Pennsylvania Farm Bureau presented Washington County Farm Bureau member John Scott with the 2019 Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award during the farm organization’s 69th Annual Meeting in Hershey. The award recognizes Scott’s dedicated work and service, which has significantly contributed to the advancement of Pennsylvania agriculture.
“It’s humbling and a great honor to be included on the list of Distinguished Service to Agriculture award winners. It feels like a lifetime achievement award for everything I’ve done with Farm Bureau over the years and for all the mentors I’ve had along that journey,” John Scott said in a Pennsylvania Farm Bureau news release.
Scott, who was born and raised on his family’s farm in Allegheny County, spent nearly 30 years as a full-time dairy farmer and worked for the state Department of Agriculture serving as Regional Director for Western Pennsylvania until he retired in 2011.
“I was the eyes and the ears of the Secretary of Agriculture in Western Pennsylvania. I enjoyed every aspect of the job, working on behalf of farm families, representing agriculture at county fairs and in meetings with agricultural organizations and industry representatives,” Scott said.
Throughout his farming career, Scott advocated for farm families and agricultural issues while frequently hosting policymakers on his farm, which is a Bicentennial Farm that has been in the family since 1789. Scott still owns the family farm, but his sons have taken over running the farm operation.
“John really understands the important role farmers can play in educating the public, the media and elected officials about farming and the agriculture industry by engaging them in conversations and hosting them on farm tours,” said PFB President Rick Ebert. “John is extremely personable and always makes time to talk with younger farmers and peers about farming practices and trends. With the Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award, we recognize the vast contributions John has made on behalf of Pennsylvania farmers and the agricultural community.”
The award judges were especially impressed with the role Scott played in hosting international delegations from Australia, France, Germany, Panama, Russia and South America, while also conducting two agricultural missions to Ukraine through the U.S. Agency for International Development. During those visits, Scott assisted in the transition from Soviet central control to farmers having a free choice of crops and farming methods.
“The farmers from the Ukraine wanted to know how they could improve their operations and learn how to market milk, organize supply systems and find out how private farms could work with government agencies,” added Scott. “The Ukrainian farmers also were interested in learning how to form an organization like Farm Bureau, where a large group could speak on behalf of farmers.”
Scott has also been involved in dozens of agricultural positions, community organizations and associations over the years. For example, he currently serves as Washington County Farm Bureau President, on the board of the Allegheny County Conservation District and on the Farm Service Agency county committees for Allegheny, Beaver and Butler counties.
“It’s very exciting to see all the younger people, including my sons, coming into farming and Farm Bureau, and how they are doing things differently than what I did. It’s also fun seeing the next generation taking over the responsibilities on the farm,” Scott said.