In The Community: Broward & Hillsborough County Farm Bureaus Earn National Recognition from American Farm Bureau
Broward and Hillsborough County Farm Bureau were two of only eighteen county Farm Bureaus selected to receive national recognition by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). The AFBF County Activities of Excellence (CAE) Awards celebrate grassroots programming that is innovative and volunteer-centered. Broward County Farm Bureau was recognized for their drive-thru COVID-19 Testing Center and Hillsborough County Farm Bureau was recognized for its Ag-Ventures in a Box. As part of their award, each county Farm Bureau hosted an interactive booth to display their programs and encourage other state Farm Bureaus to adopt similar programs.
Broward County Farm Bureau Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing Center
Broward County Farm Bureau (BCFB) set-up two COVID-19 drive-thru testing centers for its members to utilize during the pandemic. BCFB members could receive a free COVID-19 test on Tuesdays and Thursdays at their county office in Margate, and on Wednesdays and Saturdays at Bob Roth’s New River Groves in Davie.
Broward County Farm Bureau President, Fred Segal, recalls receiving numerous phone calls from Farm Bureau members needing COVID testing and he felt the need to set up a better resource for not only Farm Bureau members but also local residents. “Members from the Broward community were able to see that Farm Bureau cares about its local citizens and the exposure positively impacted membership.”
By offering this service to the community, Broward County was able to reach non-members and help educate them about agriculture while providing a service to the community. Thousands of residents were tested through the duration of this innovative initiative.
Hillsborough County Farm Bureau Ag-Ventures in a Box
Hillsborough County Farm Bureau (HCFB) has hosted their local Ag-Ventures program for more than 27 years. The 8-day long event welcomes local elementary students to learn about Florida agriculture through interactive and hands-on demonstrations. Due to unforeseen circumstances with COVID-19, Hillsborough County Farm Bureau pivoted to create “Ag-Venture in a Box” and bring their popular Ag-Ventures directly to local students so that they didn’t miss out on the event.
Boxes were available to Hillsborough County teachers for a nominal fee of $25.00. The activity was widely popular and 93 boxes were distributed to teachers throughout the county. Executive Director, Judi Whitson, shares, “Agriculture in our community could not afford to miss even a single school year. It is critical that our students across the county maintain a familiarity and meaningful connection with agriculture. I am so proud of our program and am excited to see if continue for the future.”