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Somerset County Farm Bureau unveils new programs and incentives

April 24, 2018 GMT

The Somerset County Farm Bureau has expanded member benefits.

A new program that gives members discounts at local businesses was highlighted during bureau’s annual spring meeting Friday night in Sipesville. More than 100 people attended the event.

The meeting, held Friday at the Sipesville fire hall, featured Pennsylvania Farm Bureau Vice President Chris Hoffman as the keynote speaker.

Hoffman spoke about misconceptions some people have about farming and how to connect with them and set the record straight. He also touted the agriculture community in Somerset County.

“I am super proud of Somerset County,” he said. (Somerset County Farm Bureau President) Denny (Hutchison), you have a great group.”

One of the new member benefits that was highlighted at the event is a new program that gives members discounts at local businesses.

Somerset County Farm Bureau Vice President Shawn Saylor said the program is meant to highlight local businesses over chain brands.

“The businesses we’re really eager,” Saylor said. “This is going to grow.”

Hutchison said the program started in July. He said 80 percent of the small businesses he’d talked to agreed to participate.

“It’s been exciting. Businesses have gotten on board with it,” he said. “Somerset County Farm Bureau is dedicated to assisting small businesses and helping them grow.”

Another new program is a Farmer Appreciation Picnic scheduled for July 22 at The Hayloft near Rockwood.

Bureau member Joanne Stoltzfus said the event is meant to bring farmers together. Stoltzfus said the event will be catered by The Chuckwagon Restaurant & Catering and may feature live entertainment. There will be a fee to attend.

“It’s a fun night for farmers in the county,” she said. “No real agenda.”

The bureau is made up of more than just farmers. Hutchison said there are regular members, who farm, and associate members, who can be anyone.

He said the county bureau has 1,037 members, picking up 117 this year alone, 57 of whom are regular members. He said Somerset County is ranked fifth in the state for regular members.