 and regenerative faming that aid in building healthy soil and preventing erosion, managing water wisely, minimizing air and water pollution, and more. In addition to improving 1,420 1,445 their farmland, our farmers are also dedicated to preserving Delaware’s 793 792 Bi-Monthly





farmland. As of September 2023, the Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation reached a new milestone of permanently preserving 151,257 acres of farmland. Thank you, farmers, for protecting our environment! Lastly, our farmers are dedicated to serving their communities by producing quality produce, poultry, and grain products for their consumers. On average, one U.S. farmer feeds 166 people in the U.S. and abroad. Year-round, Delaware farmers are producing fruits, vegetables, honey, fresh cut flowers, evergreens, and other agricultural products to provide directly to consumers via farmers markets and their farmstands and farm stores. Did you know that Delaware ranks No. 1 for lima bean acreage with nearly a third of the nation’s acreage, is a leading producer of watermelon with production of more than 100 million pounds annually, and Sussex County is the largest broiler producing county in the nation, producing around 263 million broilers! Thank you, farmers, for serving your communities and our nation! In closing, we ask that you thank your local farmers for their dedication and commitment to strengthening our economy, protecting our environment, and providing food, fuel and fiber to their communities and nation. A great way to show your appreciation is to support your local farmers by purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables from their farmstands and farm stores, participate in their agritourism activities and events, support farming initiatives, and to help share their stories.









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Delaware Farm Bureau News Editor


Delaware Farm Bureau News, November/December 2023


Farmland leases: What you need to know The following information is pro- This includes things like installvided by Nationwide®, the #1 farm ing drainage tile that helps imand ranch insurer in the U.S.* prove potential crop productivity. For generations, a handshake sealed the deal for most farmland leases. But today, long-term land productivity, growing competition and high costs make it important to sign a written lease. A lease defined A written farm lease is a contract that transfers to a lessee the right to use a property for a specified purpose in a defined time frame. It includes key details to both farmland owner and lessee. Farmland leases are renewed at the same time each year. In the Midwest, it typically happens in the fall and applies to the following crop year.

How a written lease benefits the landowner A written lease also helps manage risk for the landowner. The document normally spells out specific liabilities and responsibilities. Contractual risk transfer is a critical function of a written farm lease. The lessee typically becomes responsible for operating liabilities during the time frame spelled out in the lease. Identifying and accounting for these variables in writing is key to managing risk for both parties and should be reviewed by your legal representation.

What to include Why a lease is in a farmland lease important for the lessee The duration and price paid by A written lease is like an the lessee are foundational to evinsurance policy for farm- ery lease. Also include: land for a specified time • Lease structure. A frame. It enables annual crop land lease may be strucrotation planning and faciltured as cash rent or crop itates long-term land imshare agreement. Both provements. With a longlease types have pros term lease in hand, a lessee and cons that should be has the assurance that he or she can considered in determinreap the rewards of a shared ining the right structure for vestment to make improvements. you.

Full terms. Spell out the specific lease termination date and how that termination will happen whether because of the contract reaching maturity or one party failing to meet his or her obligations. Land use. Specific uses of the land should be spelled out whenever relevant. Consider accounting for potential uses like crop production, livestock grazing, hunting and energy generation if they’re feasible in the future.

Qualities of land that affect lease rates Typically, land that is used for high-value crops can demand a higher rental rate than land for commodity crops or pasture. But other variables contribute to rental rates, including: • Soil quality • Field size and shape • Field conditions • Location • Water and infrastructure

Consult your farm’s trusted advisers when drafting a new land lease Account for all specific variables that could influence each lease’s liabilities for both landowner and lessee before signing. Consult with your farm’s team of trusted advisers in drafting your next farm lease. That includes your lender, accountant, attorney and insurance provider. Visit for more resources and expert tips on trending topics to help you run a successful business and maintain the safety of your operation. [1] *A.M. Best Market Share Report 2021. Nationwide, the Nationwide N and Eagle, and Nationwide is on your side are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2023 Nationwide


Delaware Farm Bureau News, November/December 2023

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To learn more, visit 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)

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