The aroma of braised beef, chicken salad, corn salsa, mushroom tarts and a unique lima bean hummus, all crafted by Chef Bill Clifton of Fifer Orchards in Wyoming lingered near the Senate Chambers in Legislative Hall Thursday, March 30, as Delaware Farm Bureau, 4-H and FFA members shared their love of agriculture with lawmakers.
Hosted by DEFB’s Promotion & Education Committee, the luncheon fed dozens of legislators and staff over the course of about two hours. It included beef from Ramsey’s Farm in Wilmington and Powers Farm in Townsend and chicken from Mountaire Farms. Rolls and cookies came from Fortunata’s Bakery in Milford.
Delaware 4-H State Teen Council Officers Kyle Kerr, Carter Bradley and Ava Raughley and Delaware FFA State President Noah Dixon, State Vice President Hannah Haigh and State Treasurer Kyle Gares were also on hand to help DEFB with the event.
Rep. Sherry Dorsey Walker of Wilmington said seeing the FFA and 4-H members in Legislative Hall helping the Delaware Farm Bureau gave her feelings of pride, joy and love.
“Since I became a legislator in Dover, I asked to be put on the Agriculture Committee,” she said. “Ag matters to me and it’s so important that our young people learn about cultivating the land. In the process of cultivating the land, we’re creating opportunities for life. Agriculture does all those things that we desire for our children to have – to have great mental health, ag does that; for our children to be successful in life, ag creates that foundation. So, in order for our children to be successful, they have to have that strong foundation and that’s what ag does and that’s why I fell in love with agriculture.”
Kyle Kerr, Delaware 4-H State Teen Council Officer, said the event was a great opportunity to connect with professionals in a different way.
“Events like the one at Legislative Hall are super important to me, along with 4-H, because it gives us the opportunity to network and reach out to individuals who help make our organization while also spreading the word about 4-H and the importance of agriculture in our state,” he said.
Delaware FFA State President Noah Dixon echoed Kerr’s sentiments, saying, “Opportunities like visiting the Legislative Hall are extremely impactful and valuable to me because it’s nice to know that the individuals making decisions for our state support the agriculture industry. It’s very easy to think of legislators as one big group, but through this opportunity I was able to humanize them by meeting face to face. Through the connections I made, I know that the decisions impacting my everyday life are held in good hands.”
He mentioned that it is important to develop relationships with legislators from the organization level, too, “. . .so that we can directly communicate our beliefs and desires to those who make important decisions for our state. We are able to ensure that our members can receive an immersive and impactful education of the agriculture world, as well as developing their personal interests. As long as we have connections with our legislation, we know that agriculture will not be forgotten. The legislators were open to listening to my personal stories, experiences, and passions about the agriculture industry. I was able to share my backstory and the importance of our industry to every individual. Through talking with the legislators, the most important point I emphasized was the value of family-owned farms within our state! Not every farm is a large corporation, and if we make farming harder on our producers, we are impacting many of the families within our communities.”
Along with talking to the younger ag volunteers, legislators had a chance to mingle with seasoned farmers and agriculture professionals as they picked up their lunch and headed into session.
“You know I do what I can to support farmers and the Farm Bureau. This is real nice,” Senator Dave Wilson said in appreciation.
The Delaware Farm Bureau stays in constant contact with the 62 Senators and Representatives of the General Assembly and monitors the progress of legislation important to Delaware producers. DEFB also hosts legislative breakfasts annually to connect with lawmakers at the grass roots county level and keeps them up to date throughout the year by sending them copies of the weekly membership newsletters and bimonthly newspapers, among other ways. For more information about the Delaware Farm Bureau, visit www.defb.org.