After 26 years serving as organizational director of the Mahoning County Farm Bureau office in Canfield, Pearle Burlingame and Administrative Assistant Sally Anderson are retiring. Along with that retirement comes an office move to Ashtabula County.
For Burlingame, it has been a long and good career, but she won't be leaving farming or the area anytime soon.
"I have no great retirement plans, it will just feel like I am on a continuous vacation," Burlingame said. "My husband, Jerry still is active with a dairy and beef farm, so I will hopefully be more available to help him, plus garden and yard work are always waiting. Our four daughters and families all live out of state, so I will be able to visit whenever I want to and not have to check my Farm Bureau schedule."
Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Finishing up last minute details, Mahoning County Farm Bureau’s Pearle Burlingame and Sally Anderson prepare to say goodbye to the office they have worked in for two-and-a half decades.
Anderson said she is planning to spend more time with her grandchildren and plans to keep busy.
Both women have long been the friendly face of Mahoning County Farm Bureau. Burlingame said at one time, the co-op and the local Farm Bureau were one and the same. She said at one time it was known as Mahoning Farm Bureau Co-op. It helped its members save money on feeds, fertilizer, seed and farm equipment as well as providing storage elevators for crops like corn.
"The Farm Bureau then became a federation and the co-op was incorporated and while both worked together to be of assistance to agriculture, they were individual in the business structure," she said.
The co-op then changed its name to Agland Co-op as it increased facilities in a good number of northeast Ohio communities. The Farm Bureau, as a separate entity, then set up offices to provide services for those involved in agriculture. The Canfield county office had always been located at Agland.
Most of what the office did was to handle services and paperwork for its members. The office also kept track of government legislation that could affect Ohio farms and even handled lobbying efforts in Washington D.C. A few years back, Burlingame helped arrange a delegation from Mahoning County that spent three days in Washington, D.C., talking to officials on various topics that affected agriculture.
Burlingame said the Ohio Farm Bureau encourages regionalization of offices, but it is only a suggestion. It is totally up to the county board of directors to make that move. Mahoning County's board decided to go that route by merging with the Ashtabula office in Orwell. That office already handles Lake, Geauga, and Trumbull counties. For the past two years, Ty Kellogg has been handling those counties and said the addition of Mahoning County won't change anything.
"We will continue to handle the services and inquiries just as Pearle and Sally have for many years," Kellogg said.
"Those who need to contact the Farm Bureau will be just a 'click' away," Burlingame said. "With technology, the office will be available by phone at 800-410-4613 , email email@example.com, Facebook (Mahoning County Farm Bureau) and online at www.mahoningfarmbureau.com. The only thing missing will be the smiling faces of Sally and myself at the office."
As for the upcoming Canfield Fair, Burlingame said the Mahoning County Farm Bureau will still be set up in the Hay and Grain Building. In fact, one may even see Burlingame or Anderson hanging around that area.
"I am retiring but not leaving the area, so will still come in contact with the many people I have worked with all of these years," she said. "I will miss the continuous contact with our volunteers. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with them in developing and implementing a variety of programs to help the non-farmers understand agriculture and to help the farmers with their needs."