Diane Prather: A busy year for Farm Bureau

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Diane Prather

You might have seen them as you were driving along highways in the county, such as north Highway 13 or west Highway 40.

They’re little billboards printed with the following message: “If you ate today, thank a rancher or farmer.”

These little signs are an example of one of the projects taken on by the Moffat County Farm Bureau Federation.

The organization meets year-round.

Its officers are president Stan Sjostron, vice president and treasurer Janice Villard, secretary Albert Villard, and women’s committee chairwoman Shirley Lawton.

Overseeing project decisions is a Farm Bureau Board.

Board members are Stan Sjostron, Robin Hamill, Albert and Melody Villard, Jim and Janice Nicoletto, Bill and Dona Shue, Ron and Shirley Lawton, and Glenda Bellio.

The board also oversees the summer/fall picnic and winter banquet and meeting. Moffat County Farm Bureau members are all producers.

However Shirley Lawton said others can join as associate members.

The organization meets at 7 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month.

The meeting place is the north Sunset Meadows building.

This year the local Farm Bureau will send members to the Midsummer Conference in Grand Junction and the Colorado State Farm Bureau Convention in Denver.

The state convention will be in November.

During these conferences members will discuss issues that pertain to producers, develop policies, and add to or otherwise change state policies in the policy book.

The Moffat County Farm Bureau is active in educational projects.

In June, for example, Lawton will help out during the National Ag in the Classroom Conference in Loveland.

Attendees of this two- to three-day conference are teachers who want to learn more about agriculture.

They can earn two credits by participating in the event.

Teachers will tour various water storage projects, feedlots and the equine and horticulture centers at Colorado State University. Each teacher will also spend a day working on a ranch or farm with a family.

The cost for attending the conference is $375, though teachers may apply for scholarships.

Lawton said teachers may be able to save lodging costs by staying with area families.

Farm Bureau is also sponsoring two schools in the Denver area to receive Ag in the Classroom newspapers.

Lawton, Robin Hamill and Stan Sjostron helped with fourth grade Ag-Day, sponsored by the Moffat County Cattlewomen, this year.

Lawton and Hamill assisted Richard Connell, District 10 Colorado State Farm Bureau manager, with a demonstration concerning tractor and grain storage safety.

Sjostron’s demonstration involved a micro-mini hydroelectric plant which water was used to light a bulb.

Moffat County Farm Bureau also presents a $1,000 scholarship (or some years two $500 scholarships) to a graduating senior or continuing college or trade school student.

Applicants for the scholarship must have parents who have been Farm Bureau members for a year.

Students need to have a 3.0 grade point average and be planning to pursue an agriculture-related career.

This year’s scholarship was awarded to Emily Wellman, daughter of John and Debbie Wellman.

She will attend Colorado Mountain College in Glenwood Springs, where she will study to be a veterinarian technician.

This year the Moffat County Farm Bureau even raised funds to be donated to a Ronald McDonald House.

The funds are used to stock the house’s kitchen and to keep up the facility in general.

Sjostron explained that a Funny Money Auction was held in conjunction with Farm Bureau’s annual winter meeting.

Attendees donated money for the Ronald McDonald House, and play money was given out accordingly.

The play (funny) money was then used to bid on items auctioned off by Chad Green, who donated his time.

Lawton said that auctioned items included a winter jacket, winter women’s vests, metal or “stuffed” toy tractors, a wine basket, and more.

She said that bidding over the toy John Deere tractors and winter women’s vests was “very vigorous”.

In the end, $450 was raised for a Ronald McDonald House.

Farm Bureau has donated $500 to this year’s Moffat County Fair.

Therefore, the organization will have a banner and sign up during the fair, perhaps with the organization’s slogan: “If you ate today, thank a rancher or farmer.”

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