The Brown County Farm Bureau hosted a burger cookout for members of county volunteer fire departments on Monday evening at its Brownwood location to thank the volunteers for their service.
    The Farm Bureau also donated $200, half each from the Brownwood and Brown County farm bureaus, to all ten volunteer fire departments in the county.
    The dinner marked the second occasion in three years that the Farm Bureau had donated to area fire departments, having done so during the particularly active fire season of 2014. Brown County Farm Bureau president Lewis Lehman said Texas Farm Bureau locations across the state were also making donations to local fire departments, which often work closely with ranchers and farmers to support the Texas agriculture industry—and whose firefighters often work in agriculture themselves.    
    “That’s the only method the farmers and ranchers have for putting out a grass fire, or any kind of fire,” Lehman said. “City fire departments come out, but these are quicker and closer. That helps a lot.”
    Lehman praised the firefighters who put their own lives on hold to help their communities whenever called. “They do a good job,” he said. “We appreciate them a lot.”
    Local volunteer firefighter Steve Adams said area departments were in the process of getting new equipment, like trucks, which was a significant expense even when augmented with grant money.
    “They give you a grant for so much money for these fire trucks, and it never will cover the total expense,” Adams said. “There’s going to be, probably … five new trucks put in this county, and each fire department that’s getting one of those trucks is going to be pleading for money, where they don’t have to go out and borrow that money.
    “The Farm Bureau’s been great in helping with donations like this,” he said. “They don’t have to do it.”
    Adams said this year’s fire season had been relatively quiet, though his department was often deployed to deal with medical and other emergencies as well. He said because many grass fires took place in off-road locations, the fire trucks accumulated wear and tear and had to be repaired and replaced much more often than city trucks.
    The Brown County Farm Bureau is part of the Texas Farm Bureau and a separate entity from its well-known insurance division. The Farm Bureau works to represent agriculture and rural interests in local and state politics, serving as a balance against the large Texas cities on the I-35 corridor.
    The Bureau’s cookout included burgers, chips and drinks.
    “It was great,” Adams said. “Any time we can get a donation and something to eat, we’ll be there for that.”