24 Sep Farmer statue pays tribute to those who feed the nation

Thursday, September 23, 2010

RICHMOND—A life size statue honoring those who’ve contributed almost $79 billion annually to Virginia’s economy was unveiled yesterday at Virginia Farm Bureau Federation’s West Creek headquarters.

The 6-foot, 3-inch bronze farmer stands in a field of early corn, gazing off into the distance, contemplating the future of his crop. The statue represents Virginia farmers and those across the United States who help feed and clothe the world.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one farmer today feeds 155 people. Based on that figure, Virginia Farm Bureau’s 38,600 farmer members are feeding approximately 5.9 million people.

“Without a doubt, now anyone walking through the door will know that we are an agricultural organization,” said VFBF President Wayne F. Pryor.

“This statue tops off what we’ve done here for the last 18 years,” added Jerry Jenkins, a member of the VFBF board of directors who helped plan the West Creek building. “We hope that when people walk in the door they’ll see the culture of Farm Bureau by viewing the statue.”

Jenkins said that culture embraces the concept that farmers are optimistic, hard-working, honest and fair. He also noted that the company is family-oriented and community-minded, and the most important part of Farm Bureau is its farmer members.

Farm Bureau was formed nearly 85 years ago to provide a collective voice for farmers in the legislature, Congress and on the local level.

It was formed to also provide services for farmers and to increase their buying power for seed, feed and other farm-related products.

The idea to honor farmers stemmed from a Rockbridge County Farm Bureau resolution, which stated that farmers have made huge contributions to this country but haven’t received the recognition they deserve. They recommended that Virginia Farm Bureau create some sort of tribute.

A committee was formed and the members decided on the farmer statue.

The custom statue was based on a sketch by Brenda Bulifant, senior subrogation specialist for Virginia Farm Bureau. Bulifant, who grew up on a Lunenburg County tobacco farm, was asked to draw a farmer standing in a field looking out at his crops and contemplating how well they would grow. That became the basis for the life-size farmer.

The statue was sculpted by Matt Glenn, president of Big Statues Inc. in Provo, Utah. It is mounted on a base of Pennsylvania sandstone from Richmond-based Luck Stone, Inc.

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