SCFB lauds Baker family, Kenton
BRIDGEVILLE, Va. — Sussex County Farm Bureau held its annual banquet Oct. 6 at the Bridgeville Fire Hall and honored several of its own, including State Representative Harvey Kenton and Vernon “Chip” Baker Jr. of Millsboro.
The Baker family was selected SCFB 2018 Farm Family of the Year. Chip Baker and his wife, Judy Wharton Baker, were introduced by Burt Messick.
Baker worked at H. E. Williams & Co. feed mill in Millsboro before taking over his family’s farming operation, H&V Farms Inc.
Baker has been involved with agriculture almost his entire life. He joined Farm Bureau in 1995 and was, for a time, a Sussex County Farm Bureau director.
He grows 621 acres of corn and soybeans, all no-tilled for 25 years, and has a 50,000-capacity broiler operation. He plants different blends of cover crops on all his acres. He participates in the Conservation Stewardship Program for nutrient management, irrigation water management, conservation tillage and pest management.
He has always been willing to try innovative techniques to make the operation more productive, while preserving and enhancing the soil for future generations and protecting the environment. He stays updated on new technology and software.
Because of his interest in improving soil health and promoting soil health practices, Baker became a Delaware Soil Health Champion, joining a national network of more than 200 soil health champions.
He serves on the Soil Health Advisory Committee and received the Governor’s 2017 Conservation Award for Agriculture. He serves on the Soil Health Advisory Committee.
Harvey R. Kenton Jr. was introduced as the winner of the 2018 SCFB Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award by fellow State Representative Dave Wilson.
Born in Milford, Kenton is a graduate of Wesley College and served in the United States Navy from 1959 through 1962.
He worked for a number of companies, including DuPont in Seaford, UPS, Home Beneficial Life Insurance and Milford Fertilizer Company before being elected to the Delaware House of Representatives in 2010 while working for the Marvel Agency, where he has been employed for the last 25 years.
Rather than seek reelection this year, Kenton plans to pursue a degree in agriculture business management at Delaware Technical and Community College.
Kenton has garnered many awards, bestowed by Milford High School, Wesley College and the U.S. Navy as well as the National Future Farmers of America, People’s Place II and the Advisory Council on Career and Vocational Education, among others.
Kenton married Bonnie Jean Warnick 54 years ago and together they have three children and five grandchildren.
SCFB President Jesse Vanderwende, who won the primary election for State Representative in District 35 and is stepping down from his Farm Bureau post, applauded Delaware’s new deer control plan announced this year.
He said even more work needs to be done to solve the deer damage situation.
Also stepping down, State Farm Bureau President Kitty Holtz announced interviews will begin soon for the position of Delaware Farm Bureau executive director, vacant since Pam Bakerian retired July 31 in order to spend more time with her family. Fer husband, Dave, died on Oct. 5.
Steve Breeding conducted a brief business meeting. SCFB members unanimously accepted the proposed slate of delegates for the state convention in December. He continued with the Young Farmers and Ranchers committee report, thanking all for their support.
Women’s Committee Chair Connie Fox reported on highlights of the last year, which included packing boxes of food for Thanksgiving at Mountaire in Millsboro; a toy drive for patients at A.I. duPont Hospital for Children at Christmas and the food booth at the fair.
Fox explained changes in the ambassador program under which applicants are still in high school during their year of service. This will enable them to attend such events as banquets and the Delaware State Fair. An award for Blair Hill, the outgoing State Youth Ambassador, was accepted by her grandmother, Laura Hill.
Plaques were also presented to retiring directors Jesse Vanderwende, Doug Corey, Fred West and Dale Ockels.
Vanderwende closed the evening by encouraging fellow farmers to “keep fighting.” He continued, “A lot of people want to tear us down,” but their beliefs “are not science-based, but based on emotions.”