The county award for Distinguished Service to Agriculture was accepted in memory of George A. Dunning Jr. by his family at the bureau's annual meeting and banquet.

George A. Dunning Jr. of Dover, formerly of the Smyrna-Clayton area, was honored posthumously by the Kent County Farm Bureau at the bureau’s annual meeting and banquet Sept. 27.

Nearly 200 people attended the event which started with the traditional dinner of fried oysters, chicken salad and all the trimmings at the Felton Fire Hall.

After the dinner, the award for Distinguished Service to Agriculture was accepted in memory of Dunning by his family. Dunning passed away July 23 after a heart attack at work while preparing for MidAtlantic Farm Credit’s 100th birthday celebration.

Marty Desmond, the regional lending manager with MidAtlantic Farm Credit and a friend and co-worker for 26 years, presented the award.

“George was born and raised on a farm in Kent County and spent much of his youth busy with milking cows, planting and harvesting crops and filling silos for local farmers,” Desmond said. “This is the period of time where George learned the meaning of hard work and developed such a strong work ethic.”

He graduated at the top of his class at Smyrna High School and also excelled in football and baseball. He and Lynda Roach married early. She worked full time while George finished his studies at the University of Delaware. George found his niche as a loan officer in the Dover Branch of MidAtlantic Farm Credit in 1990.

“George had a stellar career at Farm Credit, receiving several promotions and being honored with the President’s Award, the highest honor given to an employee. George was consistently one of the top performers,” Desmond said.

“While working full time, George also devoted much time to service to others,” Desmond said. “He was very involved at his church. He was instrumental in starting the Crop Walk, softball coach for the Little Lass [softball] program in Smyrna, treasurer for the Delaware Ag Museum, treasurer of the Kenton Ruritans, judge for the Delaware FFA and a Meals on Wheels volunteer.”

Desmond recalled that during Dunning’s last week at work, “Apryl told me that her father never had any intentions of retiring. He told her that he was being paid to do a job he loved doing, so why should he retire? He got to work with some really special people in the office and each day he had the opportunity work with the greatest customers anyone could ask for. What more could he want?”

Accepting the award were Dunning’s wife, Lynda, his daughter, Apryl Peppard, his two brothers, Jerry and Doug, and their wives.

More awards and farm news

• The Farm Family of the Year Award for Kent County was presented to the Can-non/Knutsen family of Andrewsville, southwest of Harrington.

• Margie Chase presented an award to the Michael Wilkinson Nationwide Insurance Agency, the top member producer in Kent County. Wilkinson added 30 members to Farm Bureau rolls this year. A strong supporter of Delaware Farm Bureau, Wilkinson won the same award in 2012, 2015 and 2016.

• In the Rate of Gain Contest, Drew Harris of Harrington was recognized for his 4-H sheep, which gained 0.845 pounds per day, and for his market hog, which gained 1.95 pounds per day. Other winners were Joshua Menard of Harrington, FFA sheep, 0.738 lb. per day; Mindy Cook of Newark, FFA swine; 2.28 lb. per day; Olivia Gaines of Camden, 4-H goat, 0.52 lb. per day; and Maura Breeding of Felton, FFA goat, 0.54 lb. per day.

• On behalf of Kent County Farm Bureau, Jacob Urian presented $500 each to representatives of the FFA and 4-H.

• In his opening remarks, KCFB President Jonathan Thompson asked members to contribute to the Texas and Florida Farm Bureaus’ hurricane relief funds by dropping money in containers on the table. Members contributed $825. At the top of Delaware Farm Bureau’s website, defb.org, are links for others who would like to donate.

• DFB President Kitty Holtz talked about the explosion of the deer population in the Northeast and said other states are having similar problems to Delaware. “We will be seeking legislation. We need your data. If you have suffered loss, let us know how much,” Holtz said.