Farm GateFriends Celebrate a Century of Farm Bureau Impact
Farmer Dale delighted passengers with rides in his 1919 Ford Model T on that pleasant summer evening at the fairgrounds. The ride from yesteryear stirred thoughts about how the automobile dramatically changed life. Those thoughts continued under a nearby tent, where tractors from every decade of the last century sat on display. The earliest models replaced horses in a dramatic shift for farm life and food production.
In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of our county Farm Bureau, local leaders hosted a “Night Off the Farm,” a well-planned event that gathered Farm Bureau friends at the fairgrounds to celebrate the accomplishments of our county organization since its start in 1918. We connected with old friends, saw photos from our Young Farmer days and enjoyed a well-seasoned ribeye and pork chop dinner with potato salad so yummy that our 10-year-old returned for seconds.
Attendees browsed old Farm Bureau photos. We talked about our fondest memories and how big our Young Farmers babies were getting. At least four generations gathered in that banquet building with stories from sometime in Farm Bureau history when – just as now – unifying our voices through a single organization impacted the economic well-being of agriculture. Farm Bureau gives us a forum to share concerns, present solutions, and unite for the common good of agriculture. It presents us the settings to network, learn and gather information that improve our business, our livelihood, our care of the environment, and our well-being.
In the tractor tent, yard signs identified the decade each antique tractor represented. My daughter quizzically studied the pull-type combine, an early precursor to the only combine she knows – one that’s cabbed, self-propelled, and satellite- or sensor-guided. Statistics on display showed the change in corn, gasoline and tractor prices. Brief written histories by decade highlighted anything from war’s impact on the farm to significant county awards. The signs mentioned the names of some of the most notable and respected public figures and agricultural leaders who served our county Farm Bureau and beyond. Yet, we know even more Farm Bureau members who use their leadership and service to make quiet differences in their rural communities to enrich farm family life.
In Farm Bureau fashion, a committee worked on details of this event more than a year in advance. They created a special celebration that concluded with an impressive, up-close firework display. As guests left, they took home gifts, including a potted evergreen tree to plant on the farm in honor of the 100th anniversary. May it also salute Farm Bureau’s future growth and impact.
About the author: Joanie Stiers, a wife and mother of two farm kids, writes from west-central Illinois, where her family grows corn, soybeans and hay and raises beef cattle.