Although restrictions on large gatherings are continuing through the spring and into the summer, it’s still possible for county Farm Bureaus to stay involved with their members and their communities.
Below are a few examples from 2020 of how some counties continued their outreach efforts despite the pandemic:
The Hancock County Farm Bureau board reacted to difficult situations experienced by farmers in the county by creating a mental health committee. The committee hasn’t been very active due to lockdown, but they are excited to start planning the best ways to address these issues, said Dallas Foster, mental health committee chairman.
Johnson County Farm Bureau was one of several counties that responded to a need in their community for basic food assistance. The county offered a “no questions asked” drive-through food giveaway last June, said regional manager Keegan Poe. People drove up and got a lunch that included a burger (donated and prepared by the Johnson County Beef Cattle Association) and chips, plus milk and an ice cream treat donated by Prairie Farms. They then collected a box of food that included meat and fresh produce. An estimated 300 people were served and 18,225 pounds of food was distributed, Poe said. Leftover food was donated to a local food pantry.
Kosciusko County Farm Bureau provided a wallet card listing mental health resources for farmers to its voting members. The card was created by INFB last year and distributed to the organization’s regional managers. Kosciusko County gave the idea a new twist, however, by including the card in the packets it sent to all voting members in preparation for its 2020 annual meeting. “They can stick it in their wallet or glove box, and if they don’t need it, maybe they know someone who does,” said regional manager Susan Lawrence.
Perry County Farm Bureau invested in eight large banners displaying the message “Be alert. Be patient. Share the road.” For harvest season, they posted these at the points where state highways enter the county. They are planning to use them again during the 2021 planting season, said board member Chris Tempel. “We’ll use them as long as they last,” he said.
Steuben County Farm Bureau used to offer an ice cream party to the elementary school students in their area who complete a program called Rocky’s Math Blast. They came up with a new reward for the 2020-21 school year: Students who complete the program qualify for a coupon good for a small ice cream cone from the Dairy Queen in Angola. The county reimburses the Dairy Queen $1 for each coupon that is turned in, while the Dairy Queen covers the rest of the cost. The county is also donating the INFB 2021 Book of the Year, Tales of the Dairy Godmother: Chuck’s Ice Cream Wish, along with instructional packets, to each classroom.