By Mary Lou Hinrichsen
Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton County Farm Bureau recently won a County Recognition award from the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation.
Clinton County Farm Bureau President Joe Dierickx said local members are dedicated to helping the public understand what agriculture and farming is all about.
“They work hard, volunteering their time to meet with legislators and the public to talk about property taxes, regulation and fiscal responsibility,” Dierickx said. “They value membership in this organization and help to find new members to keep our organization strong and relevant. When I ask for volunteers they step forward and carry on the work we need to do as a county Farm Bureau.”
Among the local members’ activities that helped bring the award were:
• They co-sponsored three open forums during the Iowa Legislative session at which local residents had an opportunity to meet and question area senators and representatives.
• They listened to members in the county with agriculture views by holding a district meeting where the views were discussed, and then developed a questionnaire that was sent to every member. The results of that survey were expressed to the IFBF by the county’s voting delegate at a state meeting in August.
• They sponsored young members’ attendance at a session of the Chicago Board of Trade to educate them on the complex issues that influence marketing and regulation.
• They targeted young farmers to fill positions on the Clinton County Farm Bureau Board.
“Farm Bureau has opportunities for members who want to become leaders in their communities through training that is provided by the state, and we have been fortunate to have many members go to this training,” Dierickx said.
The group also received the award because of these activities:
• They are a major sponsor of the Clinton County Club show, feeling that it is important to support young kids in agriculture. They donate 4-H shirts, and sponsor area naming for a week, fireworks for one night, the rodeo gate for one night, bull riding and barrel racing gate for one night, beer tent entertainment for one night and Iowa wine tasting. They also sponsor three beef trophies.
• In 2012, member Matt Willimack participated in the leadership training course at the IFBF’s Ag Leaders Institute, which includes four two-day sessions and a summer session. He participated in a trip to Washington, D.C., where he met with legislators.
• Dierickx went to Washington in March with a Farm Bureau group and met with legislators on fixing the estate tax situation and passing the 2013 Farm Bill so farmers could plan their crop year.
• The group, along with the IFBF and area legislators, is lobbying the Corps of Engineers about low levels of the Mississippi River, where barges deliver agriculture products for export markets and bring products back for Iowa crops.
“I really need to thank the people I have been serving with on the County Farm Bureau board, for without their help we wouldn’t have received the Outstanding County designation and would not have survived as a county organization for 100 years,” Dierickx said.