DFB lauds Powers, Isaacs for involvement

Staff Writer

DOVER, Del. (Dec. 15, 2015) — “Delaware Farm Bureau has been proactive in protecting the farm community, said President Kitty Holtz in her opening remarks at the organization’s annual banquet Dec. 3 in Dover.
“The Foundation is reaching and teaching the public about agriculture,” she said. “If you care about Delaware agriculture, get involved. Let your voice be heard.”
In part because they “get involved,” the Powers family of Townsend was named DFB’s Farm Family of the Year. Bill Powers Jr. purchased the family farm from his mother, Karol Powers-Case, after his father died in 1987.
Bill Jr. married Joan in 1989, and they had two children, Katie and Will. This third generation also has been actively involved in agriculture, including attending Farm Bureau meetings with their parents from an early age. Bill served as NCCFB president from 1996 to 2004, while Joan served as NCC Women’s Committee chairman.
Bill was elected New Castle County councilman in 2006 and sits on the County Farmland Preservation Advisory Committee. He  won the NCC and Delaware Farm Bureau Distinguished Service to Agriculture Awards in 2006. Katie works at Oklahoma State University where she is a member of the Young Farmers and Ranchers and the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association and serves as public relations coordinator of the Oklahoma Agri-Women.
Will, who serves as New Castle County YF&R chairman, completed diesel and auto mechanic school and works with his father on the farm.
Previously known for its fresh turkeys, the farm now provides sheep, beef cattle, hogs and eggs for local markets and restaurants.
In making the presentation, Tom Unruh, DFB second vice president, said Bill Powers takes pride in working with policy and takes various trips to Washington, D.C., to work on behalf of agriculture.
He recently traveled to China to visit with the manufacturer of equipment used at the Port of Wilmington. “He is a wonderful spokesman for preserving farmland, transfer of development rights and related issues. He also actively speaks on behalf of programs for youth in agriculture — 4-H, FFA and YF&R are all dear to him.”
Dr. Mark Isaacs, director of the Elbert N. And Ann V. Carvel Research and Education Center in Georgetown, Del., since 1991,  received DFB’s 2015 Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award. Laura Hill, first vice president, made the presenation.
Isaacs grew up on the family grain, poultry and hog farm in Georgetown. He studied at Clemson and earned his doctorate in weed science from Virginia Tech.
He started working for the University of Delaware in 1986 at what was then the “substation” in Georgetown as an Extension assistant in environmental quality. He recalled that when he first started in Delaware he was on the Hills’ farm, “covering manure piles. We had some nice, aromatic meetings there,” he said.
Isaacs became crops research coordinator for the substation, then advanced to director for the research and education center.
Isaacs thanked DFB members “for what you do for Delaware ag, for the state and the county.” He added, “I hope to work diligently for your in the future.”
The YF&R raised $1,200 in its gun raffle, which concluded that evening. Winner was Joseph Mulrooney. YF&R Chairman Travis Voshell said the young farmers had donated more than 300 pounds of food to the Food Bank. He announced that Molly Moore was this year’s Outstanding Young Rancher.
Steve Breeding introduced the YF&R Supporter of the Year, Chuck Hoober of Hoober Inc. “He is there for YF&R any time we ask,” Breeding said. “Everybody who works for them and walks through the door truly is family.” Mary Bea Gooden, women’s committee chairwoman, introduced Allison Miller, 7th grader at Postlethwait Middle School in the Caesar Rodney School District, who won the 6th annual Ag in the Classroom Essay Contest. Her teacher is Trish Cluff. Allison’s parents are Don and JoAnn Miller.
Ryan VanSant of Middletown was named 2015 State Youth Ambassador. Son of Denise and Shawn VanSant, Ryan graduated from Middletown High School where he served as class president, FFA president and member of the National Honor Society. He was also president of the Summit Bridge 4-H, secretary of the Delaware Junior Holstein Association and worked as camp counselor for Delaware Cow Camp. A freshman at University of Delaware, Ryan is majoring in animal and food science with minors in French and Spanish.