The Delaware Farm Bureau wrapped up its 74th year with its annual banquet Dec. 6 in Dover. First Vice President Laura Hill introduced DFB’s Farm Family of the Year, Vernon “Chip” Baker Jr. and his wife Judy of H&V Farms Inc. in Millsboro.
Baker has been involved in agriculture almost all his life, first working at H.E. Williams & Co. feed mill in Millsboro and later taking over the family farming operation. He currently tills 621 acres of corn and soybeans and has a 50,000-broiler poultry operation. His farm has been no-till for 25 years and he plants blends of cover crops on all his acreage. He participates in the Conservation Stewardship Program and, because of his interest in improving soil health, became a Delaware Soil Health Champion. He received the Governor’s Conservation Award for Agriculture in 2017. A member of Delaware Farm Bureau since 1995, he has served as a Sussex County Farm Bureau director for many years.
Newly elected officers also were announced. Richard Wilkins, who farms in Greenwood, was unanimously elected farm bureau president. Former president of the American Soybean Association, Wilkins had served as president of Kent County Farm Bureau since 2017. Wilkins and his wife Donna purchased their first farm in 1992. He now grows soybeans, corn, wheat, barley, hay and vegetables in addition to raising beef cattle. Wilkins is also owner of a full-service machinery and equipment dealership, B&W Farm Supply.
Laura Hill of Lewes was re-elected first vice president. Hill was the first woman to be elected as a Delaware Farm Bureau officer, second vice president, in 2012. She and her husband Roland own and operate the 1,600-acre Deerfield Farm in Lewes along with their sons Roland III and Jerad. Their daughter Jamie recently returned to the area. Hill is chair of the DFB Food Booth and Legislative committees. She also has served on the Delaware Nutrient Management Commission since 2009.
William Powers Jr. of Townsend was elected second vice president. Powers worked on the assembly line at Chrysler from 1978 to 2006, when he was elected to New Castle County Council. All the while he has been raising beef, hogs, sheep, goats, turkeys and chickens as well as growing hay and corn to feed.