>   The Jefferson County Farm Bureau held its annual meeting and dinner Saturday, Oct. 27, at Mazatlan Restaurant at the north end of Madras, with President Ed Chotard welcoming those attending.
   A large crowd enjoyed a delicious Mexican style buffet prepared by the restaurant staff, dining at tables decorated with an autumn harvest theme. Farm Bureau was pleased with the great turnout, as the dining area was filled to capacity, with an overflow showing up later on to listen to the speakers.
   A bountiful donation of much appreciated door prizes from Madras and Culver area merchants ensured that most everyone left with something.
   Following dinner, Rep. John Huffman opened the evening program by presenting awards to winners of the 4-H displays from Jefferson County Fair, along with special recognition to local participants working at Ag-Fest in Salem this last spring. Huffman then gave a brief legislative update on what is happening in Salem. He concluded by helping Secretary-Treasurer Mickey Killingsworth make a special presentation honoring outgoing President Ed Chotard.
   Chotard has served as president for more than 10 years and received an embroidered jacket with his name and Jefferson County Farm Bureau. Identity Zone of Madras supplied the jacket and special embroidery.
   The first program speaker of the evening was Madras' own Liz Weigand, with a presentation of "My Roots Yesterday and Today."
   Raised on her family's Agency Plains farm, Weigand's current endeavor is Agricultural Connections. This is an Internet-based business, in which she connects producers and their products to buyers. It is similar to a CSA (community supported agriculture) but rather than buying a seasonal share, her customers can buy what they want and when they want. They place orders on her website, she gathers from her suppliers and makes the deliveries.
   The other speakers for the evening were Scott Andrews and Rich Affeldt, of Central Oregon Basalt Products. A consortium of investors began this operation to quarry large chunks of basalt (averaging 35 tons) from their site in northern Jefferson County for the Columbia River Jetty Project.
   When the government put the project on hold, they looked for other ways to make the quarry viable. Crushing the smaller pieces to a manageable size then bringing it into Madras to further grind it down into a grit or sand form, they developed a soil amendment.
   After employees had tested it on their own trees, shrubs and gardens, Affeldt began some scientific experiments in a controlled situation. This product is now being marketed as Cascade Minerals, an all natural soil amendment, available in Madras at the Garden Depot, and in Bend and is being shipped to California as well.
   Rounding out the evening's festivities was the annual business meeting with reports and election of officers. Oregon Farm Bureau staff member Dan Heibel and Country Financial representative Ray Austin spoke briefly.
   After a nomination report by Paul Clowers, a unanimous ballot was cast to elect officers. New officers are: Sue Vanek, president; Gary Harris, vice president; Mickey Killingsworth, secretary-treasurer, Nancy Klatt, women's chairman; Jason Pihl and Gary Richards, young farmer and rancher co-chairmen; and directors will be Chotard, Clowers and Roy Hyder.
   Delegates to the 2012 Oregon Farm Bureau Convention in Salem on Dec. 3-6 will be Mickey Killingsworth and Gary Harris.
   This story was submitted by Nancy Klatt of the Jefferson County Farm Bureau.
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