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Reese, Dunn earn first-ever Halifax Farm Bureau awards

South Boston News
The late Jay Reese of Reese Farms was honored as Producer of the Year by Halifax County Farm Bureau. Shown are Halifax Farm Bureau President Garland Comer, Rosemary Reese, Trey Reese holding Weston, Trey’s wife Erin Reese, and Halifax Farm Bureau Vice President Charles Fears. / October 04, 2021

Halifax County Farm Bureau honored the late Jay Reese with its first-ever Producer of the Year award and recognized Billy Dunn as a friend of Halifax County agriculture as local chapter members gathered at Edmunds Park for their annual meeting.

Farm Bureau opted to hold the annual meeting and banquet in the outdoors setting due to the pandemic, and the dinner and speeches were kept short. Brief as it was, however, this marked the first banquet in which the Farm Bureau board has presented awards to local farming standouts, an idea inspired by Farm Bureau meetings in nearby parts of Virginia.

“I’ve seen awards given in surrounding counties and thought we should recognize our outstanding members, too,” said Garland Comer, Halifax Farm Bureau board president. Comer, owner of Lazy C Farms in Vernon Hill, is in his first year leading the HFB.

The inaugural Producer of the Year award was given in memory of Julius Hudson “Jay” Reese Jr., owner of Reese’s Farm Fresh Produce who died in February 2020. Accepting the award on behalf of the Scottsburg family operation was Jay Reese’s wife, Rosemary, and their son Trey.

The Friend of Halifax County Agriculture award was given to Dunn, in recognition of his work to help countless farmers in the area, said Comer. “With everything I hold near and dear to me, Billy was right there building it with me,” he said.

Members gathered at the Edmunds Park shelter for remarks by guest speaker, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Director Robert Mills Jr., who shared a few words of appreciation and support for local farmers. Mills represents District 10, which includes the counties of Campbell, Pittsylvania, and Halifax.

“It is an honor to serve you on this board,” said Mills. “Your accomplishments during these trying times of the pandemic have been amazing.” Mills added that “it is my pleasure to take your agriculture concerns to Richmond.”

Halifax County Farm Bureau board members approved three resolutions to present to the state federation in Richmond. The first is to support legislation for VDOT to implement new standards for mowing grass along road rights-of-way, to make it easier and safer for large farm equipment to maneuver on state roads. The second is to oppose the repeal of the minimum wage’s agriculture exemption. Without the exemption, producers say, they will be required to pay unrealistic wages for farm labor.

Lastly, the county Farm Bureau requested further funding and research into row crops as an alternative for growers in the Southern Piedmont area.

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