The Livingston County Farm Bureau hosted a record crowd at their annual meeting and banquet on September 13, held at the Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church east of Chillicothe. Ninety-nine people were served a tasty country dinner, with homemade pies for dessert, prepared by Pleasant Grove's United Methodist Women organization. Guest speaker was Garrett Hawkins, Farm Bureau's National Legislative Programs Director, and other special guests were Missouri 7th District State Representative Mike Lair, and Chillicothean Aaron Kerr, the Missouri Farm Bureau's 2012 Ambassador.
The meeting opened with a prayer by Larry Warren, Pleasant Grove UMC's 2012 Administrative Council President, and a warm welcome from Livingston County Farm Bureau's current president Sherry Jones. Musical entertainment was presented by the "Lord Have Mercy" singers. Board members and guests were introduced, including the local Farm Bureau Insurance Agent Joe Neptune, office secretary Marilou Whiteside, production assistant Garni Churan, Agency Manager Jeff Adams, Regional Coordinator Greg Gaines, guest speaker Hawkins and Representative Lair.
Lair was presented with the county Farm Bureau's Friend of Agriculture award for his legislative efforts on behalf of agriculture during his tenure in the State Legislature, Ambassador Aaron Kerr spoke about the road to becoming an ambassador and some of the highlights of his year in that position so far, and Haley Thompson, FFA State Farm Bureau speaking contest winner spoke of the path to winning a state speech contest.
Guest speaker Hawkins then brought the crowd up-to-date with his efforts on behalf of the Farm Bureau and agriculture in general, and stated that the Bureau's responsibility, shared by all its members, was to represent the diversity of production agriculture in the state. Bureau members expect his representation of them to include tackling the tough issues on their behalf, including recent efforts involving farm truck regulations and County of Origin Labeling (COOL).
Hawkins then charged the members to also fulfill their responsibilities of talking to the local board about issues to assure that their voice is heard. He stressed that "One person can make a difference", and urged members to fill out the questionnaire requesting their opinions on certain issues, sign the Clean Water Act postcard to be mailed, and attend the State Farm Bureau annual meeting if at all possible. He stressed that Farm Bureau is a family organization that works on behalf of career education and DESE to improve the future of young people. He stated, "Vote, it's your responsibility, issues involving the Farm Bureau are on the ballot every year."
Following Hawkin's presentation, the annual county Farm Bureau meeting conducted necessary business and held their annual election of board members and officers. Officers for the coming year will be Sherry Jones, President, Brian Eggers, Vice-President, Brenda Kerr, Secretary, and Joyce Hayen, Treasurer. Board members elected for a two year term were: Tyler Jones, Suzi Beck, Leda Schreiner and Pete Gilliland. Kati Wescott was elected to fill an unexpired term. The meeting was then adjourned and door prizes were distributed.