BUCKHANNON – On same day the State of West Virginia turns 156 years old, an agency that has long sustained one of the state’s traditional industries – farming – will celebrate its centennial anniversary.
That’s right – the West Virginia Farm Bureau will celebrate 100 years on West Virginia Day, Thursday, June 20.
The farm bureau is part of the American Farm Bureau Federation, an independent, non-governmental, non-partisan coalition of local, county and state farm bureaus that are governed by – and represent the interests of – farming and ranching families in an effort to improve education, economic opportunities and more. According to its website, the West Virginia Farm Bureau advocates for in excess of 17,000 member families, while the American Farm Bureau Federation represents over 5 million member families across the U.S.
Tabby Kuckuck, public relations specialist with the West Virginia Farm Bureau, said it’s an honor to work with an organization that has been around for 100 years.
“A lot of organizations don’t reach their hundred-year mark, so it’s really an honor to work for a place that has survived this long,” Kuckuck said. “Especially a place working for farmers and people in agriculture. Those people feed us every day, and provide us with the things we need, so the ability to work for them is always important.”
She said she thinks the organization has lasted so long because their members have a say about what goes on in the organization.
“A big part of what we do is advocating on their behalf, making sure that their taxes don’t go too high, or their land doesn’t get too regulated, and we’re a grassroots organization,” Kuckuck said. “Everything happens from the county level up through the national level, and we’re at the state level here, so farmers really have a say in what policy we shoot for at the Capitol, and things like that. I think that that’s what has really kept us as an organization for so long, because our members actually have a say in their role in their organization.”
The celebration is going to take place at the West Virginia Farm Bureau at 62 Farm Bureau Road in Buckhannon from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The celebration is open to the public and will feature Jaws BBQ, cake, vendors, an antique craft show, an appearance from the Mountaineer and activities for kids.
“Our new Mobile Ag Ed Science Lab is going to be up and running, and that lab goes to visit schools throughout the year,” Kuckuck said. “It teaches kids about agriculture and science, so that will be there for kids, and we’ll have games and face painting, so it will have something for everybody.”
She said the biggest event for the day will be an appearance from the World Champion Timber Sportsman, Matt Cogar, who is from Webster County; he will be doing a demonstration.
“We also have a new partnership with Ford, and they’re going to be bringing out a Ford pick-up truck to the event, and we’re going to try to fill a Ford with canned goods and things like that to donate to the Mountaineer Food Bank,” Kuckuck said.
She said the everyone is welcome to the event and residents don’t have to be farmers to be members of the farm bureau.
“It’s open to everybody, it’s a big celebration for farmers and the Farm bureau and even our memberships aren’t exclusive to people who farm – landowners, consumers, everybody can be a member, and we encourage everybody to be a member because, again, it’s pretty important to take care of the people who feed you,” Kuckuck said.
She hopes the even will also be an opportunity to teach people more about the Farm Bureau.
“We hope we have a good turnout, and we hope people have a good time and also learn more about the Farm Bureau and what farmers do for them every day and, a big part of Farm Bureau is advocacy and education,” Kuckuck said. “We want people to understand where their food comes from and that farmers are their friends.”