The Orange County Chamber of Commerce and the Orange County Review are partnering to highlight a Chamber business of the month. Those recognized are Chamber members who demonstrate support for both the Chamber and the community. Each month, a different business (selected by the Chamber) will be featured with a questionnaire designed to give the community some insight into both the business and the individuals responsible for its success.
This month, the Chamber recognizes Orange County Farm Bureau which is part of Virginia Farm Bureau, the largest non-profit agricultural advocacy organization in Virginia. With the support of its members, it helps protect farming, agriculture, and the Virginia way of life. Orange County Farm Bureau also offers insurance services to protect the lives and livelihoods not just of Virginia’s farmers, but all Virginians.
For this month’s business spotlight, we spoke with Orange County Farm Bureau President Andy Hutchison and member producer Doug Harris.
13438 James Madison Hwy., Orange
Describe your business
Hutchison: Farm Bureau is comprised of the Orange County Farm Bureau and the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation and Farm Bureau Insurance. A lot of the laws that benefit farmers start local at the Farm Bureau like this one.
Harris: Farm Bureau is open to everyone. You don’t have to have Farm Bureau insurance.
Hutchison: You can be a member of Farm Bureau and not have the insurance. It’s about policy development, political action and advocacy. It’s a grassroots organization. A lot happens at the county level, then it goes to district and then to the state to further define.
What’s the best thing
about Farm Bureau?
Harris: It’s a great group to work with. We don’t always agree, but we are one. We’re informed and strong—a group, a team.
Hutchison: Before I came on the board, I didn’t know what Farm Bureau did. You go to a state meeting, and you know you can get something done. It’s grassroots.
Harris: You get the satisfaction of helping people.
What’s the best thing about being in business in Orange County?
Hutchison: Agriculture is the biggest industry in Orange County. Our constituents are in agriculture. We want to do what’s best for them and what’s best for agriculture in Orange County.
What did you want to be when you grew up and what was your first job?
Harris: Working with my adoptive grandpa. We’d get up and milk cows at 2:45 before I went to school and he’d be the first person at his diner when it opened at 6. I’d go home and get a nap before school, but he always told me, “I’m glad I got to see you this morning.” I learned something important from him that was principally important the rest of my life. He was good, hardworking and trustworthy. Thinking back, I wanted to work with people who had that integrity and work ethic … and not start work before 3 a.m.
Hutchison: First job or first “paying” job? I grew up on a farm helping my mother and father. Then I helped my neighbors get up hay. Then, I did heavy construction work. I always figured I’d be involved with agriculture.
What’s your hidden talent or
something most folks
don’t know about you?
Hutchison: If I told you my hidden talent, it wouldn’t be hidden anymore.
Harris: From a Farm Bureau perspective, we aren’t as well understood as we could or should be. We don’t communicate our ability to bring a larger group together to network and accomplish what benefits agriculture and our community.
Favorite book or movie?
Hutchison: I like to read—a lot. C.J. Box—Joe Pickett, a Wyoming game warden. I like David Baldacci. And non-fiction and historical books.
Harris: I don’t remember the author, but the book was titled, “Who Moved My Cheese.” It is about how things change and adapting to that change—personally and from a business standpoint.
What’s on your playlist?
Hutchison: I don’t listen much to the radio. If anything, I have it on WTOP, news and weather.
Harris: I’ve been in 20 states in the last two months… I listen to country music.
Who is someone
you really admire?
Harris: Emory Brubaker—the manager of a co-op I worked at as a young college graduate. He made an impression on me. He said, “If you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything until it becomes clear.” He also said, “Treat a man not as he is, but as he might become and more than likely he will become that.”
Hutchsison: My family. We’re a pretty close family. I admire my family members.
What’s a perfect
weekend look like?
Harris: Spending it at the beach with the family.
Hutchison: I don’t know. My wife and I go to church, but the weekend usually involves working. She’s got a list of places we could go, but we haven’t checked off that many of them so far.
Met anyone famous?
Hutchison: I don’t know if they’re famous … I’ve met some good people. That’s more what matters to me than they’re famous.
Best advice you could offer?
Hutchison: Three things: quality, service and do what you say you’re going to do. Those are the most important things to being successful. A lot of people can do two of those three, but not the third. That’s the important one.
Harris: There’s no replacement for integrity and honesty.