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Top Story

Kathy Siler, WCFB Communications Chair






What a BOO-tiful Tuesday evening for our Drive-Thru Treat of Agriculture event at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds. More than 200 youngsters and their drivers wound their way from the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds gate to the “Ag Treat” stations in Pavilion B representing various commodities:

Apples: Applesauce
Popcorn
Wheat: pretzels
Veggies: potato chips (donated by Michigan Potatoes
Michigan Potato Industry Commission)
Sausage sticks: True North Jerky and Foods
Honey straws
Dairy: Cheese sticks Horning Farms
Fruit: dried cherries, blueberries and cranberries
Animal crackers
Egg tattoos
Flower stickers
Miniature pumpkins/gourds: (Luckhardt and Jedele Farms)
Fruit Juice boxes: Lumpford Agency
Donuts: Coleman's Corn Maze Rose Family
Corn Bags filled with Farm activity books and stickers

At the first station, each child received a biodegradable bag made from corn filled with stickers and activity books. It was so fun to see how excited the Drive-Thru Treat of Ag visitors were.

Thanks to our incredible Promotion and Education Committee who planned and set up the event! Thanks to EVERYONE in all the vehicles who waited patiently in line, and ALL our awesome volunteers and donors. We have lots of photos to share throughput the day. This group of photos features some of the cute and clever visitors!

Huge thanks to ALL our Treat of Agriculture volunteers! From planning the event, shopping for and ordering goodies, to setting up, to directing traffic and registering visitors, to passing out Ag treats, and cleaning up! We couldn’t do it without you

Washtenaw County Farm Bureau News

Kathy Siler, WCFB Communications Chair






What a BOO-tiful Tuesday evening for our Drive-Thru Treat of Agriculture event at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds. More than 200 youngsters and their drivers wound their way from the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds gate to the “Ag Treat” stations in Pavilion B representing various commodities:

Apples: Applesauce
Popcorn
Wheat: pretzels
Veggies: potato chips (donated by Michigan Potatoes
Michigan Potato Industry Commission)
Sausage sticks: True North Jerky and Foods
Honey straws
Dairy: Cheese sticks Horning Farms
Fruit: dried cherries, blueberries and cranberries
Animal crackers
Egg tattoos
Flower stickers
Miniature pumpkins/gourds: (Luckhardt and Jedele Farms)
Fruit Juice boxes: Lumpford Agency
Donuts: Coleman's Corn Maze Rose Family
Corn Bags filled with Farm activity books and stickers

At the first station, each child received a biodegradable bag made from corn filled with stickers and activity books. It was so fun to see how excited the Drive-Thru Treat of Ag visitors were.

Thanks to our incredible Promotion and Education Committee who planned and set up the event! Thanks to EVERYONE in all the vehicles who waited patiently in line, and ALL our awesome volunteers and donors. We have lots of photos to share throughput the day. This group of photos features some of the cute and clever visitors!

Huge thanks to ALL our Treat of Agriculture volunteers! From planning the event, shopping for and ordering goodies, to setting up, to directing traffic and registering visitors, to passing out Ag treats, and cleaning up! We couldn’t do it without you
Kathy Siler, WCFB Communications Chair

Once our Promotion and Education volunteers (and miles of duck tape) conquered 30/mph wind gusts during set up, Mother Nature provided a calm and lovely fall evening to celebrate our P&E activities as well as current and soon-to-be volunteers! Guests enjoyed drive-thru or sit down boxed suppers from the Grand Traverse Pie Company. Thanks to everyone who joined us, including many FFA students and leaders! We’ll share lots more photos throughout the day.

Congratulations to our P&E Kickoff Dinner door prize winners: Aaron Dauer, Josephine Forbush (Milan FFA Advisor) and Eugene Luckhardt. Our thanks to the Rose family of Coleman's Corn Maze and Farm for donating the beautiful mums.
Huge thanks to everyone who attended our Promotion and Education Kickoff Dinner on Wednesday October 7th at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds. Thanks also to the hundreds of volunteers NOT in attendance who help make our events so successful through
Kathy Siler, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau

Welcome A-Board!
Erica Drake was elected to our Board of Directors during our September 21st annual meeting. We asked her to share a little about herself.

“Hi, I'm Erica Drake! I'm a 4th generation dairy farmer on my family's dairy farm in Lodi township. I enjoy the time I get to spend farming with my Dad, tractor pulling, helping to grow a passion for agriculture in our local 4-H members and in my community, and testing new recipes in the kitchen. I'm excited to begin serving on the the Washtenaw County Farm Bureau board. Through this opportunity I hope to find new ways to pursue, promote and support agriculture.”

Erica Drake was elected to our Board of Directors during our September 21st annual meeting.

State News

Kent County Farm Bureau member Kylee Zdunic-Rasch speaks on a policy amendment at the 2019 Michigan Farm Bureau State Annual Meeting.

If anyone worried COVID would dampen the grassroots spirit of county Farm Bureau members involved in the policy development process, they were fretting over nothing. They’d also be wrong to think a mere pandemic would jeopardize the quality of policy recommendations submitted by Michigan’s county Farm Bureaus. If anything, 2020 appears to have strengthened our members’ resolve and sharpened their talent for crafting meaningful, well-thought-out policies to protect and enhance Michigan agriculture and our rural communities.

Michigan Farm Bureau’s state policy development committee recently spent two days in Lansing deliberating nearly 500 policy recommendations from 60 county Farm Bureaus and 12 state advisory committees. The result is a carefully crafted slate of resolutions that 400-plus delegates to MFB’s 101st annual meeting will debate and approve, setting the organization’s course for 2021.

Unlike any previous annual meeting, county Farm Bureau delegates are encouraged to spend time preparing for the all-virtual delegate session Dec. 2 — the first of its kind in MFB history and certainly an unforgettable way to kick off the organization’s second century.

In his capacity as chair of the state policy development committee, MFB Vice President Andy Hagenow’s guidance is firm and simple:

“Attend your district delegate meeting,” Hagenow urges. “We’ll have limited time to discuss the policies during the delegate session, so it’s important members get together to determine what questions they have.

“Members should try to prepare amendments in advance to make the best use of our time during this year’s abbreviated delegate session.” 

A small sampling of policies with significant amendments are summarized below. The complete policy docket will be available online in early November.

COVID-19 and Emergency Powers 

To no one’s surprise, delegates will consider numerous amendments stemming from COVID-19, conflicting government authority, and food and agriculture industry disruptions.

“There were a lot of resolutions specifically dealing with COVID and executive orders that have been embedded all over the policy book,” said committee member and District 7 Director Mike DeRuiter. “That’s one of the pieces I would definitely focus on as a delegate.”

Among the amendments:

  • Provisions requesting that proper security, identification and safety protocols be followed by state agency personnel when visiting farms, including compliance with executive orders (Policy #16 Food Safety).
  • Opposition to a segment of the workforce being targeted for mandatory testing or regulatory compliance (Policy #47 Agricultural Labor).
  • Support for allowing healthcare facilities to decide to remain open during emergency circumstances (Policy #62 Health).
  • Language stating that rulemaking authority should be limited by legislative actions and state government should be subject to the Freedom of Information Act when emergency powers are enacted (Policy #67 Regulatory Reform and Reduction).
  • Support for government checks and balances during emergency power situations and that those powers should be valid for a maximum of 28 days without legislative oversight (Policy #68 Streamlining Michigan Government).
  • Support for liability protection for employers providing proper training, personal protection equipment, and working in good faith to protect employee health (Policy #69 Tort Liability Reform).
  • Support for a refundable income tax credit for businesses shut down due to government-issued executive orders (Policy #91 Taxation).

Transportation

Delegates will also review an overhaul of MFB’s longstanding policies on transportation.

State committee member Jarris Rubingh explained that a new “Transportation Improvement” policy will replace existing policies #95 Highway Improvements and Maintenance and #96 Highways and Funding.

“The transportation subcommittee went through the book, and we have a lot of policy on transportation, whether it’s road funding, improvements, rights of way, etc.” Rubingh said. “We tried to organize it so that it would make more sense and be easier to find specific things.

“Read through the whole transportation policy, because we deleted very little… It’s just moved around to make it more concise.”

Meat Processing

County Farm Bureaus also had strong feelings this year about challenges and opportunities for the state’s meat-processing industry.

“We probably had over 20 different county policy recommendations for the meats industry and processing side,” said John Bowsky, state committee member representing district 6. “We crafted a brand-new policy under commodities and marketing, so you’ll be seeing all-new language.”

The proposed “Michigan Meat Processing Industry” policy would add language supporting:

  • Studying the meat-packing industry’s retail sales, custom-exempt facilities, market access, expansion opportunities and regulatory issues.
  • A partnership between MSU, community colleges, career technical schools and the livestock industry to establish a livestock harvest/meat processing certification program.
  • Investment in and promotion of more mobile agricultural processing labs.
  • Creating a Michigan-based meat inspection and licensing system for in-state processing.
  • Limiting regulatory burden for small and medium-sized meat processors while protecting and enhancing food safety.
  • State funding and low-interest loans for small and medium-sized facilities to comply with regulatory requirements.
  • Greater utilization of the meats laboratory and professionals at MSU to support the meat industry, educate students and train industry professionals.

Environmental

Delegates will review proposed changes to the structure of the organization’s environmental policies.

A new policy, Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP), was created by relocating MAEAP-specific language from policies #73 Environmental Protection and Authority and #80 Nonpoint Source Pollution and Watershed Management. If approved, the shift would streamline some of the bulkiest policies in the book.

In terms of new language, delegates should look for the addition within Policy #73 Environmental Protection and Authority calling for evaluation of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting process in Michigan and supporting an MFB study committee on the topic.

Bovine Tuberculosis  

Policy #34 TB – Mycobacterium Bovis Tuberculosis, continues to be a priority as delegates consider language to support requiring heads from all deer taken on private and public lands in the Modified Accredited Zone and surrounding TB surveillance counties be submitted for testing. The amended policy also calls for supporting the movement of cattle out of the region to maintain market access, if testing and other requirements are met.

If anyone worried COVID would dampen the grassroots spirit of county Farm Bureau members involved in the policy development process, they were fretting over nothing.

The “hybrid-virtual” format of this year’s Michigan Farm Bureau Annual Meeting marks the event’s biggest makeover since it outgrew and left the Michigan State University campus in 1970. Wrinkles are still being ironed, but what’s coming slowly into focus are the promising opportunities for refreshed member involvement at the county and regional level.

That grassroots activity is at the heart of the monthlong agenda, and there’s a lot to accomplish between the Nov. 4 kickoff and Dec. 2 business sessions.

District-level meetings Nov. 9-19 will offer a new kind of delegate experience for those chosen to represent their county Farm Bureaus. Delegate registration will be open Oct. 12-23; substitution deadlines will be forthcoming.

Delegates should be prepared to review the resolutions booklet online beginning Nov. 1; printed copies will be available at district meetings. Reviews should prioritize looking for possible amendments and potential omissions. Members will be encouraged to address either; procedures for doing so will be forthcoming.

“What we anticipate is something like what our old open-policy sessions used to look like,” said Deb Schmucker, director of MFB’s field operations division. “Delegates will need at least a smartphone or a tablet to vote.”

Staffers from MFB’s public policy and commodity division will attend each district meeting to help facilitate those conversations.

Even-numbered districts will also have to squeeze elections onto their agendas.

See below for a complete list of district meeting times, dates and locations.

~ ~ ~

Prior to all that, the Nov. 4 kickoff session will take place entirely online and therefore viewable by all members with high-speed internet. MFB President Carl Bednarski will launch the monthlong process with his annual address, which will include announcements of the 2020 Volunteer of the Year and Distinguished Service to Agriculture winners.

That agenda will also include reports from CEOs Scott Piggott and Don Simon, Treasurer David Baker, representatives of the rules and credentials committees, and approval of last year’s annual meeting minutes.

~ ~ ~

The Dec. 2 business and policy session will take place in person or virtually by district, based on COVID phase restrictions; they’re also listed below.

All 12 districts will join as satellites around a hub composed of MFB leadership and the state Policy Development committee to manage the proceedings:

  • Nomination and election of district, Young Farmer and P&E directors
  • Election of MFB President
  • Policy resolution discussion – reaffirmation style
  • Policy resolutions

~ ~ ~

Look for more details as they develop in Farm Gate and all your usual Farm Bureau communications channels.

~ ~ ~

District Meetings 

District 1

  • Nov. 9 — 6 p.m.; Essenhaus Inn and Conference Center, 240 US-20, Middlebury, IN; dinner included
  • Dec. 2 — 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; same location; lunch included

District 2

  • Nov. 19 — 6:30 p.m.; Hillsdale College Dow Hotel and Conf. Center, 22 E. Galloway Dr, Hillsdale; dinner included
  • Dec. 2 — 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; same location; lunch included

District 3

  • Nov. 11 — 6 p.m.; Crystal Gardens Banquet Center, 5768 E Grand River Ave, Howell; dinner included
  • Dec. 2 — 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; same location; lunch included

District 4

  • Nov. 19 — 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; Railside Golf Club, 2500 76th Street SW, Byron Center; lunch included
  • Dec. 2 — 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; same location; lunch included

District 5

District 6

District 7

  • Nov. 11 — 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Reed City Fire Department, 523 Morse St, Reed City; dinner included
  • Dec. 2 — 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; same location; lunch included

District 8

  • Nov. 12 — 6 p.m.; Jeremy and Kayla Enser Farm, 8290 Kochville Rd, Saginaw; dinner included
  • Dec. 2 — 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; same location; lunch included

District 9

  • Nov. 11 — 6 p.m.; Evergreen Resort, 7880 Mackinaw Trail, Cadillac; dinner included
  • Dec. 2 — 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; same location; lunch included

District 10

  • Nov. 9 — 9:30 a.m.; Arenac Community Center, 583 E Cedar Street, Standish; refreshments will be served
  • Dec. 2 — 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; same location; lunch included

District 11

  • Nov. 10 — 6:30 p.m.; Courtyard Marriott, 1866 Mkwa Place, Petoskey; dinner included
  • Dec. 2 — 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; same location; lunch included

District 12

  • Nov. 10 — 11 a.m. EST; Sweet Grass Convention Center, W 399 US 2 & 41, Harris; lunch included
  • Dec. 2 — 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST; same location; lunch included
The “hybrid-virtual” format of this year’s Michigan Farm Bureau Annual Meeting marks the event’s biggest makeover since it outgrew and left the Michigan State University campus in 1970. Wrinkles are still being ironed, but what’s coming slowly into f


Collegiate Farm Bureau continues to provide opportunities, both virtually and in person, for college students this fall. Registration is open for undergraduate students (age 18-35) interested in networking with peers and industry professionals, building career and leadership skills, and developing your voice as advocates for agriculture.

Thirteen chapters across the state organize and host events designed by chapter members for chapter members — everything from speed networking and public policy workshops to organizing Thanksgiving baskets for needy families and engaging youth in agricultural activities during community events and open houses.

Interested students should reach out to the Collegiate Farm Bureau advisor at their school (see list below). Returning members can click here to update their information and re-enroll for the 2020-21 school year. (Depending on your browser, you may need to hit refresh or type the direct link into the address bar https://collegiate.michfb.com.)

Students can learn more at the Collegiate Farm Bureau website and are encouraged to reach out to their advisor:

Does your student attend one of these colleges but isn’t enrolled in an ag-related major? That’s okay! There’s no requirement for any specific major to join. You just need a passion for agriculture, a willingness to experience a variety of activities, and the desire to network and connect with others!

For more information or questions, please contact an advisor or email Katie Eisenberger, MFB’s High School and Collegiate Programs Specialist.

Collegiate Farm Bureau continues to provide opportunities, both virtually and in person, for college students this fall. Registration is open for undergraduate students (age 18-35) interested in networking with peers and industry professionals, build

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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January2021
Monday
25
WCFB January 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.
February2021
Monday
22
WCFB February 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.
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.