Long time Farm Bureau Advocate Betty DeVeny of Riggins passed away last week. This was one of the last interviews we did the Iron Lady of Riggins on May 29th, 2009:
I’m Betty DeVeny from District 5, and when I worked for the Forest Service I could belong to the Farm Bureau but couldn’t be active. So when I retired in ’86, then I became more active in Farm Bureau, as near as we can figure I was county secretary starting about 1987 while Bill was President. And then we decided it was 2001 when I became County President.
Your thoughts on being named District 5 Woman of the Year?
I tried my best to get out of it, several years ago Phylis Fleener asked me to do it but she was more easily convinced, because I really don’t want to, this year three of them ganged up on me and said you do not have any choice.
Your involvement over the years is legendary in Idaho County but also in Farm Bureau--
It’s important, especially for policy development, that’s the main emphasis of our county, that’s one of the main reasons we participate and the influence we can have on the legislature, locally, state and national.
Being a woman in ranching and in Farm Bureau, did that present any problems?
It was never even noticeable because we’ve had several women that are active in out County Farm bureau and not even in the women’s committee. Our women’s committee is a one person committee, I mean she’s super but we don’t have a big women’s committee, we don’t do a lot of that sort of thing.
You never brushed elbows with the old boy network?
No, I guess if I did I ignored them. I never did have any trouble.
What kind of reach does Farm Bureau have?
It’s really kind of hard to measure because there are a lot of things that might have happened but didn’t that would have been detrimental to agriculture were it not for Farm Bureau. I don’t always agree with all of their emphasis on all of their issues, but it’s the best we got.
Where is Farm Bureau headed?
I hope we are headed in the right direction, but its going to take people participating and that’s one of the hardest things, is to get people to participate because they have to participate if they are going to change anything.
How important is involvement in these times?
I think it’s very important and I think we need to try and get the younger people because some of us are starting to get kind of old and worn out. I know that’s a problem in our county. We try to get younger members but its hard for them because of demands on their time.
One person has a voice in Farm Bureau and that voice can stretch all the way to Washington, can you articulate that?
I’m not sure that I can, because I think that’s one of our biggest problems, getting them to understand what the capabilities are, I don’t know how to suggest ways to go about it. We have a young YF and R person and we are trying to bring him along and let him know what the opportunities are.
When Betty DeVaney calls the Idaho County Commissioners they usually call back?
They always do!
What’s it like here in the high country?
Just like anywhere else, we have lived here since 1950, it’s just the way it is.
Well that’s true, even when we go anywhere, I was telling my sister. It’s not always when you can go on a business trip and have a scenic drive because it doesn’t matter if you’re going to McCall direction or Grangeville its scenic.
If you could change Farm Bureau what would it be?
I don’t want to change it.
Tell us about the family:
You will meet three of them today, Janet is our oldest, and then Brian is next, he’s the one that pretty much runs things. If it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t be running cows. Our next boy we lost in 2007 and our youngest is Mike and he is here today. He is a computer programmer with Saint Lukes, but he comes up very much to help us. He comes up to help brand he came up for this, he’s a major contribution in keeping things going.