It looked like a drive-in movie at the Frederick Fairgrounds Tuesday night, cars lined up in a checkerboard pattern in front of a large screen. Drivers tuned their car radios so that the program played through their speakers.
But it wasn’t a movie that had their attention — it was the 99th annual Frederick County Farm Bureau meeting.
It was quite a different meeting than what’s been held in the past. But in the days of COVID-19, it was the best way for organizers to get members together and still remain socially distant.
“Originally, we canceled this banquet,” said farm bureau president Sam Roop. “But after consideration, and meeting and talking, and the importance of the farm bureau, we realized that our policy and development had to be taken care of.”
Headlights were used to vote and the meeting covered topics such as old and new policies, elections, 50-year members and retiring members. Farm Bureau leaders were on a stage with the big screen behind them assisting in the visual presentation.
The policies the Farm Bureau voted on will be sent to the Maryland Farm Bureau in preparation for the upcoming General Assembly session.
Wayne Stafford, president of the Maryland Farm Bureau, said that personal involvement with legislators will be key to any success they have this year.
“I implore you to find out who your legislators are, what’s going on,” he said.
Some policies did not change and weren’t voted on. These included supporting agriculture education programs in public schools, opposing the “growth, production, harvesting, processing, distribution and sales” of medical marijuana on land that is zoned for agricultural use in the county and supporting the construction of solar facilities on land that is zoned for commercial use and non-prime agricultural land.
New policies that were voted on included recommending that the county Weed Control spray for Palmer Amaranth, an invasive weed, in the spring, opposing local regulations on climate related issues that “are not science based and would exceed any state or federal regulations” and supporting “fully funding” both state and local law enforcement.
The top three policy priorities for the year were also voted on and include expanding ag education in state middle schools, spraying for Palmer Amaranth and opposing any policy that would stop or limit the purchase of agricultural goods that are produced in the state by state or local agencies.
“Maryland Farm Bureau, in partnership with other agricultural groups and legislators, is working to increase procurement of Maryland grown food products,” according to the Maryland Farm Bureau website.
Elections were held for the Frederick County Farm Bureau Board of Directors and the Frederick County Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee.
Fifty-year members and retiring board members were also recognized. Fifty-year members included George Bruchey, Robert Black and Richard Calimer and retiring board members included David Huffer, Paul Dotterer, Lisa Gaver and Dick Bittner.
Roop said that over the past year, the group has done the best it could.
“We’ve dealt with what we were dealt and we keep moving forward, and we work together, and for that, I’m very grateful,” he said.