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Top Story

MAEAP.org

Farm Bureau Insurance Michigan supports farmers working through the MAEAP program and achieving verification by offering a discount to the liability portion of their Farmowners Policy.

MAEAP Discounts

* Complete an environmental risk assessment and receive a 10% discount.
* Complete one system of MAEAP (Farmstead, Cropping, Livestock, Forest, Wetlands, and Habitat) and receive a 15% discount
* By completing verification in two or more MAEAP systems, you are eligible for a 20% discount
More information at the link:

MAEAP Savings

Washtenaw County Farm Bureau News

MAEAP.org

Farm Bureau Insurance Michigan supports farmers working through the MAEAP program and achieving verification by offering a discount to the liability portion of their Farmowners Policy.

MAEAP Discounts

* Complete an environmental risk assessment and receive a 10% discount.
* Complete one system of MAEAP (Farmstead, Cropping, Livestock, Forest, Wetlands, and Habitat) and receive a 15% discount
* By completing verification in two or more MAEAP systems, you are eligible for a 20% discount
More information at the link:

MAEAP Savings
Story and photo courtesy of Mike Schaible, President of the Washtenaw Dairy and Livestock Council

pictured l-r are: John & daughter Martha Broesamle, Mike Schaible, Dennis Huehl, Dale Heselschwerdt

Although the annual Ag Banquet was canceled, the Washtenaw Dairy and Livestock Council recently awarded its 2020 Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award to Dale Heselschwerdt.

In the late 1950's, marketing livestock was rather limited to shipping to Detroit or Chicago. An auction operated in Jackson, but after closing due to financial difficulties, Dale’s father Orin saw a need for the area farmers. They purchased a building in Napoleon that was formerly a "Fur Farm" that raised rabbits. A quick add on of an office and loading docks turned the Snow White Fur Farm into Napoleon Livestock in 1956. Dale’s wife Pat actually started working at the Sale Barn as a waitress in the onsite lunch counter. The first auction had no roof over the arena and buyers sat on planks placed on cinder blocks. The business quickly grew and they added pens on the north, west, and east side in the early 1960's. Since the horse business was popular, they also conducted a bi-monthly horse and tack auction for several years. Dale and Pat have also conducted hundreds of Farm and Estate auctions over the years. He takes great pride in his business, noting that Napoleon Livestock is by far the longest running Livestock Auction in Michigan owned by the same family. Dale and Pat are very proud of being part of a family business, having 4 generations take part and every grandchild has contributed to Napoleon Livestock at one point in their life.

Dale and Pat are active at Napoleon United Methodist Church, and Dale was one of the first in a group of people to create the Napoleon Athletic Booster Club. He was proud to serve on the Napoleon School Board for many years. Defying retirement, both Dale, who is now 84, and Pat who declined to give her age, are still on duty 6 days a week! Dale looks forward to coming to the yards every day and working alongside and in partnership with his sons, Randy and Rick.

 

In the late 1950's, marketing livestock was rather limited to shipping to Detroit or Chicago. An auction operated in Jackson, but after closing due to financial difficulties, Dale’s father Orin saw a need for the area farmers.
Story and photo courtesy of Mike Schaible, President of the Washtenaw Dairy and Livestock Council

Pictured l-r: Dennis Huehl, Mike Schaible, Milton Weidmayer, wife Janet Weidmayer and Pastor Dave Bucholtz

 

Although the annual Ag Banquet was canceled, the Washtenaw Dairy and Livestock Council recently awarded its 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award to Milton Weidmayer

Milton Weidmayer is a lifelong resident of Washtenaw County. After graduating from Manchester High School in 1961, he went to work on his family's dairy farm, where he planned to build a lifelong career in farming. However, after only four years of milking cows, arthritis in his knees forced him to give up on his dream.

He enrolled in Cleary College, where he earned a degree in accounting, then landed a job at a firm in Ann Arbor, where he worked first as an associate and then as a partner until his retirement in 2019.

He has served on the Board of Saline Hospital, is a past-president of the Washtenaw Salvation Army, a trustee of his alma mater, Cleary College, past treasurer of the Saline Kiwanis Club, current treasurer of his church, a Farm Bureau member for 53 years, and for 30 years, the accountant for the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds.

Of all his accolades, perhaps his greatest is being recognized as “the farmer’s friend”. Even after a long day of work at the office, he was never too busy to answer an accounting question, lend a word of advice, or offer a handshake of encouragement, while Janet, his wife of 54 years, stood by his side.

Despite being fearlessly dedicated to his work, his top two priorities were always God and family, having been blessed with four children and nine grandchildren. Milton’s career, as well as his life, can be summed up in the words of Proverbs 21, verse 5 which reads: "While hasty short cuts lead to poverty, good planning and hard work lead to prosperity."
Congratulations Milton Weidmayer!

 

Milton Weidmayer is a lifelong resident of Washtenaw County. After graduating from Manchester High School in 1961, he went to work on his family's dairy farm, where he planned to build a lifelong career in farming.

State News

Rebecca Gulliver

Last year was tough and we’re all eager for 2021. Even if the New Year isn’t magical it still gives us a sense of light at the end of the tunnel and a new beginning. With that new beginning, one thing remains the same: We’re still all in this together — and we’re always stronger together.

American Farm Bureau Federation’s Virtual Convention concluded this week with that theme: Stronger Together. Over the course of five days convention sessions were held, Young Farmers competed, awards and recognitions were given, and live sessions were facilitated.

One of these sessions, Farm State of Mind – Responding to the Challenges of Rural Mental Health, reminded us to lean on one another for support and check in on our friends, even the strong ones.

This workshop was a farmer panel (pictured above) led by Colorado Farm Bureau member Chad Vorthmann. Each panelist shared their own personal stories about how mental health, stress and suicide touched their lives and communities: Robin Kinney from American Farm Bureau Federation; Randy Roecker of Rolling Acres, LLC; Marshall Sewell, Bayer Crop Science; and Meredith Bernard from This Farm Wife Inc. all helped break down barriers in a real conversation on a tough topic.

A consistent need for adequate mental health care in rural America — and professionals who know how to work with farmers and their unique challenges — was made very clear throughout.

Bernard mentioned how farmers are all big-time gamblers without ever hitting the casino or buying a lottery ticket — and we all know that’s the truth! Between the weather, erratic commodity prices and the constant pressure of maintaining a multi-generational legacy, farmers carry a lot of stress and anxiety with them every day. Add to that the common “go it alone” mentality many have come to work under as the problem solvers and entrepreneurs all farmers are.

Before the panel opened up for questions, each panelist shared some powerful takeaways from their conversation.

Roecker, who overcame a battle with depression following the dairy crash of the 1980s, shared that farmers need to support each other, if only because we all understand the uniqueness of agriculture. It takes proactively checking in with one another regularly, even your strong friends.

Bernard lost a friend by suicide and reminded her virtual audience that none of us are ever really alone: we are worthy, our lives matter, our stories matter, and that no one should suffer in silence. Seek a friend!

Sewell reflected on what he would have said to his dad the last time he saw him alive, prior to taking his own life, and how he would strive to find the good things in the day and the value we all add: the world may be crammed with people, but it still needs YOU.

Kinney stressed the importance of a mental wellness check being part of a normal, physical health check. We check the oil in our tractors and address routine equipment maintenance, so don’t forget to do the same with ourselves.

Not sure where to start? Uncomfortable with the topic of farm stress and mental health? Rural Resilience Training provides a comprehensive understanding and is a great place to start. This program is a partnership with American Farm Bureau and the National Farmers Union, and facilitated by Michigan State University Extension.

Meredith said it best: “When people feel seen, they get help.” So let’s not be blinded by everything that’s going wrong in our world. Let’s check in with each other — even our strong friends.

Rebecca Gulliver is MFB’s Regional Manager in the Saginaw Valley (District 8) and a member of our Farm Stress & Mental Health team.

Resources

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255
  • Avera Health Farm and Rural Stress Hotline: 800-691-4336
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): 800-662-HELP
  • Crisis text line: text HOME to 741741
  • FarmStateOfMind.org
Last year was tough and we’re all eager for 2021. Even if the New Year isn’t magical it still gives us a sense of light at the end of the tunnel and a new beginning. With that new beginning, one thing remains the same: We’re still all in this togethe




The 2020 #SpeakAgMichigan Challenge supported by the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture recognized the top ten high school FFA chapters and top three Collegiate Farm Bureau members with $7,000 in cash prizes.

This year’s challenge was a twist on the traditional award program, which recognizes FFA chapters and collegiate members for ag-literacy efforts in their communities, sharing a basic understanding of producing food, fuel and fiber. With schools closed last spring, limiting the ability to provide programming in person, #SpeakAgMichigan turned to social media, challenging high school students and Collegiate Farm Bureau members to engage with consumers, develop advocacy skills and earn some funds for their chapter! 

The purpose of the #SpeakAgMichigan Challenge was to develop and implement a four-month social media challenge highlighting designated commodities — the ones focused on in our Fall Teacher FARM Crate subscription boxes: apples (September), pumpkins (October), turkeys (November) and Christmas Trees (December).

From demonstrating a piece of equipment related to the commodity to visiting a farm to offering a recipe or growing tip, our top-10 high school FFA chapter winners and their competitors together laid out a thorough plan to accurately and effectively connect with consumers.

“My students learned a TON through these challenges,” said Ashley FFA Advisor Amber McAllister. “They’re collaborating online to collect information and debating which is best to share with our community, as well as growing leaps and bounds in technology!

“This has been a fantastic learning experience for us.”

Help us congratulate our winners and participants in both divisions by liking their pages and supporting their efforts:

FFA Chapters

Collegiate Farm Bureaus

  • First Place ($500): Madelyn Cary, Gratiot County; MSU Main Campus
  • Second ($300): Michael Ceja, Gratiot County; Delta Collegiate
  • Third ($200): Jewel Lantis, Livingston County; MSU Main Campus Collegiate

In the collegiate division, cash awards were awarded to the top three Collegiate members and their respective Collegiate Farm Bureau chapters.

The Michigan Foundation for Agriculture, is a 501(c)3 governed by Michigan Farm Bureau’s Board of Directors, positively contributes to the future of Michigan agriculture through leadership and educational programming.

For more information, contact MFB High School and Collegiate Programs Specialist Katie Eisenberger.

 
The 2020 #SpeakAgMichigan Challenge supported by the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture recognized the top ten high school FFA chapters and top three Collegiate Farm Bureau members with $7,000 in cash prizes.

Farmers After Hours’ next series, Boosting Your Bottom Line, will build on the financial foundation laid during the previous series, Financial Fundamentals and Profitability. This iteration will explore business planning, connect individuals with grant or loan sources and explain USDA resources and programming.

Live panels flank a series of five mini-sessions where subject-matter experts dive into resources and information to bolster farms and agribusinesses. Each live panel allows participants to join anonymously and ask questions of presenters.

Tune in at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays to catch fresh content, or catch up by checking out MFB’s YouTube channel. Here’s an overview of our next series:

  • Jan. 20 — Live farmer panel; register via Webex
  • Jan. 27 — Building Your Business Plan; GreenStone
  • Feb. 3 — Exploring Funding Sources
  • Feb. 10 — Decoding USDA Programs
  • Feb. 17 — Tips for Low Interest Loan Applicants; GreenStone 
  • Feb. 24 — Grant Dollars: The Do’s and Don’ts
  • March 3 — Live expert panel; register via Webex

The Farmers After Hours series is a special project of the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture, in partnership with GreenStone Farm Credit Services. The Michigan Foundation for Agriculture, a 501(c)3 formed by Michigan Farm Bureau, has a mission of positively contributing to the future of Michigan agriculture through leadership and educational programming.

Farmers After Hours’ next series, Boosting Your Bottom Line, will build on the financial foundation laid during the previous series, Financial Fundamentals and Profitability. This iteration will explore business planning, connect individuals with gra

Managing Farm Stress Resources

MSU Extension Program

"Taking care of crops and animals is hard on farmers and agribusiness professionals. Caring for your own health and wellness in this high-stress profession is often overlooked but is just as critical as caring for your farm business." - Michigan State University
Michigan Farm Bureau promotes the Farm Stress program created by MSU Extension and that information can be found by clicking on the link: Managing Farm Stress

National Suicide Prevention: 
Lifeline (800)273-8255


Crisis Text Line: 
Text HOME to 741741 for free support 24 hours a day.


Avera Health Farm and Rural Stress: 
Hotline (800) 691-4336


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

(SAMHSA): 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

Coming Events

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March2021
Monday
22
WCFB March Board of Directors Meeting
5095 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd
Ann Arbor, MI
The WCFB Board of Directors generally meet the 4th Monday of the month, unless otherwise indicated.
April2021
Monday
19
WCFB April Board of Directors Meeting
5095 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd
Ann Arbor, MI
The WCFB Board of Directors generally meet the 4th Monday of the month, unless otherwise indicated.
May2021
Monday
24
WCFB May Board of Directors Meeting
5095 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd
Ann Arbor, MI
The WCFB Board of Directors generally meets on the 4th Monday of the month, unless otherwise indicated.
June2021
Monday
28
WCFB June Board of Directors Meeting
5095 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd
Ann Arbor, MI
The WCFB Board of Directors generally meet the 4th Monday of the month, unless otherwise indicated.