Harvest Party honors local farmers


More than a hundred farmers and Farm Bureau members from Madison County and surrounding counties met Wednesday night for the first ever Harvest Party, put on by the Madison County Farm Bureau and the Madison County OSU Extension.

The event was held at the Choctaw Lake Lodge in London and featured a dinner catered by the Red Brick Tavern, a raffle, and entertainment from nationally-recognized comedian, Drew Hastings.

First Harvest Party

The purpose of the event was two-fold, being both a harvest party and the official Madison County Farm Bureau’s annual meeting. At the check-in table, Farm Bureau members were given a voting packet which included proposed local, state and national policies. Topics at the local level included economic growth and issues regarding drug use in the communities which members could vote on and hand in throughout the evening.

However, the night was also meant to be one for socializing and entertainment.

“We do a lot of educational meetings,” said Mary Griffith, Agriculture Educator with the Madison County OSU Extension office. “But we wanted to do a meeting that would help the farmers. We wanted an evening to bring people together and have a place to celebrate before farmers get busy with harvest.”

Griffith was also a speaker at the event and one of the party’s organizers.

Celebrating farmers

“In a county like this, farmers are the backbone of our community and our economy,” Griffith said. “In this county, which is just shy of 298,000 acres in total, we have over 263,000 of that 298,000 acres in farmland.”

For her, the contribution of agriculture to the community and beyond is immeasurable. Her hope was the event could allow farmers to meet and be social.

Those attending the party were also treated to free photos taken by Steve Berk, the organizational director of the farm bureaus of Madison, Union, Delaware and Franklin counties and finger food before dinner. The Red Brick Tavern in Lafayette provided all the food and drinks for the evening.

London and Plain City mayors Pat Closser and Darrin Lane, respectively, were the bartenders for the evening. Guests could purchase drink tickets for the bar and raffle tickets, half of the proceeds of which went to the raffle winner and half to Farm Bureau scholarships.

Hastings stand-up

Comedian, Highland County farmer and Hillsboro mayor Drew Hastings closed the night with a 45-minute comedy set. His material covered a range of topics from living in Los Angeles to becoming a Midwestern farmer in his ’50s.

“Whitney Earley got in contact with me and asked if I would be willing to do it,” Hastings said. “It’s great to be able to do these local shows.” Earley is a farm bureau member and from Hillsboro.

Hastings is from Hillsboro but has spent his life all over the country, living in New York and California doing comedy. He has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno as well as a number of comedy special tapings.

Closing

After Hastings finished, Mary Griffith took the stage again and reminded the audience to give her and the organizers feedback on the evening. The hope is that the event could be the first of many harvest parties to come since at the end of the day, it was always about recognizing the impact of farming on the county.

“Let us know if you enjoyed this and if you’d want to do it again,” she said. “This is for you and for what you do for our community.”

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Drew Hastings, nationally-known comedian and mayor of Hillsboro, performs for farm bureau members at the first ever Harvest Party at the Choctaw Lake Lodge Wednesday. The event was put on by the Madison County Farm Bureau and OSU Extension.
http://www.madison-press.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2017/09/web1_Roompiccol.jpgDrew Hastings, nationally-known comedian and mayor of Hillsboro, performs for farm bureau members at the first ever Harvest Party at the Choctaw Lake Lodge Wednesday. The event was put on by the Madison County Farm Bureau and OSU Extension. Michael Williamson | The Madison Press

Comedian Drew Hastings performed for the Madison County Farm Bureau’s Harvest Party Wednesday.
http://www.madison-press.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2017/09/web1_Hastingspiccol.jpgComedian Drew Hastings performed for the Madison County Farm Bureau’s Harvest Party Wednesday. Michael Williamson | The Madison Press

Mary Griffith, right, Madison County Extension Agent and party organizer, addresses the crowd at the Harvest Party on Wednesday. Steve Berk, left, organizational director of Farm Bureaus of Madison, Union, Delaware and Franklin counties, also spoke and co-organized the event.
http://www.madison-press.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2017/09/web1_GriffithBerkpiccol.jpgMary Griffith, right, Madison County Extension Agent and party organizer, addresses the crowd at the Harvest Party on Wednesday. Steve Berk, left, organizational director of Farm Bureaus of Madison, Union, Delaware and Franklin counties, also spoke and co-organized the event. Michael Williamson | The Madison Press

London Mayor Pat Closser, left, and Plain City Mayor Darrin Lane, right, served drinks at the Harvest Party at Choctaw Lake on Wednesday. The event was put on by the Madison County Farm Bureau as a way to give back to farmers.
http://www.madison-press.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2017/09/web1_Mayorspiccol.jpgLondon Mayor Pat Closser, left, and Plain City Mayor Darrin Lane, right, served drinks at the Harvest Party at Choctaw Lake on Wednesday. The event was put on by the Madison County Farm Bureau as a way to give back to farmers. Michael Williamson | The Madison Press

Mary Griffith, Madison County OSU Extension agent, addresses the crowd at the county Farm Bureau’s Harvest Party.
http://www.madison-press.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2017/09/web1_Griffith-Marypiccol.jpgMary Griffith, Madison County OSU Extension agent, addresses the crowd at the county Farm Bureau’s Harvest Party. Michael Williamson | The Madison Press
Farm Bureau, Extension Office join for local celebration

By Michael Williamson

mwilliamson@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach Michael Williamson at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619.