Warren, Holtz deliver messages to DFB delegates

Staff Writer

DOVER, Del. (Dec. 16, 2014) — Outgoing Delaware Farm Bureau President Gary Warren kicked off DFB’s 70th anniversary dinner and awards banquet Dec. 4 by presenting new president Kitty Holtz with the “FB 1” license plate and giving the President’s Remarks.
Warren emphasized the fact that Farm Bureau is a grassroots organization established to protect all facets of agriculture.
He noted that $4 of each annual membership dues goes to the American Farm Bureau Federation — “the bargain of a lifetime” when you look at what AFBF accomplishes on our behalf,” Warren said.
With more than 8,000 member families, DFB has operated for the past three years without tapping into its investment portfolio, he added.
He thanked corporate sponsors General Motors and Nationwide Insurance for their contributions to the organization’s continued growth. Some of the growth is also “because of the actions and results of the DFB’s efforts in community outreach, the ongoing and constant participation and monitoring of the legislative process and our continued efforts ... to safeguard against practices and policies that are unfair.”
Holtz recognized two Nationwide agencies for their work in recruiting members: the Harry T. Insley Agency and the Scott Carey Agency.
Holtz said DFB had achieved the AFBF Membership Quota and the Navigator Award, but rather than present jackets or coats, DFB leaders were donating $600 to the Food Bank of Delaware.
Awards were presented to Warren as past president and to retiring state board of director members Ted Bobola Jr. and Willis Kirk.
Richard Wilkins of Greenwood, Del., received the “Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award.” Wilkins started farming with three acres while still in high school.
With his wife, Donna, he now farms more than 1,000 acres of cropland, tills 800 acres of rented cropland, operates a direct marketed beef enterprise, and runs a full-service machinery and equipment dealership, B&W Farm Supply.
Wilkins has served a number of agricultural organizations from Farm Bureau to Delaware Council of Farm Organizations. He is now treasurer and vice-presidential candidate of the American Soybean Association.
The Fred Stites family was chosen DFB Farm Family of the Year. Stewart Ramsey, presenting the award, noted that Stites had been driving a tractor since age 9.
He earned a degree in Ag Engineering at the University of Delaware and, after one year of farming, jointed the Air Force.
In 1984, seeking a 20-acre farm, he purchased 230 acres.
He was recalled to duty in 1991 in Operation Desert Shield. and the farm community rallied to help his wife, Barbara, keep the farm going while he was away. Barbara died in 2007. Their son, Matthew, helps with their farm and his grandparents’ and more, Ramsey said.
Stites commented that he had two passions, flying and farming, and he had a wife who allowed him to do both. “We were married 35 years, and half that time I was gone,” he noted. “She was a good sport. I never worried about things at home. If an emergency came up, she took care of it.”
Mary Bea Gooden introduced DFB’s new Youth Ambassador, Mindy Cook.
Travis Voshell gave the Young Farmers and Ranchers report and introduced a new award, the Supporter of the Year Award. He recognized Ted and Maria Bobola for helping YF&R get started and for their continued support.
Jacob Urian joined him in honoring, as an outstanding member of YF&R, Melissa Urian, who, while working and going to school to become a pharmacist has helped the group with its finances.
A silent auction brought in $1,900 for YF&R. The winning ticket for a raffle for two shotguns was pulled, and the winner was Guy Phillips, who chose the alternative $800 in cash rather than the guns, and then donated half the money back to the group.
The guns were added to the live auction of FV tags and brought a total of $1,900 more from winning bidders Bobby Virdin and James and Ruth Baxter.
FV tags No. 2 was purchased for $1,000 by John and Carolyn Thomas of Marydel and FV 4 went to Roland and Laura Hill of Lewes for $650.