Talley, Clark family lauded by KCFB

Staff Writer

FELTON, Del. (Sept. 29, 2015) — Robin Talley, district director and program specialist with the USDA’s Farm Service Agency, was presented the Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award at the Kent County (Del.) Farm Bureau’s annual meeting and fall banquet at Felton Fire Hall on Sept. 28.
Talley was surprised, but admitted she knew something was up when her husband put a tie on for the evening.
Richard Wilkins, KCFB vice president, said Talley began her federal career in 1984 with the FSA’s predecessor agency, the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, becoming district director the following year. She continued in that position until 1995.
Talley holds a master’s degree in economics and business administration from University of Delaware. She said the ASCS job came before grad school. “I’m so glad I stayed. I couldn’t ask for a better career,” she said.
Talley has twice received the USDA’s Administrator’s Award, in addition to the University of Delaware’s George M. Worrilow Award, the Secretary of Agriculture’s Honor Award for Superior Service for her work with USDA, and the Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service to Delaware Agriculture from the Delaware Department of Agriculture.
She is a member of the Farm Bureau, the Delaware Ag Alumni, National Association of District Directors and LEAD Delaware, and is a volunteer at the Delaware Agricultural Museum and many other organizations.
Wilkins said, “Robin Talley’s understanding of the risks farmers take, paired with her knowledge of beneficial federal programs and her willingness to host educational presentations on changes to those programs, makes her an outstanding advocate for Delaware agriculture and farmers in the First State.”
The Bruce Clark family of Kenton was named KCFB’s 2015 Farm Family of the Year.
Bruce and Patricia Clark began their poultry operation in 1979 with two houses. At the time, Patricia was the primary tender of the chickens, while Bruce ran the Country Store in Kenton.
Several years later, they switched responsibilities. Bruce took over the chickens, and they added a third house in 1993. In 1996,
Their son, Bruce B. Clark II, and his wife, Christa, joined the operation. They added two houses then and three more in 2003-2004, bringing their total capacity to 258,000 roasters.
They plan to complete construction on two more houses by the end of October, bringing the total to 11 houses. They grow four flocks a year for Mountaire Farms Inc. on their 75-acre farm.
Ted Bobola Jr., presenting the award, said, “The Clark family has always cared about the environment and their land. They recently implemented storm water retention ponds and plan to add vegetative buffers around their chicken houses in the future.”
In 2013, the Clark family implemented conservation practices that earned them the 2014 Governor’s Agricultural and Urban Conservation Award for Kent County. The family has hosted tours on their farm for agricultural representatives from foreign countries.
Retiring directors Kitty Holtz and Bruce Walton also were honored. Holtz, now state president (currently the only female Farm Bureau state president in the United States), has been a director since 2003. Walton has served since 1968.
Walton said, “It has been fun to serve in many capacities. If you’re not a member, join. It’s important to get involved.”
One high point of the evening was the presentation of proceeds from the Farm to Fork Dinner to the Food Bank of Delaware.
The dinner was held at the J. Hubert Cannon farm on Aug. 22, prepared by Abbott’s Grill’s Chef Paul Gallo and students of the Food Bank’s Culinary School. KCFB Women’s Chair Sandy Virdin and Delaware Farm Bureau President Kitty Holtz presented Chad Robinson, director of the Food Bank in Milford, with three checks totalling $6,672.61.
“This is the epitome of what we at the Food Bank look for,” Robinson said. “The dinner was the nicest, most put-together event we’ve had in a long time.”