Bakerian retires from DFB post
DOVER, Del. — Former State Representative Pam Bakerian has retired as Executive Director of the Delaware Farm Bureau, effective July 31, in order to spend more time with family.
“I have served the organization well,” Bakerian said. “I have set a strong foundation and leave knowing I have prepared Delaware Farm Bureau for success. I wish them well.”
Bakerian listed as the greatest achievements of her career in the legislature and at Farm Bureau the repeal of estate taxes for farmers, the creation of the Delaware Farm Bureau Foundation and launching of the ag lab educational program.
From 2000-10, Bakerian, a Republican, represented the 29th District (west of Dover) in the General Assembly. She was able to get an amendment passed that exempted farmers from paying state inheritance taxes. She also co-sponsored, with Sen. Nancy Cook, legislation allocating $10 million annually from the transfer of realty taxes to permanently fund farmland preservation. As chairwoman of the tax ditch task force, she pushed for reformed tax ditch requirements, including listing tax ditch right of ways on deeds.
Bakerian resigned from her legislative position to be executive director of the Farm Bureau in 2010. She had previously been serving as its public relations director.
“I’ve had the opportunity to support and protect agriculture through my legislative experience, as executive director and through the DFB Foundation,” she said. “We have launched programs that truly have a direct impact on Delaware farm families.”
Five years ago, Bakerian was instrumental in helping launch the foundation, a non-profit organization with the mission to build awareness, understanding and positive public perception about Delaware’s farm operations, promote fresh local food and sponsor the Ag Education Mobile Classroom. She met twice with Pennsylvania’s Farm Bureau’s Friends of Agriculture Foundation leaders to learn how they had achieved success and raised money.
When New Castle County farmer Scott Unruh shared a desire to raise money to provide funds for milk for the Ministry of Caring, the Foundation launched, as its first project, the annual 5K Milk Run, which has raised $69,000 for the Ministry of Caring and additional funds for the Neighborhood House.
Bakerian personally negotiated the donation of a trailer from Delaware Department of Agriculture to launch the “Ag Education Mobile Lab” program and raised the funds necessary to purchase a new truck to haul it. To date, more than 10,000 students have participated in the Ag Lab experience which is now offered to schools year round, thanks to a grant from the Longwood Foundation which funded air conditioning and heat.
“The challenge for the next director will be to expand the Ag Lab program to reach children with ag accurate materials throughout the state,” Bakerian said. It is her hope that the foundation will be able to hold a conference for teachers to take agriculture into the classroom.
Bakerian helped take Delaware Farm Bureau into the realm of social media. As public relations director, she created the organization’s first Facebook account and updated the website. An e-digest now goes out weekly to farmers with news about the industry and associate members receive “Fresh from the Farm Bureau,” an email newsletter with recipes and information that encourages them to “buy local.”
Bakerian also worked on avenues of non-dues income. Delaware Farm Bureau has received two $50,000 grants to promote specialty crops and is in line to receive a third grant this year, she said. Over the past 10 years, DFB has received a total of more than $240,000 in grants.
Working with DFB’s Transportation Committee to resolve a problem with stolen farm tags being used for illegal purposes, Bakerian helped get Farm Vehicle tags introduced, then personally asked Jennifer Cohen, secretary of the Delaware Department of Transportation, to allocate the first 10 tags to be sold at auction by the DFB Foundation.
In the last year, she has initiated stakeholder meetings to discuss crop damage and a need for a new Deer Management Program.
Bakerian has been recognized for distinguished service to agriculture by the state legislature, Kent County Levy Court and New Castle County. During this year’s Delaware State Fair, she was recognized by Gov. John Carney for her service to agriculture as a state representative and through Farm Bureau.
“Pam is a delightful person to work with. We work to protect and preserve agriculture and Pam is a big part of that,” Carney said. “Thanks, Pam. We appreciate everything you do.”
On her last day in the office, Bakerian said she did have regrets about leaving. “I will regret losing touch with so many special people I have had the privilege to work with over the years. There are so many people from American Farm Bureau Foundation, county Farm Bureaus, state Farm Bureaus, Nationwide representatives, government officials, the business community and Delaware Farm Bureau members who have supported and assisted me in achieving goals and objectives I could not have achieved alone. The past ten years have been very rewarding.”
Delaware Farm Bureau is seeking a new executive director. Details on the position and how to apply are posted at www.defg.org.
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