Meet Your Farmer: Kitty and Dave Holtz

087.jpgKitty Holtz, president of Delaware Farm Bureau, grew up “a country girl” — not on a farm but surrounded by farms. Her husband, David, on the other hand, always farmed. He grew up on a farm in New Jersey. They met in the summer of 1967 which prompted him to decide to move to Delaware in 1968.  It was nearly 50 years ago that they married and struck out on their own in the farming business.

“Over the years, we’ve felt proud of the fact that we were able to start with nothing, save every penny we could to build and pay for our farm.  There were some tough years with a young family – but we did it.”  Their current home farm between Clayton and Kenton is 250 acres. They lease another 1,450 acres throughout Kent County.

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“We grow grain — corn, soybeans and wheat. Most of the corn and soybeans go to feed the poultry industry,” Kitty said, adding that even if every single acre of farmland in Delaware were planted in corn there wouldn’t be enough to supply the industry.

Both Dave and Kitty are still very actively farming.  Dave and Kitty have three children, Cherie, Craig and Brent.  Their youngest son, Brent, is a partner in the farm operation.  A nephew, Lucas Holtz, works full time for the operation.  Chris Bergold (Cherie’s husband), Ruby Holtz (Brent’s wife), and two grandchildren, Jessica Bergold and Tucker Holtz, complete the family.  All members of the family have been known to jump in and help in a pinch.

The Holtzes have been Farm Bureau members since 1976. Dave has served as Kent County Director since 1987. Kitty, who retired as an Administrative Officer for the Delaware Department of Corrections after 20 years, has also been active in service to Farm Bureau. She served as the Kent County Women’s Committee Chair for eight years; State Women’s Committee Chair for one year; and served on both county and state boards. She served as Kent County Farm Bureau President for two years before being elected the president of the Delaware State Farm Bureau.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThe Holtz family was honored as the Delaware Farm Bureau’s Farm Family of the Year for 2008, after winning the Kent County Farm Family of the Year award.

 

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DFB and DFB Foundation seeking an Executive Director

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Delaware Farm Bureau and Delaware Farm Bureau Foundation

Non-profit organizations headquartered in Camden, DE

Seeking an Executive Director

Qualifications:

  • Experience and knowledge with non-profit organizational leader skills
  • Experience and knowledge with ability to manage, oversee and direct office staff
  • Experience and ability in financial oversight including budget preparation.
  • Familiarity with federal, state and local employment laws
  • Knowledge of federal and state grant requirements
  • Knowledge of agriculture, related topics and issues.
  • Knowledge of the State of Delaware (and Federal) Legislative process – Ability to relate Farm Bureau policies to legislators at state and national levels and to develop informational material that will be of assistance to the Legislature and others in understanding Farm Bureau policy.
  • Knowledge and application of Governing Rules & Regulations
  • Proficiency with MS Office software, including Word, Excel, Power Point and Outlook
  • Very strong verbal and writing skills required.
  • Ability to attend evening meetings, out of town/multi-day national meetings and other non-work hour special events.
  • Executive Director is a full time salaried position with a benefit package.
  • This position reports to the State President and State Board of Directors
  • Background check will be required after valid job offer.

The Delaware Farm Bureau is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.

Submit resume to:

K. Holtz

P.O. Box 262

Clayton, DE 19938

Posting closes – September 5, 2018

Job Type: Full-time

Letter to Editor: We need a farm bill  

By Kitty Holtz

President

Delaware Farm Bureau

 

It is unfortunate that the passage of the 2018 farm bill has been delayed. As farmers and ranchers, we know how important these programs are to our livelihood and our ability to grow the food, fuel and fiber we all enjoy. Our legislators should understand how important the farm bill is to agriculture and our rural economy. As a nation, we have the chance to support good nutrition for all and work together to protect the safe, affordable food supply we all depend on.

A core purpose of a farm bill is to help farmers and ranchers weather factors beyond our control, including weather, natural disasters, disease, and high and rising foreign subsidies, tariffs, and non-tariff trade barriers. This is especially true during hard economic times such as we are experiencing now.

American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall said, “H.R. 2—the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018—takes us one step closer to bringing certainty to families who face the toughest farm economy in more than a decade.”

Farmers are resilient, but we have lost nearly half our net farm income in the last five years, the steepest decline since the Great Depression. Farmers want to keep agriculture progressing and sustainable for current and future generations, but we must be able to hold on through the tough times to do that.

The farm bill helps provide an effective risk management plan in the form of federal crop insurance. It continues the work of streamlining and improving programs that encourage our conservation work and promote critical research and development for farming practices.

The 2018 farm bill is good for farmers and good for our country, for our local economy as well as our national economy.

Even amid great financial hardship for agriculture, farmers and ranchers are doing their part to help restrain federal spending. The farm bill reported by the House Agriculture Committee abides by the Committee’s commitments under the FY 2018 budget resolution and is on target to contribute more than $112 billion to deficit reduction over the next 10 years. These savings are roughly five times greater than initially pledged.

The new working standards and guidelines for education programs proposed in the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 would give Americans struggling with poverty not only access to the nutrition they need, but also a pathway to learn and enter a new career and get back on their feet. As farmers, we want to see the food we grow get to all Americans’ plates. Our nation’s ability to raise the next generation of citizens, soldiers and leaders depends on it.

We urge you to ask Congress to complete a new farm bill that promotes food security and a strong farm economy and that protects the thousands of jobs supported by America’s agricultural productivity.

Delaware Farm Bureau photo contest is now open!

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Attention amateur photographers! Delaware Farm Bureau has launched a photo contest showcasing agriculture in the First State. First prize in each of two age categories is $150; second prize, $100; and third prize, $75. Anyone can enter; entry fee is $5 per photo. The first entry for DFB members or their child or ward is free.

Young photographers, age 17 or younger by Sept. 30, 2018, may enter the “Budding Artist” category.

Agriculture in Delaware is as diverse as can be, with animals from chickens to buffalo, horses, swine, goats, sheep and more. Crops range from corn, soybeans and wheat to fresh vegetables and fruit. Original, unaltered photos should showcase Delaware agriculture, depicting subjects such as fresh food, farm products being grown or harvested, animals on the farm, family farm life, people working on a farm or ranch, technology use, consumer outreach or a rural scene. These categories are more fully described in the official rules at http://www.defb.org/photocontest.html.

The website includes links to download photo contest entry forms, official contest rules, judging criteria and score sheet, as well as instructions for entering online. A completed entry form must be attached to each mailed photo or accompany electronic entries.

A model release form must be submitted for each identifiable person in the photograph.

All photos become the property of DFB and will not be returned. Winning photos will be featured at DFB’s annual meeting and banquet and at the DFB office for one year.

Mail entries with check or money order to: Delaware Farm Bureau Photo Contest, Attn: Heather Kline, 3457 S. DuPont Hwy., Camden, DE 19934. Deadline is Sept. 30, 2018.

Young Farmers & Ranchers plan Strawberry Fest May 26  

Strawberry Fest Flyer 2018

Join the fun on Saturday, May 26, as the Delaware Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers hold their 9th annual YF&R Strawberry Festival at Bobola Farm and Florist, 5268 Forrest Avenue in Dover. Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and a $5 wristband allows unlimited Fun Zone Access, which includes live music by “Captain Mike,” a bounce house, petting zoo, barrel cart rides, face painting and games.

There will be strawberries, of course, fresh, red-ripe, just picked or ready for U-pick! And, you can top off a meal of fresh-smoked pulled pork sandwiches, hamburgers or hot dogs with homemade strawberry shortcake and strawberry ice cream.

Proceeds from the day goes into YF&R’s general fund that promotes leadership training, benefits community assistance, provides scholarships, and supports the FFA and 4-H through the Livestock Auction at the Delaware State Fair. A committee of the Delaware Farm Bureau which dates back to 1954, the YF&R program includes both women and men between the ages of 18 to 40 whose objective is to attract hard-working agricultural professionals and advocates through professional development and social networking activities; to empower future Delaware Farm Bureau leaders and to increase interest in agriculture as a way of life.

Plan now to attend YF&R’s next big event: the 24th Annual YF&R Antique Tractor Pull at the State Fairgrounds in Harrington on Saturday, July 28.

For more information on Delaware Farm Bureau or the Young Farmers & Ranchers organizations, visit www.defb.org, or follow the YF&R on Facebook.

Farmers, motorists urged to share the road this spring

By June Unruh

Chair

Delaware Farm Bureau Promotion & Education Committee’s “Rural Road Safety Campaign”

 

As Delaware farmers begin spring planting, we are asking motorists to take a few moments to review some very important safety measures for sharing the road.

As all motorists do, farmers perform safety checks on their equipment. One thing they check is the placement of the “Slow Moving Vehicle” (SMV) emblem on each piece of equipment they pull onto the road. Think of the SMV emblem as a warning to slow down. Tractor and combine windows must be washed to assure clear vision while operating machinery. The farmer also checks to see that all lights on the equipment are working properly.

Most people think farmers only need the highways in the fall, during harvest, but we’re on the road at least nine months of the year, maneuvering in traffic.  We need to use those roads to do our jobs, to get from one field to another. Farming is a weather-driven occupation. Sometimes we must be on the highway even if it is a weekend.

For motorists, a good understanding of farm equipment sharing the road is a must to insure their safety.  Here are just a few important points to keep in mind:

  • Pay attention. When you are not focused solely on the road, you increase your chances of a collision, especially if you should come upon slow-moving farm equipment.
  • Slow down when you see the SMV emblem. It is difficult to judge the speed at which you are closing in, especially at night.
  • Don’t assume the farmer knows you’re there.While most operators do check behind them, their main focus is on the road ahead. Farm equipment can be very loud, so the driver may not hear your vehicle.
  • Be patient.Don’t assume that a farmer can move over to let you pass. Driving on the shoulders may not be safe.
  • Watch for hand signals. Don’t assume that a slow-moving vehicle pulling to the right side of the road is going to turn right or is going to let you pass. Make sure the driver sees you before you try to pass. Some equipment needs extra room to make a wide left turn into a driveway or field.
  • Pass with extreme caution.Don’t pass unless you can see clearly ahead of both your vehicle and the farm equipment you are passing. Don’t pass near a curve, hill, intersection, bridge, or railroad crossing.
  • Remember, farm equipment cannot stop or slow down as quickly as an automobile. Don’t drive right behind farm equipment. Stay a safe distance away.

These warnings have a personal meaning for me. When one of my neighbors tragically lost his life while driving a tractor on a rural road, I initiated a “Rural Road Safety Public Awareness” campaign two years ago through the Delaware Farm Bureau and Delaware State Grange. I chair the Rural Road Safety Campaign for the DFB’s Promotion and Education Committee which has worked to educate farmers and the general public about the need to “share the road.” Our efforts culminated last year with a Delaware Ag Safety Conference in March. We won an award at the American Farm Bureau Federation Convention in January 2018 for our efforts and just completed our second annual safety conference.

While driving this spring, please watch for the bright yellow field safety signs we have distributed to help warn motorists that equipment is working nearby and may be crossing the road.

On behalf of family, friends and neighbors who are farmers, I ask all drivers to be aware of our slow moving equipment and please “Share the Road.”

A letter to the Editor from DFB President Kitty Holtz

March 26, 2018

Dear Editor:

Delaware Farm Bureau has represented Delaware Agriculture for the past 74 years.  Our mission is simply to promote and protect Delaware Agriculture through education and advocacy to ensure a quality of life for farmers and their consumers.  Delaware Agriculture is an $8 billion industry. In 2015, total value of poultry raised was $946,342,000.  Delaware ranked 8th in the nation in value of production.   Allen Harim is one of the top three broiler processing companies, employing 1,800, with 220 independent growers, 19 company-owned farms in Delaware, Maryland, and North Carolina and purchases 8 million bushels of corn from local farmers.

Delaware Farm Bureau strongly supports Allen Harim’s proposal to convert the former Vlasic pickle plant in Millsboro into a facility for deboning poultry. It is our understanding this proposal represents the creation of 165 jobs for the local community after losing 130 jobs when the Vlasic plant closed.

Allen Harim’s commitment to the community and our state is substantial and they should be encouraged to expand their facility in Delaware and not be forced to invest in another state.

According to Sussex County Economic Development, the market value of the ag industry is  $1.2 billion.  Farmland totals 270,000 acres or 45 perent of the land, and agriculture employs over 15,000 residents.  Allan Harim is a key employer. The former Vlasic location is perfect for this proposal and Allen Harim is the perfect environmental community partner to develop this facility. Their stated wastewater solution is to eliminate any stream discharge leading to the Indian River.

Although most native Delawareans understand the importance of the poultry industry to our state, I am concerned the citizens representing Sussex County’s recent 7 percent growth rate do not appreciate the economic benefit Delaware Agriculture affords them. They retire or relocate in Delaware because of tax-free shopping, low property taxes, and an abundance of fresh local food –  a direct result from our poultry companies, local farm families, and agribusinesses that call Delaware home.

Please join Delaware Farm Bureau in supporting Allan Harim’s proposal to covert an existing plant in to a deboning facility. Contact the Sussex County Board of Adjustments and your County Council representative by calling 855-7743.

 

Sincerely yours,

Katherine (Kitty) Holtz

President

Delaware Farm Bureau