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Top Story

Washtenaw's President, Joe Packard, at the Milan FFA Banquet

By Kathy Siler



WCFB President, Joe Packard, delivering his presentation.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Horning
via the WCFB Facebook page.
The Milan FFA Chapter held their annual banquet at Milan High School on Wednesday evening of April 10th. FFA advisor Tom Stahl along with about 50 students, families, and past FFA members were in attendance. On behalf of Washtenaw County Farm Bureau our president, Joe Packard, presented each of the five state award winners with a congratulatory card. During his brief presentation Joe encouraged and invited the students to transition their FFA leadership training into county and state Farm Bureau participation by becoming involved in the Young Farmer group. He highlighted multiple ways they can participate, including volunteering on various committees, participating in discussion meets, attending conferences, and networking and exploring job opportunities at the local, state, and national level through Farm Bureau participation.

Congratulations to these Milan FFA Chapter students who were recognized for their state awards at their Annual Banquet on Wednesday evening April 10th.




Outstanding Junior Awards:

John Bowerman
Carson Fuller

State Degrees:

Cassidy Bowerman
Mikayla Maurer
Ethan Schram

The Milan FFA Chapter held their annual banquet at Milan High School on Wednesday evening of April 10th.

Washtenaw County Farm Bureau News

Washtenaw's President, Joe Packard, at the Milan FFA Banquet

By Kathy Siler



WCFB President, Joe Packard, delivering his presentation.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Horning
via the WCFB Facebook page.
The Milan FFA Chapter held their annual banquet at Milan High School on Wednesday evening of April 10th. FFA advisor Tom Stahl along with about 50 students, families, and past FFA members were in attendance. On behalf of Washtenaw County Farm Bureau our president, Joe Packard, presented each of the five state award winners with a congratulatory card. During his brief presentation Joe encouraged and invited the students to transition their FFA leadership training into county and state Farm Bureau participation by becoming involved in the Young Farmer group. He highlighted multiple ways they can participate, including volunteering on various committees, participating in discussion meets, attending conferences, and networking and exploring job opportunities at the local, state, and national level through Farm Bureau participation.

Congratulations to these Milan FFA Chapter students who were recognized for their state awards at their Annual Banquet on Wednesday evening April 10th.




Outstanding Junior Awards:

John Bowerman
Carson Fuller

State Degrees:

Cassidy Bowerman
Mikayla Maurer
Ethan Schram

The Milan FFA Chapter held their annual banquet at Milan High School on Wednesday evening of April 10th.

Farm Safety Day

By Kathy Siler

Recent tragic events in our community, including the farming accident and death of Rex Hannewald, who was a dear friend to many in our own county, and the Sugar Shack fire at McLennan’s, are stark reminders of the dangers inherent in farming activities, especially when working with or around farming implements. Our family-focused Farm Safety Day on April 6 offered attendees the opportunity to learn about tractor safety, grain and wagon safety, animal safety, fire safety, first aid, and small equipment safety. We hope you and your family were able to join us for this timely and critically important event.

Our thanks to Jake and Blake, firefighters and EMTs, from Saline Area Fire Department for all the useful information they shared at our Safety Day. Attendees got a close look at rescue and fire-fighting equipment on the truck. The presenters reminded folks to Stop Drop and Roll if clothing catches fire. They also demonstrated how to safely and effectively use a fire extinguisher: PULL the pin out of the handle. AIM the hose at the base of the fire; not at the flames. SQUEEZE the lever. SWEEP the hose from side to side.

A debt of thanks to our Farm Bureau Insurance agents who
partnered with us for the Farm Safety Day.
Pictured: Lindsay Lumpford of the Lumpford Agency and
Rick Eder of the Rick Eder Agency.


The “Make a First Aid Kit” was a busy station at the Farm Safety Day. Contents included bottled water, gloves, 2 sizes of band aids, burn cream, gauze, and alcohol prep pads, as well as a “first aid kit” sticker to identify the container.

Some great photos from our Farm Safety Day courtesy of Cathy Koning. Thanks to all who attended and all the volunteers and presenters!



       


Our family-focused Farm Safety Day on April 6 offered attendees the opportunity to learn about tractor safety, grain and wagon safety, animal safety, fire safety, first aid, and small equipment safety. We hope you and your family were able to join us

Packard & Thelen shine on the Lucy Ann Lance Show!

By Kathy Siler


 Photo courtesy of the Lucy Ann Lance Show via the WCFB Facebook page.

Huge thanks to Lucy Ann Lance and the Saline Area Chamber of Commerce for helping to spread the good word about agriculture on Lucy’s talk show this morning with a great informative interview with Nancy Diuble Thelen and Katelyn Packard.

Great job ladies!

In case you were unable to “tune in” on the radio; here’s a link to the Lucy Ann Lance show for her great interview with Nancy Thelen and Katelyn Packard. Thanks again, Lucy, for supporting agriculture in our county!

http://www.lance-erskine.com/audio/040119/saline.mp3


Huge thanks to Lucy Ann Lance and the Saline Area Chamber of Commerce for helping to spread the good word about agriculture on Lucy’s talk show this morning

State News

Michigan Farm Bureau
More than 400 delegates concluded deliberations Dec. 5 at Michigan Farm Bureau’s 100th annual meeting, establishing policy direction for priority state and national issues.

MFB District 7 Director Michael DeRuiter, an Oceana County fruit grower and member to the state policy development committee, said the delegate sessions were textbook examples of the organization’s grassroots policy development process.

"Policy development is the center point of this organization, so setting policy is vitally important — it’s the lifeblood of our organization," DeRuiter said. “This is where the delegates get to say their piece and set the course for Michigan Farm Bureau."

Debate on bovine tuberculosis (TB) and wildlife management both saw robust debate.

"The resolution proposed by the state PD committee took a pretty aggressive approach to enforce the baiting and feeding ban,” DeRuiter said. “After considerable discussion, delegates decided to add language that supports baiting to encourage reducing the deer population, while retaining support for the feeding ban."

Delegates also approved policy asking the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to consider a new memorandum of understanding with USDA on the issue in the TB Zone that allows for baiting, which encourages aggressive deer herd reduction.

Additional language requiring the eradication of white-tailed deer in any 10-mile radius, high-risk zone established after TB-positive deer or cattle are found, along with strengthening fines and penalties for illegal wildlife feeding, similar to those for poaching, was also approved.

Delegates approved international trade policy affecting Michigan specialty crop growers, calling for changes to the process of seeking relief in cases anti-dumping and countervailing duties challenges, while also calling for additional border and custom inspectors.

National policy recommendations will be forwarded for consideration at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual meeting in January. 

“We’re going to advocate for Michigan specialty crops and try to include that language, which will make it easier for specialty crops that were adversely affected by trade to get quicker relief,” DeRuiter said.

Industrial hemp, authorized under the 2018 Farm Bill, also saw considerable discussion.

“Growers are in the learning curve with this commodity, and we're all trying to figure out how to make sure growers can be profitable growing industrial hemp while complying with the regulatory aspects,” DeRuiter said.

Delegates approved state policy supporting an adjustment to the existing 0.3% THC threshold to 1.0%, to provide more harvesting flexibility. The policy now also supports alternative uses and/or disposal methods for the destruction of an industrial hemp crop that exceeds regulatory THC levels.

Delegates also approved a national recommendation calling for USDA to develop a crop insurance policy specifically for industrial hemp production.

According to DeRuiter, while there was a healthy debate on many issues, with differing views, the end result is policy that best meets the needs of production agriculture.

“It's very encouraging when you can have tough conversations with each other, but there's always a mutual respect,” DeRuiter said. “At the end of the day, our members iron out their differences so that we can move forward as one to advocate on behalf of Michigan Farm Bureau members to get the best ultimate outcomes found for all these issues.”

More than 400 delegates concluded deliberations Dec. 5 at Michigan Farm Bureau’s 100th annual meeting, establishing policy direction for priority state and national issues.
Michigan Farm Bureau


Involvement opportunities abound within the comfy confines of your own county Farm Bureau, and this is a good time of year to weigh your options among the organization’s traditional program areas. Counties are encouraged to have their standard committee appointments for 2020 finalized by late January in these program areas:

  • County Nominating
  • Candidate Evaluation
  • Membership Committee
  • Policy Development
  • Promotion & Education
  • Policy Implementation Team
  • Young Farmer Committee

With 2020 being an election year (have you heard?), it’s particularly important that county Farm Bureaus appoint strong candidate evaluation committees for vetting local office-seekers and better informing MFB’s AgriPac Committee for state- and national-level endorsements.

In Barry County, Rick Lawrence has been involved in candidate evaluation for 15 years. 

“I get a more personal connection with candidates, and a better idea as to what their level of involvement with agriculture is,” Lawrence said. “That connection with a winning candidate benefits all of agriculture by being able to better communicate at their level.”

Leroy Schafer has been a candidate evaluation fixture in Clinton County for the past four election cycles. He sees the program as “a great opportunity to get to know them better and have a say in who Farm Bureau endorses to help elect pro-ag candidates.

“It gives me inside information I can use to help inform others about candidates and their positions. Also it’s just a great opportunity to meet them on a personal level,” Schafer said. “When the candidates know you personally, you become the one they call when they seek knowledge on how to vote on agricultural issues.”

Savvy leaders will note Local History Teams are missing from the program menu, as their centennial-year mandate and supporting grant program have come to a close with the end of 2019. Even so, county Farm Bureaus interested in maintaining their Local History Teams are welcome to do so; history happens every day and many county Farm Bureaus are planning their own individual centennial celebrations in the years to come.

County Farm Bureaus are strongly encouraged to welcome newcomers onto standing committees. New perspectives, directions and opinions will only strengthen your local organization — benefits that seep up through the grassroots to the regional, state and national levels. Aiming to turn over at least a quarter of committee members annually, and carefully surveying your membership roster — especially new members — is a smart approach for finding prospective new volunteers.

Via Farm Gate and direct communications, members and county Farm Bureau leaders will receive more notices and reminders over the coming weeks. Contact your county Farm Bureau office or MFB regional representative for more information about involvement opportunities.

With committee appointment season upon us, it’s a great time to look for new avenues of involvement in your county Farm Bureau!

Upbound on the St. Clair River, the American Spirit passes under the Blue Water Bridge between Port Huron and Sarnia, Ontario.
The new year brings a fresh venue for MFB’s Voice of Agriculture Conference, and with it a fresh new landscape of conference tours. Attendees can choose from two different excursions on Feb. 5, day one of the two-day conference hosted by the Blue Water Convention Center in Port Huron.

Lambs, Libations and Landscaping

One tour agenda includes sites in western St. Clair and northern Macomb counties, beginning with Lauwers Sheep Farm, where more than 600 ewes live indoors. Shepherd Cameron Lauwers will explain how he staggers his lambing schedule to provide a consistent supply of animals year-round.

Just down the road, attendees will “spring forward” at Theisen’s Greenhouse. This third-generation wholesale operation raises annuals, bedding plants and potted plants year-round for retailers across metro Detroit. The early-February time frame will showcase the earliest bloomers bound for spring flower sales.

This tour wraps up with a holistic look at the agritourism program at Blake’s Orchard. From school tours and family u-pick to hard cider processing and tasting, participants will hear how this farm provides non-farm families with a fun and informative experience. Following a tour of the orchard and cider brewery, dinner and cider tastings will take place in Blake’s event barn.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

One of Michigan’s biggest trading partners is right across the river: Canada. Exports to our neighboring Canucks totaled $902 million in 2018 alone, and they’re a strong import partner to boot.

This tour starts with a look at how agricultural imports from Canada are safely transported into the United States at the Port of Port Huron. U.S. Customs and Border Protection staff will explain their role ensuring biosecurity through inspections at the Blue Water Bridge and those crossing the international border by train, boat or plane.

After a short presentation, attendees will tour the inspection facilities on the Blue Water Bridge deck, then head to the USDA livestock inspection facility a short drive away.

Next participants will visit Michigan’s first lighthouse at Fort Gratiot, where Lake Huron empties into the St. Clair River. Port Huron Museum docents will lead a guided tour and share the facility’s history. Weather permitting, participants may climb the 82-foot tower.

From there this group will split in two, each half headed to separate dinner locations in opposite directions. One bus heads north to the Cadillac House, an historic inn and tavern just a block from Lake Huron in Lexington. The other bus heads south to Marine City Fish Company on the St. Clair River, specializing in locally caught fish in addition to some terrestrial options.

NOTE: Participants on this tour are subject to a background check by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in order to enter their facilities; names, addresses and birth dates (from MFB’s membership database) will be provided to the agency in advance. Registering for this tour equates to consent to the background check. No substitutions or latecomers will be allowed after the Jan. 6 cancellation deadline.

Details, details…
Both tours will depart from the Blue Water Convention Center promptly at 1 p.m.

Participants staying at the Holiday Inn Express may park their vehicles at the hotel and take MFB’s shuttle to the convention center prior to departure. Shuttles will transport participants back to the hotel following the tour or evening social at the convention center.

No children under 18 are permitted to participate in the tours and all participants must ride the buses.

The full conference agenda and tour information is available online.

Contact your county Farm Bureau to register, Dec. 9-20.

 

Coming Events

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January2020
Monday
27
2020 January WCFB Board of Directors Meeting
5095 Ann Arbor Saline Rd
Ann Arbor, MI
Generally, the WCFB Board of Directors meet on the fourth Monday of the Month, unless otherwise indicated.
February2020
Monday
24
2020 February WCFB Board of Directors Meeting
5095 Ann Arbor Saline Rd
Ann Arbor, MI
Generally, the WCFB Board of Directors meet on the fourth Monday of the Month, unless otherwise indicated.

During the Centennial Celebration, June 14th at the Michigan Farm Bureau Center, Washtenaw's Centennial Flip Book was buried in a time capsule! Click on the links below to view what has been preserved for generations to come!

 

Accepting items for Chelsea Hospital's "Kids Cart" & "Kids Closet" at Washtenaw's Centennial County Annual Meeting on September 16, 2019 through October 2, 2019 at the P&E Fall Kick Off Event.

Kids Cart Items

Games - Bubbles - Coloring Books
Crayons (8-24 Count Boxes)
Colored Pencils ( 12 Counts Boxes)
Card Games - Activity Books
Small Puzzles

Kids Closet Items

Pants - Socks
Shirts (Plain or Character)