Farm Bureau holds extravaganza

| February 27, 2017
A group of excited children enjoy the corn pit at the Coshocton County Farm Bureau Extravaganza on Feb. 26. Jen Jones | Beacon

A group of excited children enjoy the corn pit at the Coshocton County Farm Bureau Extravaganza on Feb. 26. Jen Jones | Beacon

COSHOCTON – The squeals of excited children filled the gym at the Coshocton Christian Tabernacle Church on Sunday, Feb. 26 as the Coshocton County Farm Bureau hosted a family event to showcase what the bureau does for the community and to offer a fun day for families to enjoy.

A corn pit (a inflated swimming pool filled with corn for children to play in), face painting, pedal tractor pull, a calf and child-friendly foods made this the place to be for families. Children ran from event to event, laughing and excitedly pointing to the next thing they wanted to do. A photo booth was available for self-photos, but the corn pit was obviously the favorite.

Jesse Whinnery, president of the Coshocton County Farm Bureau, said the event was a way to introduce the public to what the bureau does and to possibly encourage them to become members. “We have a serious job to do, but, at the same time, we have a lot of fun. We don’t want anyone to think being a member is all boring meetings.” March will begin their membership drive and the extravaganza was a way to introduce the farm bureau.

The Farm Bureau is a grass-roots organization, which means all of the money it uses comes from membership dues. It receives no money from the state or federal level. Ohio has the biggest involvement in farm bureaus in the United States.  Whinnery said the farm bureau is the voice of local members – their needs, their concerns – and he carries these needs through the levels to the federal government.  The bureau lobbies on behalf of the local agricultural needs. Water quality and tax policies are big concerns right now.

Whinnery said they hold events throughout the year to showcase agriculture. He also wants everyone to know that the farm bureau is not just for people with huge farms. Anyone who has a small backyard garden or who just wants to know more about where their food comes from is welcome to join the bureau. There are several levels of membership. “Most people don’t realize that one in seven people in Ohio have jobs that are in some way related to agriculture.”

Kayla Finton and Jen Croft co-organized the day. This is the second year for the extravaganza and they wanted to provide a day of fun for families and let people learn about the benefits of being a farm bureau member. Several displays were set up around the church’s gym to highlight the benefits of membership and also to share information about local farms. Finton said, “We want to encourage youngsters to explore agriculture and get interested in where their food comes from. This is a fun way to do that.”

As a 50 plus year member of the Coshocton County Farm Bureau, Wendell Waters said the bureau does so much for the local farmers. “The bureau is our first line of defense in legislature. They let us know immediately when changes in rules are coming and what we need to know.” He said one change that he likes was made a few years ago. The bureau began to offer different levels of membership to encourage more people to join. Waters said the bureau is only as good as its members and that Coshocton County has an amazing group of members.

Marshall and Jill Goodman, along with their 3-year-old son, Maxx, were enjoying the day. They have been members of the farm bureau for about four years and joined to meet new people when they moved to the area. Marshall’s parents, Bill and Janet Goodman, have been members of a farm bureau for 30 years and he was involved in it as he grew up. Marshall said the organization gives a voice to local farmers and that they can band together on issues that are concerns in Coshocton.

For more information about joining the Coshocton County Farm Bureau, call 800-964-8184.

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