GREENE – Chenango County Farm Bureau President Bradd Vickers was surprised by his board of directors Monday night when they named him this year’s Advocate of Agriculture.
With more than 150 meetings attended and correspondences written on behalf of the organization in 2010, both locally as well as in Washington D.C. and other states, and regular contacts made with some 35 different legislators, little slips by the longtime organization’s president.
New York State Assemblyman Peter Lopez, R-Sidney, was on hand to present the award to Vickers. He said Vickers is “a shining example of the phrase, ‘If you want to get something done, ask a busy person’” and well known for following his personal motto, “‘Lead, follow, or get the heck out of the way!’”
“He has worked tirelessly with numerous legislators to push bills forward that Farm Bureau supports or stopping bills that would be detrimental to agriculture. He considers a lot of the legislators as personal friends,” Lopez said.
Vickers, who has led the organization since 2001, expressed both shock and appreciation, “You got one by me! I hope everyone knows that I don’t do this for appreciation. I do it, obviously, because my feet are well planted in the soil.”
The CCFB annual meeting held at the Silo in Greene brought together more than 50 members, Lopez and Assemblyman Cliff Crouch, R-Binghamton, City of Norwich Mayor Joe Maiurano and New York Farm Bureau District Five Representative Daryl Griff. Dinner, speeches and award presentations took place under a banner proclaiming: “When you make your living with animals, you take care of them.”
Assemblyman Crouch referred to the slogan within his address about the current legislative challenges facing farmers and agribusinesses. As a member of the New York State Agricultural Committee, he said he and his colleagues, including Lopez, had been successful in holding back a ban on cow tail docking.
Uniting with the American Human Society and veterinarians who practice safe, proper handling of the procedure, the ag committee was able to persuade the mostly downstate lawmakers who initiated it.
“We need to take politics out of ag. New York City doesn’t understand our way of life and our needs. You don’t know what you’re talking about if you haven’t been to the farm,” he said, explaining that the procedure can be done responsibly and is necessary in order to milk cows efficiently.