Ashton--Grassroots Farm Bureau members of Fremont County Farm Bureau are celebrating the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 100th year with a food drive that will celebrate the organization's anniversary and benefit their community.
The American Farm Bureau Federation's three national program committees encouraged county members to “give back” to a variety of charities as part of the outreach, dubbed the 100-Day Centennial Challenge.
Britney Stegelmeier of the Fremont County Farm Bureau helped brainstorm a food drive in their county.
"We looked for a way to incorporate farming into our food drive. My kids love this 'Git up' dance, so I thought, 'hmmm farmers can do that and it would be fun to see' and I knew we could get a lot of donations," said Stegelmeier.
The 'Git up' dance is a line dance by Blanco Brown, and there are hundreds of "Git up' dances posted on YouTube.
"It's a fun, cowboy line-dance," said Stegelmeier. " The way the Fremont County Farm Bureau challenge works is that there are six farmers in competition and whoever gets the most boxes of food, and donations will do the 'Git up dance.
Farmers will dance with Future Farmers of America students who are also doing the food drive, at the halftime of a North Fremont basketball game in January.
"No farmer wants to win, so they're stuffing each others donation box so they don't have the honor of dancing at halftime," chuckles Stegelmeier. "We just started this week and the boxes at the store is filling up fast."
The food drive will benefit two local food banks that are in dire need of food donations right now.
"All the food gathered here in Ashton is going to the Ashton Food Pantry, and all the food gathered in South county will go their food bank," added Stegelmeier.
The American Farm Bureau says grassroots efforts capture the essence of Farm Bureau and taps into the bedrock principles of the founders.
“The very spirit of Farm Bureau and grassroots farmer and rancher members is to offer their time and talents to enhance their communities, local service groups, and charities,” said Margee Wolff, vice president of leadership, education & engagement. “As the American Farm Bureau marks and celebrates 100 years we can make the world a brighter place for families in need by working with our partners and allied organizations.”
David Jacobson of Dave's Jubilee market in Ashton donated space in the front of his store. "The food banks need food and supplies right now, this is a good cause and great way to celebrate the Farm Bureau's 100th Anniversary," said Jacobson.
Farmer Brody Harshbarger volunteered to dance, and hopes he finishes last, but according to Jacobsen his donation box is always full.
"I can dance, not many have seen it, but I can dance," said Harshbarger. "I can guarantee that I will not win this contest, I have a strategy. But win or lose we celebrate American Farm Bureau and get to help people that need it."
Fremont County farmers are still in the thick of harvest, but every farmer that was asked to participate in the 100 Day Challenge agreed to do it.
The farmers are cold, they're out in the weather getting crops in, yet here they are willing to help the community out and support the cause, It's awesome." said Stegelmeier.
The 100-day initiative kicked off Aug. 1 and runs through Nov. 8; AFBF’s official centennial date is Nov. 12.