It was a nice night. The Dover Downs venue makes this annual occasion very formal. And thanks to the impending election year, it was well attended (or crowded, however you want to look at it). There were politicians everywhere, both state officials and our 3 U.S. Congressmen. The food was good and yes, of course, Delmarva chicken was on the menu! It was a very late night since every Congressman gave welcoming comments and the featured guest, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture-Tom Vilsack, was last to give the key-note address. His speech gave indebtedness to farmers; thanking them for their efficiency (production crops) and innovation (biofuel) and most of all, for providing Americans food security.
This year the Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service to Agriculture went to two prominent names in the Delaware agriculture community: Bruce Hotchkiss and Michael Scuse. The latter is a former DE Secretary of Agriculture and currently an Under Secretary for the USDA. But most importantly, he is a farmer from Smyrna, DE. The first is the founder of the widespread Delmarva Farmer; a voice for farmers across the Mid-Atlantic. He is from a NJ dairy farm but spent 57 years as a reporter. Of the entire night, I enjoyed Mr. Hotchkiss’s words the most. He broadcasted the fact that agriculture across the country is under assault from organization’s such as the Water Keeper’s Alliance and the EPA. But he also publicized that organizations are blossoming up everywhere, to reeducate the public on the gospel of agriculture. He encouraged the crowd with two very small words: JOIN THEM!