Delaware’s Grassroots Ag Champion

Every cause longs for a well-spoken, trusted advocate and they aren’t easy to find. There’s no doubt about it, Delaware agriculture has a champion in Rep. Dave Wilson. Only second to his constituents, Delaware agriculture is Rep. Wilson’s #1 priority. His commitment to securing farm land preservation state funds is critical to securing the future of Delaware farmers; not to mention its relation to preserving open space for all Delaware citizens. He pushed through House Bill 124 this past legislative session to fight for realty transfer tax dollars that were originally earmarked for ag land preservation. Needless to say, Delaware’s ag land preservation fund has only received a small fracture of these funds. Keep in mind, this bill would change our state Constitution, which requires 2/3 passing vote by each house in two consecutive general assemblies. This is a tough feat, for any cause. Rep. Wilson even told me that a prominent agricultural leader discouraged him from pursuing it because of budget constraints. But Rep. Wilson pursued it anyway. Why? Because that’s exactly what champions do! They aren’t afraid to be the underdog and in the process, they bring positive media attention and education about land preservation to those who have no clue that agriculture is Delaware’s #1 economic industry. The bill did not pass the first leg but it was close! He garnered 20 yes votes from his colleagues and he promises to try again.

More recently, his primary opponent brought attention to Rep. Wilson’s own participation in the ag preservation program (all public information on the DDA website). While I understand and appreciate the transparency, I believe most of the agricultural community know the history. You see, if Rep. Wilson wanted to get in when the “getting was good”, he would’ve taken advantage of the program in its earlier inception years when the average collective discount was well below 50%. If you really care to dig more on this issue, then let’s just mention the two former sitting legislators who DID take advantage early on: Rep. Wallace Caulk (Round 1, 1996, 27% collective discount, total over $770,000) and Rep. George Carey (1997, 33% collective discount, total over a million dollars). And guess what? Neither are public champions for the program nor currently advocate for funding such as Rep. Wilson.

Let me try explaining another way. Farmers who participate in this program, sell their development rights back to the state at a fracture of what they’re worth. It can never be sold for development or non-agricultural use.  You may only see large dollar sign totals but again, this is a fracture of what the land is appraised. For the state, it provides open space preservation for the future and ensures funding to our #1 economic industry. For farmers, it is a funding source that gives them some value for their property without selling out and can ensure their future relatives remain in farming practice. Let’s face it, they’re basically doing the state a favor by promising to never develop their land for minimal cost.

In other words, Rep. Wilson has nothing more to gain. All of his land is being preserved, which tells me he believes and trusts in the program enough to participate and wants to garner more funds for his fellow farming colleagues. Most probably know he was a farmer, horse breeder, and auctioneer first and our only active farmer in Delaware’s legislative body. Even better than an advocate is an advocate who has been on the ground, actively involved in the work, known as “grassroots”. There is NO other current Delaware legislator that can say his or her priority is Delaware agriculture. Based on this, I believe Delaware agriculture has a “grassroots” champion in Rep. Dave Wilson. We need to keep him in our legislature to preserve ag lands and our future in farming!

For more information, click here. To get involved in Rep. Wilson’s campaign, click here.

In Memory-Ruth Ann Messick

In Memory of Ruth Ann Messick (Mom-Mom)

Feb. 14, 1931 ~ Sept. 9, 2015

Ruth Ann (Vincent) Messick was born on Valentine’s Day, 1931 to the late Ruth Adams Vincent and Hugh Vincent. She moved around a lot as a child, as her parents ran several country stores and a gas station (such as Andrewville store). They settled in Farmington in 1948. Mom-mom was 17 years old. On April 29, 1951 she married Robert E. Messick. Mom-Mom was 20 years old. The family of all R’s, Robert & Ruth Ann had 3 girls-Rebecca, Rita, & Rochelle in 1953, 1955, & 1960 respectively. But the real fun began when the 1st of 8 grandkids was born, my brother Breck, in 1973. The last, Lauren, was born in 1990.

To me, Mom-Mom was the conductor. We were all just members of her band. I picture her now, sitting in the kitchen on the phone, checking in on everyone. She would make a to-do list everyday for her and Pop-Pop. That to-do list would consist of sending off daily birthday cards, writing letters, cooking a pot roast for one of us for dinner, taking a newspaper to a friend, or helping one of her grandchildren. Of course, one of her favorite things to do was to rush off to a yard sale or auction. She collected DE church plates, DE glass, railroad insulators, strawberry tickets, oil lanterns, Dionne quintuplets memorabilia, DE postcards, and Farmington history. One time she said to me, “Well, you have to collect something, Christy. What’s it gonna be?”. She loved all things related to Greenwood Alumni and 4-H. Her basement is a testimony to Peach Blossom 4-H Club with many old pictures of club members spanning 40 years. She was always working on something-sewing for dress revue, a place setting for favorite foods, window displays, floats, and typing project books.

Her mind and thoughts were always with her grandkids. She was always ready to go, go, go with us. Trips to D.C., New York City, the cottage at the beach, plus ball games, proms, graduations, 4-H events, college days, weddings, and continuing the celebration with 5 great-grandchildren. But as I tried to dig out old pictures of Mom-Mom, I couldn’t find many. I have a ton with Pop-Pop but Mom-Mom was always behind the camera. However, in my box I did have a ton of letters from her. They mean more to me than a picture because in her notes she showed me her love, empathy, and concern. In a world where our noses tend to be stuck in our cell phones and a personal letter is an artifact, I have these snapshots in time from a grandmother with a ton of other interests who took 5 minutes to think about me.

But what I’ll miss most are the phone calls. She was the first one to call me after my wedding to say “We had so much fun. We love Scott. Don’t worry about anything here. Have fun on your honeymoon”. And she was the first to call after my husband’s Mom passed and said, “We loved her, too. How can we help you and Scott?”.

I’m sure each grandchild has a ton of their own memories. For me, she’s the reason I’m a Democrat and why I love Delaware history. She took me to Pea Patch Island, Patty Cannon House, and Woodland Ferry growing up. She’s the reason why I have a lead foot and speed too much. She’s the reason I love antiques and a really good yard sale. She’s also the reason I boss my husband around way too much, just like she did Pop-Pop. And she’s the reason why I can’t keep my hands still.

For Pop-Pop I picked the word devoted. For Mom-Mom, I picked the word hands-on. She was certainly a hands-on grandmother. For Pop-Pop, I said I would teach my boy how to give a really big bear hug. For Mom-Mom, I’ll teach him how to take 5 minutes out of his day to call a neighbor or write a thank you note. I thank God that she’s reunited with Pop-Pop in heaven. Rest in Peace, Mom-Mom Ruth.

Messicks w Joyce at Rehearsal Dinner

Rehearsal Dinner-September 21, 2012 Joyce Wright in center Pop-Pop & Mom-Mom Messick on far right

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At our wedding, after the anniversary dance, which they won. Mom-Mom & Pop-Pop Messick in center.

Chance-newborn

August 31, 2014. Holding Chance.

Australian Shepherd Pups Available

NEW LITTER BORN JULY 12, 2015-READY FOR PICK-UP ON AUGUST 22, 2015!

We love Australian Shepherd’s! Lucy, our black bi female, just had a litter of 9 puppies on July 12, 2015. Deuce is our red merle male with amber/green eyes. This breed of dog is known for its intelligence and herding skills. Our Aussie’s love being around family and kids. They also love being active and need room to run and play.

Deuce-The proud Dad

The dad, Deuce, is a red merle. He’s 4 years old.

The proud Mom

Lucy, the proud mom, is a black bi. She has a little tan on her hind legs. She’s 3 years old.

You can register your pup with the National Stock Dog Registry (NSDR). Both our female and male are registered. All of our puppies come with their first set of shots, health certificate, and tail docked. We require a non-refundable $100 deposit in order to hold a specific puppy for you until it is old enough to go to its new home. The remaining balance is due at the time you pick up your puppy.  We do not offer shipping. After confirming the puppy you want us to hold for you, you have 7 days to get the deposit to us. If we do not receive the deposit in those 7 days the puppy will then become available to other buyers.  Ready for pick-up on August 22, 2015!  Call 302-362-0831 (Scott) or 302-245-1793 (Christy) to reserve yours!

Pictures of Litter #3 below
Born July 12, 2015 (Baseball All-Star Week)
Pictures will be updated each week-https://farmerdansdaughter.com/aussie-pups/

Cal – Blue Merle Male – $600-SOLD 7/29/2015
(Dark gray, black spots, white blaze, belly and socks)

Phone Download July 2015 334Phone Download July 2015 335

Eddie – Black Bi Male – $500-SOLD 7/29/2015
(solid black back, white speck on forehead and muzzle, white socks on front paws, no tan visible yet)

Phone Download July 2015 343Phone Download July 2015 344

Brady – Red Merle Female – $600-SOLD 8/3/2015
(white blaze and speck on forehead, white socks, more red spots on left face and foreleg)

Phone Download July 2015 338 Phone Download July 2015 336

Brooks – Red Merle Female – $600-SOLD 8/2/2015
(looks very similar to Brady but more white on neck)

Phone Download July 2015 331 Phone Download July 2015 332

Manny – Red Bi Female – $500-SOLD 8/2/2015
(Solid red back, white muzzle, belly & socks, no tan visible yet)

Phone Download July 2015 322 Phone Download July 2015 320

Tippy – Red Bi Female – $500-SOLD 8/15/2015
(white tuft on neck and blaze, more white on legs, no tan visible left)

Phone Download July 2015 318 Phone Download July 2015 317

Palmer – Black Bi Female – $500-SOLD 8/22/2015
(Large white collar and belly, no tan visible yet)

Phone Download July 2015 327 Phone Download July 2015 323

Dempsey – Black Bi Female – $500-SOLD 8/22/2015
(thin white on belly, white blaze and muzzle, black spots on nose, no tan yet)

Phone Download July 2015 341 Phone Download July 2015 340

Weaver – Black Bi Female – $500-SOLD 8/23/2015
(half black & white muzzle, solid black back, small white white socks)

Phone Download July 2015 349 Phone Download July 2015 345

Australian Shepherd Pups-Lucy & Deuce, Litter #2

NEW LITTER BORN JANUARY 8, 2015-READY FOR PICK-UP ON MARCH 5, 2015!

We love Australian Shepherd’s! Lucy, our black bi female, just had a litter of 8 puppies on January 8, 2015 (Elvis Presley’s Birthday). Deuce is our male and he is a red merle with amber/green eyes. This breed of dog is known for its intelligence and herding skills. Our Aussie’s love being around family and kids. They also love being active and need room to run and play. Thank you for visiting our site.

Lucy is in front. She is 2 years old. Deuce is in back. He is 3 years old.

Our Aussie’s: Lucy is in front. She is 3 years old. Deuce is in back. He is 4 years old.

Deuce-The proud Dad

Deuce is a red merle.

The proud Mom

Lucy, the proud mom, is a black tri. She has a little tan on her hind legs.

You can register these puppies with the National Stock Dog Registry (NSDR). Both our female and male are registered. All of our puppies come with their first set of shots, health certificate, and tail docked. We require a non-refundable $100 deposit in order to hold a specific puppy for you until it is old enough to go to its new home. We then require the remaining balance at the time you are picking up your puppy.  We do not offer shipping. After confirming the puppy you want us to hold for you, you have 7 days to get the deposit to us. If we do not receive the deposit in those 7 days the puppy will then become available to other buyers.

Ready for pick-up on March 5, 2015! Please call 302-362-0831 (Scott) or email christyvwright@gmail.com to reserve yours!

IMG_20150109_172422_679


MALES

ELVIS-Blue Merle Male-$600-SOLD on 1/31

(gray blue with black spots, he has a large black spot on left eye)

Elvis 4Elvis 3Elvis 2


AARON-Black-Tri Male-$500

(solid black back with white paws & belly, very little tan on legs)

Aaron 3Aaron 2Aaron 1


PRESLEY-Red-Tri Male-$500

(solid red back, white stripe on belly, & tan/white paws)

Presley 3Presley 2Presley 1


FEMALES

LISA-Red-Tri Female-$500-SOLD on 1/23

(white tuft on back, stripe on head/nose, white & tan feet)

Lisa 2Lisa 3Lisa 4


MARIE-Red-Tri Female-$500-SOLD on 1/24

(white speck on nose, white collar on right of neck, white & tan socks)

Marie 1Marie 2Marie 3


PRISCILLA-Red Merle Female-$600-SOLD on 1/19

(white tuft on neck, more spots on right side, white paws & belly)

Prisc 2Prisc 4Prisc 3


GRACE-Red Merle Female-$600-SOLD on 1/22

(no tuft or collar, white paws & belly)

Grace 1Grace 2Grace 3


GLADYS-Black-Tri Female-$500SOLD on 2/7

(white collar on left neck, white belly & socks, small stripe on head and black speck on nose)

Gladys 4Gladys 5Gladys 2Gladys 3

New Year, New Session, New Ag Committee Chairs

There are 62 Legislators in the DE General Assembly. Many are former teachers. Some run small businesses. A few have backgrounds in healthcare. Five are former police officers (according to a recent DE State News article). But NONE are full-time FARMERS. As a matter of fact, out of 62, only a handful have any experience in agriculture at all.

On the House side, the closest we get is Representative’s Dave Wilson (a part-time farmer and horse breeder), Harvey Kenton (retired from Milford Fertilizer-now Growmark FS, LLC), and Jack Peterman (retired farmer). All are Republicans and in the minority caucus, which doesn’t hold much weight when it comes to committee chairmanship. Chairs of each committee come from the majority caucus, which is currently the Democrat party for both chambers in Delaware. The former chair of the Ag Committee, John Atkins-D, lost in the last election. The Vice-chair was Quinn Johnson-D, who actually grew up on a truck crop farm in Maryland but is more involved in his family daycare business in Middletown. All of the above served on last year’s Ag committee.

On the Senate side, there’s even less ag experience and its all in the minority caucus. The best I can find is Senator Brian Pettyjohn (grew up on a farm and worked for Mountaire Farms). These are a stretch but somewhat related to ag: Senator’s Ernie Lopez (works for UD Cooperative Extension/4-H) and Gerald Hocker (owns his own family grocery store). Again, all are Republicans. The former Chair was Bruce Ennis-D, who’s a former state policeman.

So why care who chairs our Ag committee? A committee chair can have significant power by setting the committee’s agenda and determining when and whether bills will be considered. Other responsibilities of a committee chair typically include calling the committee together to perform its duties. In the past, the Delaware House and Senate Ag Committees often join together to meet. Last year, both Ag committee’s in either chamber met only a handful of times. It often seems to be at the request of our Secretary of Ag, who seems to drive the agenda in Delaware. Last session’s proposed legislation focused on the declining horse industry in Delaware (another recent article for the DE State News). The committee not meeting often means there isn’t much policy being formulated, which to many farmers is a good sign because it means less regulation and government interference. But I don’t think this will be the case in future years. Just watching Maryland grapple with the proposed “Phosphorus Management Tool (PMT)” is painful. Many other state legislatures’ are considering other bills harmful to the ag industry, such as ag-gag laws and GMO labeling campaigns. This is why I was disappointed that a proposed right-to-farm bill (HB 63) went nowhere last session. We need legislators with ag experience to serve and chair this committee to protect our #1 industry by convening this group regularly, setting an agenda to protect their farming constituents, and working with the only pro-farm lobbying group-the Delaware Farm Bureau. Given the lack of experience, especially on the Democratic side, I’m guessing the new chairs will have little experience in agriculture, which is not good when it comes to protecting our #1 industry. Wouldn’t it help to have a pro-active Ag committee stacked with ag-educated legislators on our side?  It’s often too late to educate policy-makers when a bill is already on the table. Especially when our best advocates sit in the minority caucus.

All committee assignments and chairs, appointed by the House Speaker and President Pro Temp, should be announced soon as the 148th DE General Assembly reconvenes on Jan. 13, 2015. New Ag committee chairs will be named. Stay tuned.

 

 

Rearranging

I was doing so good. I started the year off right with 6 blog posts in January of 2013. I refreshed the blog homepage and caught up on my ag reading. I rearranged and cleaned up from the wedding and the holidays. But then life happens. Things change and you rearrange again. Some things get done well. Others get lost in the transition, such as my work with this blog. But I’m catching up and looking forward to the future! Here’s the reason for so much “rearranging”:

On Feb. 1, we settled on a new home and a small farm. We have been cleaning, painting, and rearranging ever since.

On Feb. 1, we settled on a new home with some acreage. We have been cleaning, painting, and “rearranging” ever since.

At the end of February, our church lost a loved one, Mrs. Barb Hanson. She was one of the first ones that reached out to me as a guest this time last year. She helped me with our wedding and was so excited we chose Prospect as our church and on our wedding day. She was always smiling. The last time we talked, she was excited to come over and see our new house. We will miss her...

At the end of February, our church lost a loved one, Mrs. Barb Hanson. She was one of the first members that reached out to me as a visitor this time last year. She helped me with our wedding and was so excited we chose Prospect for our wedding day (as you can see above). She was always smiling. The last time we talked, she was excited to come over and see our new house. We will miss her…

In March, I began to teach a 7 week political course for Wilmington University. I usually teach quite a few courses over the winter as a part-time adjunct. It's my way to stay involved in teaching but it takes up a lot of my spare time. I also developed a health care policy course online. I take the material from the text and convert it to an online format using Blackboard. Very time consuming and challenging. All of the courses I'm involved in are for the new Government & Public Policy undergraduate program at Wilmington University. My goal is to lighten my load in the future to "rearrange" my spare time priorities.

In March, I began teaching a 7 week political course for Wilmington University. Since 2009, I have taught quite a few courses over the winter as a part-time adjunct. It’s my way to stay involved in teaching but it takes up a lot of my weekends and spare time. I also developed a health care policy course online. I take the material from the text and convert it to an online format using Blackboard. It’s very time-consuming and challenging. All of the courses I work on are for the new Government & Public Policy undergraduate program at Wilmington University. I’m looking forward to a break over the summer! My goal is to lighten this load as I “rearrange” my spare time priorities.

By the end of March, I had already found a greenhouse frame for sale. Breck, Dad and I went to pick it up. I can't wait to get it up at our new place. At the same time, Scott was working on framing in our pole barn.

By the end of March, I already found a greenhouse frame for sale. Farmer Dan, Breck, and I went to pick it up. I can’t wait to get it up at our new place. At the same time, Scott was working on the inside of our pole barn.

April is the month for birthdays in my family. Pop-Pop Messick, Danna, Derek, Devon, Alanna, Brielle, Jesse, and Townsend celebrated their birthday. Here Alanna celebrates turning 12! Brielle turned 9!

April is the month for birthdays in my family. Pop-Pop Messick, Danna, Derek, Devon, Alanna, Brielle, Jesse, and Townsend celebrated birthdays. Here, Alanna celebrates turning 12! Brielle turned 9! Where did the time go? They’re going to be taller than me soon!

Breck and Mom also got back into the greenhouse in late March and early April. Most of the flowers are ready now. Mom and I have been updating our website and working on farmer's market applications. Amber has been helping as well and decided to try out the Milton Farmer's market, which is on Friday nights from 3:30-6:30 pm. Its a success so far-they sold out of all flowers and veggies last Friday!

Breck and Mom also got back into the greenhouse in late March and early April. Most of the flowers are ready now. Mom and I have been updating our website (www.lilwagon.com) and working on farmer’s market applications. Amber has been helping and decided to try out the Milton Farmer’s market, which is on Friday nights from 3:30-6:30 pm. It’s a success so far-they sold out of all flowers and veggies last Friday! We begin Milford farmer’s market on Sat., May 4, 9am-1pm.

And by the end of April, we are getting ready to plant our own little garden. We're also "rearranging" the landscaping and the driveway. Lots of work to do! I spent most of the weekend washing windows.

And by the end of April, we are getting ready to plant our first garden. We’re also “rearranging” the landscaping and the driveway. Lots of work to do! I spent most of the weekend washing windows. Scott worked on the yard.

And last but not least, our pups have finally adjusted to all the rearranging. Lucy (black, female) was a little unsure at first but loves to sit on the back step in the sun with me now. She also loves to lick on the neighbor's kids! Deuce loves all the room to run and roll around. Lucy will be 1 year old in May.

And last but not least, our pups have finally adjusted to all the rearranging. Lucy (black, female) was a little unsure at first but loves to sit on the back step in the sun with me. She also loves to lick on the neighbor’s kids! Deuce loves all the room to run and roll around with his bone. Lucy will be 1-year-old in May. We hope for lots of puppies in the future!

3 Generations of Farmers

Just wanted to share a picture my sister took on my grandparents farm just west of Harrington. She recently submitted it to the Delmarva Farmer for their annual 2012 photo contest. She took the picture out of the back of the truck as my Pop-Pop (far right), Cody (middle), and Uncle Jimmy (far left) rode on the back of the tailgate. They were moving around equipment while harvesting soybeans.  You can even see the dust rolling behind them.  Pop-Pop told me over the holidays that he liked the picture and said he didn’t even know my sister had taken it. He also mentioned that many people from the community mentioned they saw it and liked it as well.

Uncle Jimmy (far left), Cody (middle), Pop-Pop Bill (far right) sit on the tailgate as my sister gave them a ride to their equipment during the 2012 fall harvest.

Uncle Jimmy (far left), Cody (middle), Pop-Pop Bill (far right) sit on the tailgate as my sister gave them a ride to their equipment during the 2012 fall harvest.

From Jan. 4, 2012, see also 3 Generations of Farming“.