PCFB President’s Column: Farm Bureau says goodbye — for now — to Will Putnam


THE LAST FEW WEEKS have been difficult for our Polk County Farm Bureau family as we said goodbye for now to an industry leader and our friend, Will Putnam. Will was a member of the Polk County Farm Bureau board for 24 years, serving as president in 2000-2002, and in so very many capacities throughout the years. Will’s dedication to our mission was evident time and time again as he led the Young Farmer and Rancher Committee toward the strong organization it is today, promoted the Polk County Youth Fair and Agri-Fest, and led organizational and policy decisions with wisdom, fairness, and always with our members’ best interests at top of mind. Will is greatly missed.

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With Will’s long-term leadership and support for our Young Farmer & Rancher group in mind, I am pleased to announce that the Polk YF&R group recently received the Florida Farm Bureau YF&R Activity Award. The Young Farmers & Ranchers Activity Award recognizes county farm bureaus that have active Young Farmers & Rancher Committees who are engaged in their local community and have a passion for improving the business of agriculture. Committee members are between the ages of 18-35 and are involved in various educational and social events to promote agriculture. Congratulations Polk YF&R! Under the leadership of outgoing YF&R Chairman Christian Spinosa (who is also Will’s nephew), our YF&R group has received this award for the last several years running. I can’t say enough about Christian’s leadership and service to this group, as he has led it to tremendous and exciting growth in both membership and activities. Thank you for your service, Christian!

We congratulate the incoming members of the 2016-2018 Polk YF&R officer slate that will be inducted in October. They are Keith Walter, President; Jamie Lang, Vice President; and Daniel Lanier, Secretary.

We held our annual Youth Speech Contest in August and heard from seven fantastic students on the topic, “What is an Unmanned Aerial System and How Can It Be Used to Impact Agriculture?” All of the students did a wonderful job, with Maddie Dvorak of Kathleen High School taking first place; Taylor Ladd of Auburndale High School taking second place; and Christian Cruz of George Jenkins placing third. Congratulations to all contestants! And a special thanks to our judges, Abby Crawford, Kaylee Norris, and Danny Kushmer!

Please RSVP now for our Polk County Farm Bureau Political Rally, Political Forum, and 74th Annual Membership Meeting on Tuesday, October 11, at the W.H. Stuart Center in Bartow. The Political Rally will begin at 5 p.m., followed by the Political Forum at 5:45, and Annual Meeting at 6:30 p.m. All active members should have received formal invitations. Anyone interested in attending, please contact Lori Kuehl at (863) 533-0561, ext. 112, or email lorik@pcfb.org. A special thanks to this year’s sponsors, The Mosaic Company and the law firm of Peterson & Myers.

Florida Farm Bureau will hold its 75th Annual Membership Meeting at the Caribe Royale Orlando Resort in Orlando from October 26–28, 2016. To register or for more information, visit floridafarmbureau.org/events/75th-annual-meeting/.

Finally, I’d like thank those, from our members to our great staff, who have worked so hard on this year’s membership campaign. Our efforts have been successful and with only one membership recruitment month left, our numbers are looking strong. Please continue your efforts to share the news about the many benefits of Farm Bureau membership! If you’re not a Farm Bureau member and would like to join, visit floridafarmbureau.org today or contact Carole McKenzie at (863) 533-0561, ext. 111, carolem@pcfb.org to learn more.

Sincerely,

KEVIN M. UPDIKE
President, Polk County Farm Bureau