Farm Bureau News

Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) annually honors deserving members and individuals for their contributions toward supporting the state’s agriculture industry and furthering Farm Bureau’s values and member-driven policy.

Applications and nominations for the following awards are now being accepted:

Champions of Excellence

Champions of Excellence got a face-lift this year and now features only a single application for your county’s grassroots work.

The Involvement award winner will be determined from data compiled from county dashboards on July 1. Be sure your county project involvement is entered in iMIS by then!

The new Champions of Excellence application now includes criteria from the previous Leadership Development, Advocacy and Innovation applications. Complete it carefully to receive the recognition your county Farm Bureau deserves!

Submit an application for the 2020 Champions of Excellence Award (each county can submit two different project applications).

Applications are due July 1.

One winner per district, announced Aug. 16, will receive a $350 county grant and advance to compete at the state level. Announcement of the two state winners (one each in Excellence and Involvement) will be made at the 2021 MFB President’s Capital Summit and receive a $1,000 county grant each.

Presidential Volunteer of the Year

MFB President Carl Bednarski knows the value volunteers bring to the success of the organization and invites you to nominate a member for the Presidential Volunteer of the Year Award. You are encouraged to nominate a volunteer who has exhibited a commitment to a specific program or event in their local community and are instrumental to the success of that event or program.

Nominees should be regular members who have served throughout the entire year (Aug. 1, 2019 through July 31, 2020); and lead one or more county Farm Bureau projects; and recruited others to pitch in.

Nominations are due Aug. 3 and can be made with this online form.

Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award

The Distinguished Service to Agriculture award is MFB’s highest honor. Since 1956, this award has been presented to deserving individuals who have made exceptional contributions to Michigan agriculture.

Every past recipient has provided distinguished service to the state’s food and farm sector.

Nominations can be made online and must be received by July 1.

MFB staff contact: Justin Hein , 517-679-4781

From a Muskegon County dairy farm through life’s most daunting crises, the “Popcorn Lady” of MFB’s annual meeting passes her legacy onto the next generation.

Some county fair livestock shows are transitioning to online, virtual platforms this year.


With summer slowly creeping up, Farm Bureau members are adding county fairs to the long list of things COVID-19 has impacted — or just plain wrecked. Social distancing requirements, access to volunteers and technology, and remaining fiscally solvent are all factors county fair boards are struggling with as they consider their 2020 events.

Traditionally, many county Farm Bureaus have supported these annual summertime youth events through various opportunities including trophy sponsorships, hosting educational events for the community or serving as show and auction volunteers.

To date, a handful of counties have already made the difficult decision to cancel their fair, while others continue planning as best they can — in some cases moving to a virtual show format. As your county fair boards have these discussions, consider reaching out to your fair coordinator or fair board president to ask how your county Farm Bureau might be able to help.

Some ideas:

  • Ordering and donating COVID-19 Fairground Safety Signs throughout the fairgrounds to remind fairgoers of social distancing and related health considerations.
  • Assisting as a virtual showmanship class host or volunteering with a portion of the online auction system if your internet access is reliable and fast.
  • Volunteering to serve as a judge and waiving the usual judge’s fee. Fairs may not be able to rely on their regular revenue-generating activities and/or attendance may be down altogether. Looking for ways to offset their normal costs could be a huge help.

Given that nobody’s ever conducted a fair during a global pandemic — and many have not hosted virtual events — there could be needs never before considered. An open brainstorming session may be helpful.

Working directly with your county fair board is an opportunity to strengthen your partnership and allows the county Farm Bureau to meet a very real need within your community.

If your county Farm Bureau is meeting a need at the county fair, tell us about it! Contact Katie Eisenberger, MFB high school and collegiate programs specialist.

With summer slowly creeping up, Farm Bureau members are adding county fairs to the long list of things COVID-19 has impacted — or just plain wrecked. Social distancing requirements, access to volunteers and technology, and remaining fiscally solvent
Katie Eisenberger

In the good ol’ days, after a long day’s work one would secure his or her horse to a hitching post outside a local establishment or a neighbor’s house before heading inside to catch up on the latest issues of the world.

We may have traded in our original horsepower for one with four wheels — and we can now communicate with one another without being in the same space — but one thing never goes out of style: learning something new. And we’ve got something new to share!

Over the next six months, members will have the opportunity to listen in as a group of Michigan Farm Bureau public policy specialists and industry professionals discuss critical agricultural topics through a virtual, laid-back atmosphere. They will look at current situations within the topic area, what related policy or programs MFB provides, and what next steps may look like.

Encourage someone you know to register if they’re interested in:

  • Gaining more awareness of current agriculture issues
  • Better understanding grassroots policy development
  • Getting perspective straight from the horse’s mouth!

To watch the Hitching Post, register for each monthly event separately. Attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions to the group. If you’re unable to join, but still interested in the content, all events will be recorded and posted to the MFB YouTube Channel.

Here’s the schedule of Hitching Post conversations, who’s moderating each discussion, and a link for participating:

Each videocast begins at 7 p.m. and will last 30-40 minutes, depending on conversation and questions.

I’m helping coordinate these discussions alongside my awesome coworker, Emily Reinart, the grassroots policy outreach specialist in MFB’s public policy division.

“This will be an opportunity for members to join a circle of peers for a short time commitment and invest in learning about current topics in the industry, how Michigan agriculture is impacted and how they can be involved in a solution,” Emily said.

All Hitching Post conversations will take place online via Cisco Webex, a convenient and easy-to-use online meeting platform that works on almost any desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone with a decent internet connection. Farm Bureau members can download it by clicking here.

MFB staff contacts: Katie Eisenberger (517-679-5444) and Emily Reinhart (517-679-5337)

Over the next six months, members will have the opportunity to listen in as a group of Michigan Farm Bureau public policy specialists and industry professionals discuss critical agricultural topics through a virtual, laid-back atmosphere. They will l
Kathy Siler, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau



Friday Fun Fact: Say CHEESE!!

Did you ever wonder why many cheeses are yellow or orange when milk is white?

Cheese can be colored with a coloring agent called annatto. It’s a natural food coloring that comes from Annatto (also known as the Achiote Lipstick tree) grown in the tropical regions of Central and South America. When the tree flowers, it produces spiky looking pods, which house annatto seeds and a vibrant red pulp. After the pods are ground, they’re then turned into an extract or a powder, used for coloring foods and, where it’s also grown, for lipstick... Annatto has no flavor in small amounts, like when coloring foods.
Cheese Coloring
TheSalinePost.com

Click Here - Read the original article!

Saline's community food pantry now has a cooler to store its dairy items.

Mamarow Farms and the Michigan Dairy Farmers donated a dairy cooler to Saline Area Social Service. They also donated $500 to Saline Area Social Service.

"This gift has already been valuable in helping us store many of our dairy foods, especially on hot days like today," said Anne Cummings, Executive Director of Saline Area Social Service.

Saline Area Social Service assists hundreds of low-income residents each week with a food pantry and other assistance.

People who need to use the food pantry, located at 224 W. Michigan Ave., can visit from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Mondays, 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Thursdays.

You can support their efforts in several ways. Donate money by clicking here.

Saline Area Social Service is also accepting donations during those hours and from  10 a.m. to noon on Friday and 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. Each week, SASS updates its list of needs on its website.

Here are the priority needs this week:

  • Sliced Cheese – Individual slices
  • Pre-packaged lunchmeat
  • Spam
  • Canned Corned Beef Hash
  • Canned Beef Stew
  • Ramen Noodles
  • Tissues

To volunteer for SASS, click here or call Lynn Strach at 734-476-7831 or [email protected].

Kathy Siler, Project RED Committee, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau

And.... that’s “A Wrap” for our Virtual Project RED (Rural Education Days).

Although it was far from our traditional event, we are extremely grateful for your response during this challenging time. Huge thanks to everyone who liked, commented on or shared our posts or participated in any way to make our 30th Project RED a huge success!
We’re sharing a celebratory photo of Nancy Thelen and Lynda Horning with our 25th anniversary cake to which we’ve added a victorious 30 years banner!
We hope to see you “in person” in 2021!
Stay safe and healthy everyone!

#VirtualRED2020
Thank you to everyone!
Project RED Committee, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau



We hope you enjoy these facts about pigs!


#VirtualRED2020

Pigs can't sweat and are susceptible to many of the same illnesses as humans. So, many pigs live inside barns to regulate temperature and reduce contact with outside germs.

A female pig is called a sow. One sow will have 8 to 12 piglets in one litter. it takes approximately 6 months for a piglet to grow to market weight of 240 to 280 pounds.

Pigs wear earrings! Most livestock, including pigs, wear ear tags. These tags identify the pig, its owner, its age, and many contain an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chip!

Farmers use computers to keep track of how much the pig eats, drinks, weighs, and other health records by scanning the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip.
Pig Facts
Kathy Siler, Project RED Committee, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau



From burgers and steaks to roasts, hot dogs, jerky and more... it's all about the beef and other byproducts!

#VirtualRED2020

Did you know...

Beef Cattle are typically ready to market weighing in at 1,000 to 1,300 pounds.

Grass-fed beef tends to be a little leaner but both grass and grain finished beef are natural sources of more than 10 essential nutrients including protein, iron, and zinc.

A market beef steer weighing in at 1,100 pounds will yield approximately 475 pounds of meat.

The leather from one cow hide is enough to make about 18 pairs of shoes.

We wouldn’t be able to hold our “in person” project RED (Rural Education Days) without our FFA and 4-H volunteers. (We miss you ALL!)
A huge thank you to Sydney Masters for this informative video about raising Beef Cattle on her family farm.
You might be surprised to see how calm and curious those big animals can be.

Raising Beef Cattle - Video 1


Raising Beef Cattle
Kathy Siler, Project RED Committee, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau



B is for Blueberries and Michigan reigns as the number 1 producer of high-bush blueberries in the country!

#VirtualRED2020

Enjoy these facts about blueberries:
  • Blueberries contain lots of Vitamin C, dietary fiber, and manganese which helps the body process cholesterol, carbohydrates and protein.
  • Blueberries can be picked by hand or a large machine can drive over the bushes and shake all the berries free.
  • Michigan raises more high-bush blueberries than any other state!
  • Most blueberries you find at the store grow on bushes that can grow up to 12 feet tall.
B is for blueberries!
Kathy Siler, Project RED Committee, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau



Thanks for joining us for our Sunday edition of Virtual Project RED (Rural Education Days).
We’re signing of until tomorrow with some fantastic facts about veggies.

#VirtualRED2020

Enjoy some vegetable facts! 
  • Michigan ranks in the top four states to raise asparagus, carrots, celery, cucumbers, green beans, pumpkins, radishes, squash, tomatoes for processing, and turnips!
  • During the growing season, visit a local farm market or farmer's market to purchase fresh locally grown veggies.
  • Many Michigan vegetables are processed and sold by common brands such as Gerber, Red Gold, Heinz, Bush's, Bird's Eye, and more!
Fantastic facts about veggies!
Kathy Siler, Project RED Committee, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau



Welcome to a Sunday Fun Day of Virtual Project RED (Rural Education Days). A is for Michigan Apples!

#VirtualRED2020

Enjoy some Michigan Apple Facts:
  • To have Michigan apples year-round, apples, are stored in a controlled-atmosphere room where computers monitor the temperature and oxygen levels to keep apples from spoiling.
  • Apples naturally brown when cut or bruised. Apples with higher levels of Vitamin C brown less. Coating sliced apples with lemon juice can slow the browning process.
  • Farmers use a trellis system of posts and wire to help apple trees to grow straight, provide support, and allow greater sunlight into the canopy. This makes them easier to prune and harvest while growing more apples.


We celebrated Earth Day
by watching this video of 
#MIapple growers planting apple trees! What did you do in honor of #EarthDay2020? Thanks for the video, Steve and Missy from the Fruit Ridge! It takes an apple tree approximately 3 years before it starts producing apples.

Planting Apple Trees - Video 1

Did you know?
Apple Blossoms are Michigan’s official state flower. After apple trees are pruned some apple growers chop up the brush and use it for mulch in the orchard.

A is for Michigan Apples!
Kathy Siler, Project RED Committee, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau



Welcome to our Saturday edition of Virtual Project RED (Rural Education Days)!
Watch Amie Frank demonstrate a STEM seed experiment.

(STEM stands for lessons based on science, technology, engineering and mathematics)

Amie Frank STEM - Video 1

#VirtualRED2020

Enjoy these interesting facts about soybeans:
> Plants need nitrogen to grow. Soybeans have special structures on their root to generate their own nitrogen, meaning these plants use less fertilizer from other sources.
> Soybeans are the most digestible and highest quality plant source of a complete protein, meaning soybeans naturally contain all nine essential amino acids necessary for the dietary needs of an organism.
> As early as the 1930s Michigan's own innovator, Henry Ford, experimented with using soy-based materials for industrial purposes such as ingredients in car parts, paints, plastics, and fuels.

And speaking of Soybeans: Don’t forget to complete the Scavenger Hunt Quiz to be entered into a drawing for this book!
Description: Famous car-maker and businessman Henry Ford loved beans. And he showed great innovation with his determination to build his most inventive car--one completely made of soybeans.

With a mind for ingenuity, Henry Ford looked to improve life for others. After the Great Depression struck, Ford especially wanted to support ailing farmers. For two years, Ford and his team researched ways to use farmers' crops in his Ford Motor Company. They discovered that the soybean was the perfect answer. Soon, Ford's cars contained many soybean plastic parts, and Ford incorporated soybeans into every part of his life. He ate soybeans, he wore clothes made of soybean fabric, and he wanted to drive soybeans, too. Award-winning author Peggy Thomas and illustrator Edwin Fotheringham explore this American icon's little-known quest.
(Description from Amazon)

Soybeans are so amazing we should call them “wonder beans”! Inside their fuzzy pods are small golden beans! Hundreds of things can be made using soybeans from animal feed to foods for us like soy-milk, candy, tofu, bread , salad dressing, and frozen desserts. You might be surprised to learn that crayons, newspaper ink, your mom's lipstick, as well as soap and candles can also be made from soybeans. And soybean oil can be processed into bio-diesel fuel to run school buses.

Farmers in Michigan have already started planting soybeans. Click the link and watch the video!

Planting Soybeans - Video 2

Here’s a cool video of a Michigan farmer harvesting soybeans. Those dry soybean plants sure create a lot of dust!! The video was partially sponsored by (Ferris State University)

Harvesting Soybeans - Video 3


We weren't kidding about all those uses for soybeans!
Kathy Siler, Project RED Committee, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau



The animal barn is always a favorite place for Project RED (Rural Education Days) visitors, and getting to meet a horse is one of the exciting moments. This morning we’ll be learning more about horses. Enjoy these photos of horses and their owners from past Project RED events.

#VirtualRED2020

Enjoy these facts about horses:

  • Horses can live to be 25 to 30 years old. Taking riding lessons at a local riding stable is a great way to enjoy equine without investing in long-term horse ownership!
  • A horse's small intestine is 50 to 70 feet in length and has the capacity of about 15 gallons of digesting food. A horse drinks 5 to 10 gallons of water per day.
  • Michigan is home to more than 1,000 miles of state-designated equestrian trails and more than 20 horse-friendly campgrounds!
A few years ago the MSU Horse Teaching and Research Center had to think quick when it came time to raising an orphaned foal they named “Orphan Annie”. The filly’s mother experienced Dystocia, which means slow or difficult labor or birth, and for that or other reasons she was unable to nurse Annie. Watch the video to see how they figured out a way to feed her, and how a horse named Uncle Bentley helped teach Orphan Annie horse behaviors.

Orphan Annie Horse - Video 1

Thanks for joining us for Day 5 of our Virtual Project RED (Rural Education Days). We’re “galloping” off until tomorrow with one last video all about horses designed just for kids. Did you know that most of the time horses sleep standing up?

Horses Designed for Kids - Video 2
Click to watch me neigh neigh...
Kathy Siler, Project RED Committee, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau



Did You Know?

In addition to clothing, wool has been used for blankets, horse rugs, saddle cloths, carpeting, insulation and upholstery. Wool felt covers piano hammers, and it is used to absorb odors and noise in heavy machinery and stereo speakers. Ancient Greeks lined their helmets with felt, and Roman legionnaires used breastplates made of wool felt.What do you have that’s made from wool?

#VirtualRED2020

The John Heller family of Gottlieb Farm is one of the sheep farmers in our county. They sent us some farm photos and sound clips of their children: Bohdan, Annika and Caleb. We made this little video and set it to music. We hope you and the Heller family enjoy this little tour of their farm.

Gottlieb Farm Sheep - Video 1

Here are some facts about sheep:

  • Washtenaw County ranks #1 in the state for sheep!
  • Like cattle, sheep are ruminants. This means they have four stomach compartments, allowing them to regurgitate their food and chew it again for further digestion of high fiber feed such as corn and hay.
  • Sheep naturally produce lanolin, an oily substance that allows their wool to be water resistant. Lanolin is washed off wool once a sheep is sheared and used to make lotions, cosmetics, leather treatments, and more!
  • Shearing is like giving sheep a haircut. Clothing made from wool is breathable, moisture wicking, and naturally odor-resistant.
(If you are participating in our Commodity Scavenger Hunt Quiz, be sure to read our infographics to help you find the answers. )
Don't be sheepish... check us out!
Project RED Committee, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau



Top: Past ice cream "scooper" at Project RED!
Middle: Matthew attending Project RED in 3rd grade.
Bottom: Matthew as a sophomore in High School!
This is “Very Dairy Wednesday” at virtual Project RED (Rural Education Days). Thank you to Katelyn Packard for helping us learn more about dairy farming. Let's meet the calves, learn what cows eat, and see how they are milked!

Meet the Calves - Dairy Video 1

What Cows Eat - Dairy Video 2

How Cows Are Milked - Dairy Video 3

In a typical (in person) year, more than 300 volunteers (we miss you all) help make Project R.E.D. (Rural Education Days) an outstanding program for the nearly 2000 students, teachers and chaperones who participate. A favorite activity is the “Taste of Michigan” tour which features samples of ice cream, milk, dried cherries, blueberries, popcorn, honey butter, apples, potato chips, soy nuts, sunflower seeds and more! The ice cream cone table is always a favorite stop! Enjoy a “vintage” photo of a volunteer, feeding eager visitors from years past.

#VirtualRED2020

It’s “Very Dairy Wednesday” snack time! Although we can’t offer you an ice cream cone, Matthew can show you how to make “Ice Cream in a Bag”. Matthew is a sophomore at Saline High School. He’s a Project RED “alum” who attended the event with his Heritage Elementary 3rd grade class eight years ago. (See the recipe below and be sure to shake your bag for about 5 minutes)

Ice Cream In A Bag - Dairy Video 4

INGREDIENTS
* 1 cup half and half (or whole milk or a mixture of both) You can also use chocolate milk
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/2 cup kosher or rock salt (regular salt is okay too)
* Ice cubes
* 1 quart-size resealable bag
* 1 gallon-size resealable bag

INSTRUCTIONS
In quart-size resealable bag combine half and half or milk, sugar and vanilla extract. Close bag and seal tightly.Fill gallon-size resealable bag about half-way with ice cubes. Add salt. Place sealed quart bag inside gallon bag, sealing the gallon bag shut.Shake bags for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened and turned into ice cream. (You can wrap the bag in a towel so your hands don’t get too cold while shaking it.
NOTE: Quickly rinse off the small bag of ice cream before opening it so you don’t get any salt in your delicious homemade ice cream.


Explore a "Very Dairy Wednesday"
Project RED Committee, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau




Welcome to Day 2 of our virtual Project RED (Rural Education Days). Birds and Bats and Bugs and Bees, Oh my! Pollinators are AMAZING and necessary for growing so many crops!!

#VirtualRED2020

Busy Buzzy Bee Facts: 

  • Bees have 5 eyes and 6 legs.
  • Honey bees harvest nectar and pollen from flowering plants.
  • Male bees in the hive are called drones and they do not have a stinger. Their only job is to mate with the queen. They do that in mid-air and then fall to the ground and die. 
  • Worker bees are females. They do all the different tasks needed to operate and maintain the hive.
  • An average beehive can hold around 50,000 bees.

Did you know there’s a Squash Bee?

“The squash bee is a unique insect because it naturally occurs in most squash productions in Michigan and must find squash pollen to feed its young. The female creates nests in the ground and [a] project [at MSU] focused on finding out how soil disturbance impacts squash bees.” Learn more about squash bees and how they’re different from honey bees in this short video from MSU Extension.

Pollinators have a symbiotic relationship with flowers.
Project RED Committee, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau



Cherries are one of the fruits that rely heavily on pollinators! Here are some facts about cherries. 
(If you are participating in our Commodity Scavenger Hunt Quiz, be sure to read our info-graphics to help you find the answers.)

#VirtualRED2020

Did you know?


Michigan raises 75% of the nations's tart cherry crop annually. That's approximately 190 million pounds of tart cherries per year.

Cherry trees grow well along the Lake Michigan shore because the lake's warmth keeps the temperature milk in the winter and cools the orchards in the summer.

Traverse City is home to the National Cherry Festical held in July. the festival began in 1929 and has been held annually expect during World War II.

French settlers brought cherry pits all the way from Normandy to the Old Mission Peninsula in the 1850s.
Did you know Michigan raises 75% of the nation's tart cherry crop...
Project RED Committee, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau

Welcome to Day 1 of our virtual Project RED (Rural Education Days)! Be sure to turn up your sound!

Right now farmers are busy planting corn. Thank you to Lee Blumenauer for helping us learn about corn.
https://www.facebook.com/WashtenawFarmBureau/videos/523589331650298/ - Corn Video 1

Right now farmers are busy planting corn. Thank you to Lee Blumenauer for helping us learn about the BIG equipment farmers use to plant corn.
https://www.facebook.com/WashtenawFarmBureau/videos/177426200180847/ - Corn Video 2

Right now farmers are busy planting corn. Thank you to Lee Blumenauer for helping us learn about the equipment farmers will use in the fall to harvest the corn.
https://www.facebook.com/WashtenawFarmBureau/videos/2358915774409815/ - Corn Video 3

Thank you to Lee Blumenauer for helping us learn about some of the products made with corn! A couple of them may surprise you! Just for fun, check your fridge and kitchen shelves and see how many things you can find that contain corn.
https://www.facebook.com/WashtenawFarmBureau/videos/2286505908325171/ - Corn Video 4
Day 1 of #VirtualRED2020 - Corn!
Project RED Committee, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau


Here’s some interesting Corn Facts to close out our Day 1 of Project RED (Rural Education Days).
Thanks for looking in today. We hope you’ll join us again tomorrow!!

#VirtualRED2020

Through photosynthesis, all plants produce sugars including sucrose, fructose, and glucose. To make corn syrup, food scientists break apart long chains of glucose molecules into shorter chains of glucose.

There are 4 basic types of corn!

Sweet Corn: It is eaten as corn on the cob. Sweet corn contains more sugar and has a very soft, starchy kernel. It is harvested at an immature stage so the kernels are tender.

Popcorn: It is a type of flint corn. Its soft, starchy center with a hard, outer shell is what makes it pop. When the kernels are heated, moisture in the starchy center expands, exploding the kernel!

Flint Corn: It is grown in limited quantities in North America and primarily used for decoration.

Dent or Field Corn: It is the most commonly grown and is used for animal feed, fuel, some food products, or in plant-based plastics.

There are four basic types of corn!
Kathy Siler, Project RED Committee, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau

Join Washtenaw County Farm Bureau for #VirtualRED2020
Monday, May 11 - Monday, May 18, 2020

GREAT NEWS!! Despite the 2020 cancellation of the 30th annual in person Rural Education Days (Project RED) field trip program, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau is excited to launch our Virtual Rural Education Days. ‪From Monday, May 11 to Monday, May 18‬
we’ll be sharing informative and fun videos, and commodity graphics. There’s also a Scavenger Hunt quiz (‪due May 25‬) that “visitors” can complete and email to us to be entered into a drawing for a Michigan Agriculture book, “Full of Beans: Henry Ford Grows a Car”.
HINT: All the answers will be found in our commodity graphic posts.
Look for our posts here and/or follow the hashtag: #VirtualRED2020
Spread the word by sharing on your own page and letting family and friends know about this fun virtual event!!

Join WCFB for #VirtualRED2020
Kathy Siler, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau


Congratulations and applause to ALL the FFA (Washtenaw County) state award winners! The lists are long and you will see duplicate names, however, we wanted you to see and take pride in the multiple awards!



WASHTENAW COUNTY FFA AWARD WINNERS

(county designation is determined by the location of the school)

 

AWARD

FIRST NAME

LAST NAME

FFA CHAPTER

Academic Excellence, Silver

John

Bowerman

Milan

Academic Excellence, Silver

Joey

Ritchie

Milan

Outstanding Junior

Sydney

Allen

Milan

Outstanding Junior

Hunter

Divert

Milan

State Degree

Aubrey

Alexander

Milan

State Degree

John

Bowerman

Milan

State Degree

Joey M.

Ritchie

Milan

State Degree

Joe

Scheel

Milan

Academic Excellence, Gold

Daniel

Caroen

Saline

Academic Excellence, Gold

Anastasia

Frederick

Saline

Academic Excellence, Gold

Kaitlyn

Higgins

Saline

Academic Excellence, Gold

Grace

Popa

Saline

Academic Excellence, Gold

Wesley

Welt

Saline

Academic Excellence, Silver

Emily

Finkbeiner

Saline

Academic Excellence, Silver

Sydney

Masters

Saline

Academic Excellence, Silver

Annie

Rothfuss

Saline

Academic Excellence, Silver

Joseph C.

Wilczynski

Saline

Agriscience Food Products & Processing, State Winner Div.3

Andrew

Finkbeiner

Saline

Elected 20-21 State Region II VP

Kaitlyn

Higgins

Saline

Extemporaneous Public Speaking, Bronze

Annie

Rothfuss

Saline

Outstanding Junior

Caitlyn

Fox

Saline

Outstanding Junior

Caroline

Gilson

Saline

Outstanding Junior

Kaylee

Klingman

Saline

Outstanding Junior

Amanda

LaRoe

Saline

Outstanding Junior

Sydney

Masters

Saline

Outstanding Junior

Amanda

Norton

Saline

Outstanding Junior

Annie

Rothfuss

Saline

Outstanding Junior

Joseph

Wilczynski

Saline

Outstanding Junior, First Runner Up

Emily

Finkbeiner

Saline

Proficiency Ag. Mechanics Repair and Maintenance - Placement, Bronze

Riley

Fox

Saline

Proficiency Ag. Sales - Placement, Bronze

Kaitlyn

Higgins

Saline

Proficiency Ag. Sales - Placement, Silver

Annie

Rothfuss

Saline

Proficiency Beef Production - Entrepreneurship, Silver

Cameron

Corwin

Saline

Proficiency Beef Production - Entrepreneurship, Silver

Amanda

Jedele

Saline

Proficiency Beef Production - Entrepreneurship, State Winner

Sydney

Masters

Saline

Proficiency Dairy Production - Placement, Bronze

Dustin

Drake

Saline

Proficiency Diversified Horticulture - Entrepreneurship/Placement, Bronze

Anastasia

Frederick

Saline

Proficiency Diversified Livestock Production - Entrepreneurship/Placement, Bronze

Emily

Finkbeiner

Saline

Proficiency Diversified Livestock Production - Entrepreneurship/Placement, Silver

Amanda

Jedele

Saline

Proficiency Forage Production - Entrepreneurship/Placement, Bronze

Megan

Bristle

Saline

Proficiency Landscape Management - Entrepreneurship/Placement, Silver

Joseph

Wilczynski

Saline

Proficiency Poultry Production - Entrepreneurship/Placement, Silver

Daniel

Caroen

Saline

Proficiency Poultry Production - Entrepreneurship/Placement, Silver

Amanda

Jedele

Saline

Proficiency Poultry Production - Entrepreneurship/Placement, State Winner

Emily

Finkbeiner

Saline

Proficiency Sheep Production - Entrepreneurship/Placement, Silver

Emily

Finkbeiner

Saline

Proficiency Sheep Production - Entrepreneurship/Placement, Silver

Amanda

Jedele

Saline

Proficiency Small Animal Production & Care - Entrepreneurship/Placement, Gold

Caroline

Gilson

Saline

Proficiency Small Animal Production & Care - Entrepreneurship/Placement, Gold

Caitlyn

Lucas

Saline

Proficiency Small Animal Production & Care - Entrepreneurship/Placement, State Winner

Grace

Popa

Saline

Proficiency Turfgrass Management - Entrepreneurship/Placement, Bronze

Luke

Gerlinger

Saline

Proficiency Veterinary Science - Entrepreneurship/Placement, Silver

Caitlyn

Fox

Saline

State Degree

Megan

Bristle

Saline

State Degree

Amina

Davis

Saline

State Degree

Ashley

Hannah

Saline

State Degree

Yanic

Sadek

Saline

State Degree

Wesley

Welt

Saline

State Degree, Silver

Daniel

Caroen

Saline

State Degree, Silver

Dustin

Drake

Saline

State Degree, Silver

Anastasia

Frederick

Saline

State Degree, Silver

Katlyn

Higgins

Saline

State Degree, Silver

Amanda I.

Jedele

Saline

State Degree, Silver

Grace

Popa

Saline

State FFA Band

Grace

Popa

Saline

State FFA Band

Trevor

Rothfuss

Saline


Let's congratulate the FFA State Award Winners!
Kathy Siler, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau

Happy National Teacher Day!
We appreciate you more than ever!! We admire your dedication and celebrate the creative ways you’re staying connected to your students. Heartfelt thanks to ALL of you!
THANK YOU TEACHERS
Fox2Detroit.com

Back Row L-R: Earl & Diane Horning and Lynda & Jeff Horning.
Front Row L-R: , Mason Horning, and Katelyn & Joe Packard.

The spread of COVID-19 and the attempts to stop it have brought Michigan's economy to a grinding halt. But farmers can't stop their animals from producing what they're meant to do. And now at least one farmer in Southeast Michigan is worried that the supply will cause him to have to dump milk before it goes bad.

Horning Farms in Manchester, Michigan, has been turning out milk for six generations. Katelyn Packard is running the farm, which has always been in the family.

"It was started by my great great great great grandpa," Packard said.

After the family milks the cows, the milk is sent to a processing plant and then on to the grocery store - all in about 48 hours. Her and her family prepare the fields and milk 390 cows every day and, as she put it, COVID-19 isn't stopping her work but things have changed.

"Things can't stop around here. We have a lot of animals depending on us," Packard said. "When it comes to what I'm actually getting paid for my product and when I look at the future price of milk it's pretty low." 

Packard says during the crisis and despite seeing empty store shelves, demand has dropped 50% as processing plants are no longer getting the bulk orders from restaurants and schools. That could spell trouble for Packard and the family.

"A lot of our bills are still the same. We still need to feed the cows. We still need a veterinarian to help us," she said.

Packard says thankfully, since their farm is a small business, they qualify for some of the programs through the CARES Act and they've already taken advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program.

While that's helpful, Packard is worried that, eventually, she'll have to start dumping milk.

"That's really unfortunate and we hate to see it." 

Each cow produces about 10 gallons of milk every day and they don't simply stop when the demand dries up.

"We can't just ask them to stop or produce less, that doesn't happen. They keep reducing the same amount of milk," she said.

Packard is hopeful that won't happen and that they'll make it through the pandemic.

Horning Farms in Manchester, Michigan, has been turning out milk for six generations. Katelyn Packard is running the farm, which has always been in the family.
Michigan Farm Bureau

Even as a global pandemic has brought much of our everyday lives to a screeching halt, we know farmers are still putting one step in front of the other (and we thank you!) As you are out and about on the farm this spring, remember your Farm Bureau organization is here for you.

Michigan Farm Bureau’s grassroots policy has guided your organization for 100 years and this year is no exception. And as in each of those 100 previous years, we need farmer members like YOU to engage in our policy development process.

Is there a policy idea you’ve thought of? Submit it here. Curious about what existing Farm Bureau policies say? Find the state and national policy books here.

And when we’re all done social distancing, look for an invitation to a local meeting with your neighbors and peers to identify which issues in your part of the state need addressing in the form of Farm Bureau policy.

To help jump start that process, check out the issue briefs on MFB’s website. We'll be adding to this page throughout the season, so make sure to check back.

Thank you for your involvement in Farm Bureau and in keeping our policy book relevant so we can continue our role as the most credible voice of Michigan agriculture. Our policy book is built by putting one foot in front of the other, and it starts with members like you taking this first step!

Even as a global pandemic has brought much of our everyday lives to a screeching halt, we know farmers are still putting one step in front of the other (and we thank you!) As you are out and about on the farm this spring, remember your Farm Bureau or
Michigan Farm Bureau

If that global pandemic has sidelined your usual ag-education efforts, here’s a healthy dose of resources for Promotion & Education volunteers itching to stay engaged in farm-friendly outreach.

With most local ag-education outreach activities curtailed until further notice, county Farm Bureau Promotion & Education leaders are encouraged to push their creative envelopes outside the box. Here are a number of practical considerations compiled by your state staff for county Farm Bureau P&E programs to consider.

Follow your school districts’ lead in maintaining your relationships and updating plans with local schools. Their priorities and schedules once classes resume may differ substantially from the norm. School staff and administrators may be slow to respond and uneasy about making plans — even for the 2020-21 school year.

Consider creative ways to engage the schools/teachers to maintain those relationships and stay on their radar when it’s time to plan future events. If you already have supplies ready for Project RED teacher bags, consider donating them once school resumes, with a save-the-date for next year’s event. Or consider handing them out during Teacher Appreciation Week, May 4-8. 

If you had plans to read a book during National Agriculture Week, consider donating the books and lesson plans to the school or public libraries.

Video ideas

Create brief videos describing specific tasks, animals, implements or projects on your farm (like this one). Share them via social media or directly with teachers for use in classrooms when school resumes. Video tips:

  • Wear your “I am agriculture” shirt or a similar alternative.
  • Your recording location should well-lit (outside), have an interesting background and be free of wind and other background noise.
  • Use simple, everyday words — no ag-industry jargon!
  • Set up your phone/camera/tablet in a landscape (horizontal) orientation, and get close enough to fill the frame with you and the other subject matter (animals, equipment) you’re discussing.

NOTE: Book-reading videos have become popular as a means of virtual learning, but posting them publicly violates copyright laws. Live reading videos (no history saved) or videos posted to private groups (like a classroom Facebook group) are sometimes allowable, but not recommended.

Resources for future activities

For more tips, information and practical resources, don’t hesitate to contact your MFB regional representative, state P&E committee members, or MFB staffers Tonia Ritter and Amelia Miller.

e-Learning with Ag in the Classroom

As teachers prepare to teach virtually over the next couple of months, MFB staff will be sharing standards-based materials to assist in this e-learning.

Follow the Michigan Agriculture in the Classroom Facebook page for up-to-date online lessons, videos and activities for students in grades K-12.

Lessons will connect agricultural concepts to plant and animal life cycles, nutrition, careers and more!

If that global pandemic has sidelined your usual ag-education efforts, here’s a healthy dose of resources for Promotion & Education volunteers itching to stay engaged in farm-friendly outreach.
Michigan Farm Bureau

#StillFarming — with Casey BozungBridget MooreCalby GarrisonJordan NollMichael NollChristopher HeckDave WyrickDaniela DryerCarla WardinSara BronkemaEmily BoeveBrigette LeachAllan Robinette and Julie Monroe-Stephenson.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Thank you farmers...
#StillFarming
#StillFarming
Michigan Farm News

 

The sixteen 2020 Young Farmer finalists have been announced, with four in the Ag Leader Award category featured in this offering.

The Ag Leader Award recognizes successful young farmers for outstanding leadership roles in Farm Bureau, agriculture, and his or her local community. Contestants are judged on their ability to actively serve in leadership roles while managing a successful farm operation.

Ag Leader Award finalists:

KATELYN PACKARD is a Washtenaw County dairy farmer, milking 400 cows and raising 800 acres of corn, alfalfa, wheat, soybeans and forage crops with her grandparents, parents, brother and husband.

“I became a full-time employee of our family’s operation beginning in 2014 when I graduated from Michigan State University,” Packard said. “I recently purchased a share in the limited liability corporation that encompasses our dairy in 2019. My specific roles on my operation include cattle health and mastitis management, parlor management, inventory management, and employee training and management.”

Packard’s leadership activities over the past five years is impressive. It includes involvement on multiple county committees and involvement in numerous events. She’s also very active with non-Farm Bureau organizations.

“In 2018, I brought a new idea to our county Promotion and Education committee to host an agriculture themed trick-or-treat event,” she said. “The event grew into our now annual ‘Treat of Agriculture.’ It’s a trick-or-treat event featuring Michigan agriculture products. Instead of handing out candy, as is traditional, we hand out various agriculture products at various interactive stations.

“The first year, 2018, we had 18 trick-or-treat stations and hosted 72 attendees. In 2019, we grew to 21 stations featuring more Michigan agriculture products and hosted 204 attendees. For both years, 80% of these attendees were from non-agriculture communities,” Packard added.

Packard and her husband, Joe, live in Manchester.

Katelyn Packard wins Young Farmer Ag Leader Award!
Kathy Siler

Thursday Thought to ponder. We invite you to share one of your special “inside or outside the barn” moments with a comment or photo. Check the comments for some great “inside the barn” moments from a past Project RED.
#ThursdayThought
#Farming365
#farmlife
#ThursdayThought #Farming365 #farmlife
JustGiving.com

Washtenaw County Farm Bureau is proud to help Michigan Farm Bureau in supporting the Million Meals Challenge campaign by donating.
The goal is to raise funds to provide one million meals to food-insecure children and families across Michigan through this difficult time.
Donations will be supporting the 7 regional food banks across the state, benefiting all 83 counties!
Washtenaw County Farm Bureau was proud to donate funds towards the Million Meal Challenge
Michigan Farm Bureau

Farm Bureau Insurance Managing Partner and Agent Charitable Fund Committee Member Nick Hurst sorting fresh fruit at the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan in Flint 2019

LANSING – To help Michigan consumers bridge the food gap during the state’s ongoing COVID challenge, the Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies — Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan, Michigan Farm Bureau and the Agent Charitable Fund — have announced the launch of a statewide fundraiser, the “Million Meal Challenge.”

The Agent Charitable Fund and Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan will donate $50,000 during the Million Meal Challenge and will match up to $50,000 in additional donations from members, clients and supporters.

With every dollar raised equating to six meals, the goal is to collectively donate a million meals to the seven regional food banks in Michigan, benefitting all 83 counties. 

In announcing the Million Meal Challenge, Don Simon, CEO, Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan, said efforts to minimize exposure of COVID-19 through Michigan’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order (EO 2020-21) closing schools, restaurants and other establishments deemed non-essential, has left many families struggling to make ends meet. 

“Right now, it is more important than ever for our state to come together,” Simon said. “As we all face this pandemic, helping to provide Michigan children and families with healthy meals during this trying time is a great way for us to do just that. The entire Farm Bureau family is proud to sponsor this challenge so that together, with our partners and community members, we can provide one million meals.”

The fundraiser will engage every person who is part of the Michigan Farm Bureau family – agents, members, staff and insureds – to come together and support each other through uncertain times, according to Merrick Maris, Farm Bureau Insurance agent and Agent Charitable Fund Committee chair. 

“The Agent Charitable Fund was created to help people in need,” Maris said. “Our agents came together and created this fund in 2018 because we wanted to support the greater Michigan community, specifically children. This challenge allows us to ensure our kids and families who are in need are provided for during this time of crisis.” 

The Agent Charitable Fund, whose mission is to end hunger in Michigan, is a donor-designated fund administered through the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture. The Michigan Foundation for Agriculture, a 501(c)(3) governed by Michigan Farm Bureaus board of directors, positively contributes to the future of Michigan agriculture through leadership and educational programming.

Through grant programs and donations, Farm Bureau agents, clients and partners provide food and educational programs to Michigan residents struggling with hunger and aid the more than 3,000 hunger-relief agencies throughout the state. To donate toward the Million Meal Challenge, visit https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/millionmeals.

Michigan Farm Bureau and Michigan Farm News are committed to providing its members and readers with the latest news and information on the COVID-19 pandemic. For news, updates and resources, visit https://www.michfb.com/MI/Coronavirus/. The page will be updated daily as more information becomes available.

The Agent Charitable Fund and Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan will donate $50,000 during the Million Meal Challenge and will match up to $50,000 in additional donations from members, clients and supporters.
Becca Gulliver

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine / You make me happy, when skies are grey / You’ll never know dear, how much I love you / Please don’t take my sunshine away…”

Growing up, that was one of my favorite songs to hear my mom sing to me and my siblings. Now I enjoy hearing her sing it to my nieces and nephew, but thanks to coronavirus I haven’t been able to experience it lately. More isolated now than ever before, how do we find that sunshine — that light at the end of this tunnel?

Enduring 2019 was hard enough; now the unanswered questions 2020 is asking only increases our stress. From market access and depressed prices to just making everyday ends meet, we are facing unprecedented new challenges.

So: We. Are. STRESSED!

Some stress is normal even in everyday situations; what makes the difference is how you handle that stress. During the first “Feed Your Soul” retreat for women in agriculture, Cultivate Balance founder Sarah Zastrow (a Midland County Farm Bureau member) talks about the responsibility ‘pie’ and how, with all the stress and pressure we face, we must first identify that small piece of the pie we can control: OURSELVES.

We control how we react, respond and engage. Once we’ve identified our slice of the responsibility pie, we can learn to give ourselves some grace and finding the good — all vital to developing a healthy mindset.

Three tactics MSU Extension recommends for developing a healthy mindset are: positive self-talkdeep breathing or meditation, and practicing acceptance of what we can control.

Also consider integrating a gratitude practice into your daily routine. Keep a notepad next to your coffee pot to write down three good things from the previous day like Sarah does. Saginaw County member Amanda Sollman jots hers down in her planner throughout the day.

Find a way to bring your entire family into the practice by sharing around the table at dinner. Share what you are #quarantinegrateful for on social media, like Ogemaw County member Elaine Palm.

If you were at the 2020 Young Farmer Leaders Conference, you heard speaker Paul Long encourage us to ingrain healthy mindset practices by greeting others with “What’s good?” — challenging them to respond in the positive. MFB’s State Young Farmer Committee took that advice to heart; their weekly confabs are now “What’s Good Wednesdays.”

Deep breathing or meditation can look different for everyone. If technology is your thing, there are breathing apps for your smartphone. A trick I picked up from a friend for when I’m so stressed I can’t focus — “brain fog” —is to look in a mirror and envision myself blowing that fog out of my head with each breath.

Farmers we are constantly on the go, so how do you work such practices into your day? Find what works best for you.

Another effective stress-management tool is physical exercise, which most farming already has plenty of. If you can’t work in a short walk, just take a moment after stacking hay bales. If you’re walking fields scouting for pests, take some time for your brain chemistry to do its job reducing stress before moving right onto the next task.

More than anything, understand that you — that we — are not alone in this, and that it’s okay to reach out for help and just to talk with someone. Don’t hesitate to seek out a counselor or therapist when needed.

A good starting point is MSU Extension’s Farm Stress Program, now equipped to connect farmers with online counseling resources. In many conversations with Barb Smith, director of the Barb Smith Suicide Resource and Response Network, she’s said how farmers sometimes care for their tractors better than they care for themselves. Don’t forget and don’t neglect you — the only piece of the pie you can control!

As challenges come at us from every angle, and it gets harder to see light at the end of the tunnel, don’t forget that song my mom and so many others taught us:

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine… Please don’t take my sunshine away!”

Becca Gulliver is MFB’s Regional Manager in the Saginaw Valley, serving Farm Bureau members in Bay, Gratiot, Isabella, Midland and Saginaw counties.

Farm stress resources

 

The Agent Charitable Fund and Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan will donate $50,000 during the Million Meal Challenge and will match up to $50,000 in additional donations from members, clients and supporters.
Katie Eisenberger

Nine FFA chapters were honored at the Michigan FFA Convention for working ag-literacy efforts in their communities 

The Michigan Foundation for Agriculture’s #SpeakAgMichigan award honored nine FFA chapters with a total of $5,000 during the Michigan FFA Convention, March 4 at Michigan State University. Recognized chapters are working to help their community become more agriculturally literate, giving them a basic understanding of raising plants and animals for food, fuel and fiber.

Gold Chapters IthacaMontague and North Huron each received $800.

Receiving $500 as silver chapters were CaledoniaRavennaSt. Louis and Springport.

Bronze chapters receiving $300 were Breckenridge and Webberville.

Collectively, award recipients taught agriculture-based lessons to more than 6,000 students in their local school districts. These high school FFA members set goals, communicated with elementary teachers, planned and delivered grade-appropriate lessons or educational stations to show the many ways agriculture products are present in daily life. In addition, these award recipients organized agriculture and natural resources educational programming for more than 5,000 adults. Many partnered with their county Farm Bureaus to enhance programming for both organizations.

The Michigan Foundation for Agriculture’s mission is to communicate agriculture’s message to consumers and students through educational programming and to provide leadership development for agriculturalists of today and tomorrow. This award does just that. Inspired by National FFA’s similar initiative, the #SpeakAgMichigan award is more than just a social media trend, it can be a language used to close the gap between agriculture and consumers.

“The #SpeakAgMichigan Awards supports two of Michigan Farm Bureau’s top priorities: leadership development and consumer outreach. We are encouraged by, and are proud to recognize, the efforts of young agriculture leaders to bridge the communication gap between farmers and our consumers,” said Alex Schnabelrauch, director of the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture. “These FFA students are making a real difference in their schools and communities, and we look forward to connecting them with leadership and outreach opportunities long after graduation.”

Chapters receiving #SpeakAgMichigan award received a monetary contribution to further their agricultural literacy outreach efforts. Individual chapter efforts will be highlighted through out the fall of 2020 when the online application opens Sept. 1. Applications are due Dec. 1.

The Michigan Foundation for Agriculture, 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. The Michigan FFA Association is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of young people by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

For more information, contact MFB Education High School & Collegiate Programs Specialist Katie Eisenberger at 517-679-5444.

The Michigan Foundation for Agriculture’s #SpeakAgMichigan award honored nine FFA chapters with a total of $5,000 during the Michigan FFA Convention, March 4 at Michigan State University.
Michigan Farm Bureau
The 2020 ProFILE class

From a group of young Michigan professionals feeling the first warm rays of spring on their face after a long, cold winter, the upbeat chatter is to be expected. Ahead of them lies one mile of rolling Pennsylvania farmland, a late-afternoon walk in air that’s fresh and over ground popping with the season’s first shoots of green.

At the command of instructor Joe Mieczkowski, the march commences. It’s a walk that takes roughly 30 minutes at a leisurely pace. Mieczkowski pauses along the way:

“2,500 left at this point.”

“1,000 left.”

“500 left.”

“250 left.”

The laughter and conversation wane as the distance between the group and the stone wall is reduced. And understandably so. While this land is now covered in crops, somewhere below the surface is the blood of thousands.

This Pennsylvania field is the spot of the culminating assault known (incorrectly) as Pickett’s Charge. It is here that some 12,000 Confederate soldiers walked headlong into a hail of Union bullets, artillery fire and munitions. When the Michigan Farm Bureau ProFILE class finished its march across that revenant ground, it stood at a point where history tells us roughly just 100 of the 12,000 made it to. It was a spectacular and decisive failure, fueled in large part by a likely lapse in leadership and decision-making.

“If there is a better place to study the impact leadership can have than here on the Gettysburg battlefields, I’ve yet to see it,” said Mieczkowski. “In your careers, you will stand where Gen. Lee stood, where Pickett stood, where Longstreet stood. The question is this: How will you lead your troops?”

ProFILE is Michigan Farm Bureau’s Institute for Leadership Education, a leadership experience for MFB members ages 25-35. The 15-month intensive is designed to provide participants with opportunities and experiences to help them grow personally and professionally.

Prior to the Washington Legislative Seminar, the 2020 ProFILE class of 15 students spent two days in Gettysburg, learning about leadership styles, techniques and tactics as part of the Lincoln Leadership Institute at Gettysburg.

The full-day course included classroom instruction at the historic David Wills House, where Pres. Lincoln stayed and prepared the Gettysburg address. The classroom instruction was then put to practical, real-world use on location where critical moments of leadership and decision-making took place during the battle at Gettysburg. From Union Col. Chamberlain’s inspirational defense of the unit’s flank on Little Round Top to Gen. Robert E. Lee’s fateful decision to attack the center of the Union line at Cemetery Ridge.

“Being in Gettysburg and seeing where the battle took place, thinking about how the decisions were made really was amazing,” said Casey Bozung of Kalamazoo County. “It’s something I’ll take back to my personal and professional life and will think about how I can be a better transactional and transformational leader.”

The Lincoln Leadership Institute is nationally renowned for its curriculum and has trained leaders from some of the country’s largest companies and brands. That reputation, according to the ProFILE participants, was well-earned.

“It was really an amazing experience,” said Matt Marston of Livingston County. “The hands-on experience and seeing exactly how the decisions and actions of those leaders changed history was awesome.”

The Gettysburg visit is just one facet of the 15-month ProFILE course. The group already participated in sessions on public speaking and, in September, will convene in St. Johns for media training.

“Our goal is to challenge the participants. We see this as an opportunity for their organization, Michigan Farm Bureau, to invest in them as a leader,” said Emily Reinart, Grassroots Policy

From a group of young Michigan professionals feeling the first warm rays of spring on their face after a long, cold winter, the upbeat chatter is to be expected.
Kathy Siler



We send our appreciation to the local libraries who had generously agreed to showcase agriculture displays for their patrons.
Please continue to support libraries by visiting their links to discover and utilize online services and activities.
Prayers for the health and safety of all libraries’ staff... and their patrons.
With: Chelsea District LibraryManchester District LibraryMilan Public Library - Milan, MichiganSaline District LibraryYpsilanti District Library

#AgWeek2020 #NationalAgWeek #farm365 #AgWeek #farmbureauproud

We send our appreciation to the local libraries who

Joe Theisen explained how to raise tens of thousands of annuals for wholesaling across metro Detroit. 

Beside some of the fastest moving water in the world, Farm Bureau members who attended the 2020 Voice of Agriculture Conference were flooded with new ideas and resources to boost their outreach efforts back home. Overlooking the churning St. Clair River, this year’s event brought more than 280 attendees to the Blue Water Convention Center in Port Huron Feb. 5-6.

Tours 

Tours explored unchartered Farm Bureau conference territory in St. Clair and Sanilac counties.

One route tasted spring inside Theisen’s Greenhouse, learning how the family farm raises annuals for wholesale to metro Detroit area retailers.

That group continued to Lauwer’s Sheep Farm to see newborn lambs and learn how the cultural landscape of southeast Michigan spurred the modern shepherds’ choice to breed and raise lamb year-round.

The tour finished at Blake’s Orchard, an agritourism powerhouse centered around family-friendly experiences and a booming hard cider empire.

The second tour route visited the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Port of Port Huron agricultural inspection facility.

Participants saw first-hand the need for action on Farm Bureau’s policy supporting increased staffing of inspection facilities nationwide. They met with inspection staff to explore how the unit ensures biosecurity through thorough inspection of agricultural products entering the U.S. from Canada and beyond.

The group also visited the USDA’s Veterinary Inspection station to see livestock import protocols in action.

The last stop was at Michigan’s oldest lighthouse, Fort Gratiot, where some participants met the challenge of climbing clear to the top of the light tower.

Sessions 

Day two started with keynote speaker and social media guru Michelle ”Farm Babe” Miller, who shared her online savvy and techniques for sharing personal farm stories on the web. (See related article here.)

From communications to mental health and agritourism, breakout sessions throughout the day provided participants with tools for improving their farm businesses or county Farm Bureau volunteer efforts.

Partnering organizations contributing to the diversity of agenda topics included MSU Extension 4-H, Michigan Sugar Company, Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee, Michigan Pork Producers Association and the Michigan Ag Council.

Visiting from across the river, Farm and Food Care Ontario, an agriculture promotional non-profit, shared examples of outreach activities engaging farmers in Canada’s most populous province.

Charlotte Halverson of the Agri-Safe Network provided a train-the-trainer session equipping participants with three youth-in-agriculture safety modules which these participants could now conduct in their own counties. Charlotte also lead a second session focused on mental health care resources in rural communities.

Volunteers from Washtenaw County showcased their award-winning “Treat of Agriculture” program in a session, encouraging other counties to try similar activities back home. Their indoor, trick-or-treat-style event provides a safe, climate-controlled environment all while educating young participants about Michigan-raised agriculture products.

District meetings rounded out attendees’ networking opportunities. Members gathered to share ideas, discuss common ground and plan events within their own regions.

Next year will see the return of MFB’s Growing Together Conference, combining Voice of Agriculture and Young Farmer Leaders conferences, Feb. 19-21, 2021 at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids.

    
Beside some of the fastest moving water in the world, Farm Bureau members who attended the 2020 Voice of Agriculture Conference were flooded with new ideas and resources to boost their outreach efforts back home. Overlooking the churning St. Clair Ri
Megan Sprague

Tyler and Hannah Shepherd

Bombarded daily with poor crop forecasts and bankruptcy reports, it’s easy to worry the future of agriculture might be bleak, but that future looked bright — blinding, even — at this year’s Young Farmer Leaders Conference.  

About 350 young farmers took over the Grand Traverse Resort Feb. 21-23 to learn more about how they could grow as both businesspeople and community members. As the new Young Farmer program specialist, it was inspiring to see so many eager faces taking time out of busy schedules to bring back information to their counties and farms.

Members went on local tours; networked during “larger than life” board games and cornhole; and attended a full day of sessions ranging from financial management to the importance of incorporating stress-relieving activities to their daily routine. 

As a new MFB staffer, the most rewarding part was hearing about our members’ experiences firsthand. They were both encouraged and excited, making me geeked for a whole year of programing with this amazing group, and looking forward to next year’s Growing Together Conference, Feb. 19-21, 2021 in Grand Rapids.  

One member told me the session titled “Building Stronger Relationships in Farm Families,” presented by Ron Hanson from the University of Nebraska, validated their thoughts on the tough discussion about succession planning they would have when they returned home.

After our keynote, Paul Long, challenged us to ask questions in ways that cause people to smile, I had attendees asking me what the best part of my morning was. Other attendees told me they intended on doing stretches taught in Sarah Zastrow’s session on mental health and self-care.

The information and practices these young farmers gained from attending YFLC were not just exciting in the moment but made a strong impact on our members. If you don’t believe me, here are some thoughts they shared on social media:

  • “This weekend I traveled north for #yflc2020 up near Traverse City. As always it was a great Young Farmer conference. Got to see and network with friends and other familiar faces this weekend along with learning a lot. But in the last picture, these ladies I have never seen or met before until this weekend. As I was sitting and having a drink with a few friends these two came up to me and said ‘I couldn’t help but over hear that you guys are farmers.’ At that moment for the location we were at I thought for sure I was going to have to defend our occupation, but by my surprise they wanted to thank us and say how much they appreciate farmers. They were surprised by my response when I said thank you and I went on to explain that we don’t hear that too often and I really appreciated their support.” Cody Ferry, Genesee County 
  • “Mike and I spent the weekend networking, learning and relaxing with other Young Farmers at #YFLC2020. First, I never thought I’d learn social media strategies from an agronomist. And second, this weekend has made me so proud to be a part of the farming community. I don’t think the general population realizes how relevant farming is in our daily lives. And that it’s so much more than planting and harvesting. I’m looking forward to our 2020 season and being more involved, aware and hopefully beneficial to Schwab Farms! Thanks for the adventurous weekend, MFB Young Farmer Program!” —Lauren Schwab, Bay County

  • “Tyler and I had an awesome opportunity this weekend to attend the Young Farmer Leadership Conference! We are so thankful to Farm Bureau for hosting this event and providing us this experience! We hope to bring many ideas, techniques, and managing skills learned this weekend into our farm.” —Hannah Shepherd, Saginaw County  

If you come across a young farmer in the upcoming months, make sure to ask them if they attended and if so, what they loved the most. I’m confident it will make you smile knowing the future is promising for agriculture.

Megan Sprague is MFB’s new Young Farmer program specialist.

Bombarded daily with poor crop forecasts and bankruptcy reports, it’s easy to worry the future of agriculture might be bleak, but that future looked bright — blinding, even — at this year’s Young Farmer Leaders Conference.

Chelsea Luedtke speaks during a district discussion meet in Antrim County

District-level discussion meets ramp up this spring and early summer, with the popular events engaging Young Farmers (ages 18-35) statewide in conversation about today’s most important agricultural topics.

Discussion meets are a fun competition meant to simulate committee-meeting conversations in which active participation is expected from everyone around the table. The contests are evaluated on an exchange of ideas and information on a pre-determined topic.

Participants build vital discussion skills, develop a keen understanding of real-world issues affecting the industry and explore how groups can reach consensus toward solving problems. They’re also a great way to meet other Young Farmers — and spectators are always welcome!

Find your district’s discussion meet below and make plans to attend!

  • District 1 — March 14 at Griner Farms in Jones; contact Sarah Pion, 269-377-4841
  • District 2 — March 19 at Ironbark Brewing Company and Grand River Brewery, Jackson; contact Paul Pridgeon, 517-320-4444
  • District 3 — March 28 at Planters Paradise & Floral Gardens, Macomb; contact Hannah Meyers, 616-485-4469
  • District 4 — March 31 at Thornapple Point, Grand Rapids; contact Adam Dietrich, 616-889-1857
  • District 5 — April 18 at Demmer Center, Lansing; contact Hannah Lange, 231-383-3131
  • District 6 — July 9; location TBD; contact Beth Rupprecht, 989-640-6913
  • District 7 — March 26 at Regional Center for Agriscience & Career Advancement, Fremont; contact Bridget Moore, 989-640-6973
  • District 8 — March 21 at Merrell Farms, Freeland; contact Becca Gulliver, 989-708-1082
  • District 9 — June; location TBD; contact Nicole Jennings, 810-569-9610
  • District 10 — June 24 at The Highway Brewing Company, West Branch; contact Sonya Novotny, 248-420-2340
  • District 11 — March 26 at The Thirsty Sturgeon Bar & Grille, Wolverine; contact Cole Iaquinto, 810-422-7322
  • District 12 — March 16 at Bay College, Escanaba; contact Craig Knudson, 231-357-3864

Discussion meets are open to Farm Bureau members ages 18-35. Visit www.michfb.com/YFDiscussionMeetfor the topics and more information.

District-level discussion meets ramp up this spring and early summer, with the popular events engaging Young Farmers (ages 18-35) statewide in conversation about today’s most important agricultural topics.
Katelyn Packard

Join fellow Farm Bureau members for a tasty and informative Pancake Breakfast, hosted by the Washtenaw County Farm Bureau Promotion & Education Committee!

Ag-vocacy Pancake Breakfast:

POSTPONED

PREVIOUS DATE: Saturday, April 18th at 10 a.m. in Saline at St. James United Church of Christ at 11005 West Michigan Ave.
NEW DATE: July 18th
LOCATION: To Be Determined

It will include a FREE pancake breakfast, followed by a Consumer Conversation training. 

To plan for food, please RSVP to [email protected] OR at AGvocacyBreakfast.eventbrite.com

POSTPONED! New Date: July 18th Join your fellow Farm Bureau members for a tasty and informative Ag-vocacy pancake breakfast!
Washtenaw County Farm Bureau

POSTPONED You're Invited to a Town Hall Meet & Greet!

Due to the current health concerns, this event is now POSTPONED until further notice.

On behalf of Washtenaw County Farm Bureau, I would like to personally invite you to an upcoming fellowship event we will be hosting on Monday, March 30, 2020 from 6-8 p.m. 

This will be a town hall-style gathering, where Washtenaw County Farm Bureau aims to connect members of our agriculture community in a positive yet casual way with the local officials who help make decisions that affect our every day operations.

Location: Lodi Township Hall
Address: 3755 Pleasant Lake Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48103

RSVP to 734-429-1420 or [email protected] by March 25, 2020 for refreshment coordination purposes.

Sincerely,

Joe Packard
Washtenaw County Farm Bureau President
Due to current health concerns this event is POSTPONED until further notice. A new date and time will be picked later this spring.
Michigan Farm Bureau
Jeremy Winsor was MFB's 2019 Educator of the Year.

Nominations for MFB’s 2020 Educator of the Year Award are due no later than Feb. 15.

Suitable nominees include any educator in your county who does an outstanding job incorporating agriculture into their curriculum and strengthening relationships between educators and your county Farm Bureau.

Both agriscience and/or K-12 educators are eligible. Qualified nominees should use innovative teaching techniques to increase their students’ understanding of agriculture.

The winner will be honored at MFB’s 2020 Annual Meeting and will receive a grant for classroom supplies and a scholarship to attend the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference, June 24-26 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Nominations must be completed online by Feb. 15.

For more information, contact Amelia Miller, 517-679-5688.

Nominations for MFB’s 2020 Educator of the Year Award are due no later than Feb. 15.
Michigan Farm Bureau
Kalamazoo County FB members enjoy a good rapport with U.S. Dist. 5 Congressman Fred Upton, who regularly attends Farm Bureau gatherings to exchange information on ag-related issues.

Close and regular contact with regulators and elected officials is the not-so-secret approach the Kalamazoo County Farm Bureau uses to maintain its high profile among decision-makers. Whether it’s a state agriculture commissioner or a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, no public official is beyond approaching from engaged Kalamazoo members advocating on behalf of their neighbors and farmers statewide.

For its full-court press approach to addressing issues and keeping officials aware of Farm Bureau’s stances on them, the Kalamazoo County Farm Bureau has earned MFB’s 2020 Excellence in Grassroots Lobbying Award.

One longstanding issue that really got Kalamazoo members motivated to take action was the matter of removing zoning conformance from the site-selection GAAMPs (generally accepted agricultural management practices.)

“This idea began here nearly five years ago, when a local township changed its zoning and made agriculture practically illegal — all to stop livestock facilities from being built within a prime farming area,” recalls Kelly Leach, president of the Kalamazoo County Farm Bureau.

Ever since, Kalamazoo members have worked relentlessly to be a continual presence at township board and planning commission meetings, fine-tuning policy addressing the issue and lobbying officials to protect agriculture.

“Through this issue we were even able to engage several un-involved members and spark their interest in strengthening the grassroots power of our organization,” Leach said. “This is a perfect example of the importance and effectiveness of strong grassroots lobbying to solve a problem detrimental to our industry.”

Kalamazoo’s regular schedule is a study in public affairs engagement. Upwards of a dozen elected officials or staffers attend the county’s annual policy development meeting, where they get a front-row seat on local issues affecting local farmers.

That theme continues at the county annual, regularly attended by U.S. Dist. 6 Representative Fred Upton and the region’s state reps and senators.

“We host these events each year to engage and involve our local, state and national officials and allow them to interact with our members,” Leach said.

Congressman Upton himself was the focus of a special roundtable last summer regarding the effects of adverse weather on the region’s farms.

“After touring several fields, Congressman Upton spoke with several farmer members from around the county to discuss policy issues impacting them,” Leach said. “Almost a dozen of our members met with him, his staff and several members of the media.”

Kalamazoo last year also co-hosted a farm tour for elected officials, working with the local Conservation District. Stops included a commercial greenhouse, a fruit and vegetable agritourism operation, a large commercial grain operation and a dairy farm.

“We filled a commercial-size bus with 12 elected officials, 15 of our farmer members and 10 staffers who either rode the bus or attended one of the tour stops,” Leach said.

Officials know they’re welcome at Kalamazoo’s monthly board meetings to hear about issues, share how they'll address them and forge stronger bonds with local farmers.

Kalamazoo members take full advantage of resources for maintaining open lines of communication with the officials who represent them in government and the regulatory staff whose decisions affect farmers’ livelihoods.

For urgent issues, every Farm Bureau member knows there’s no substitute for personal, face-to-face interaction. That’s how Kalamazoo members faced last summer’s challenges to the site-selection GAAMPs.

“Several of our members lobbied specific ag commissioners on the need to remove zoning conformance from the site-selection GAAMPs,” Leach said. “There was also a group of our members who traveled to personally attend and testify on this issue at several ag commission meetings over the past few years.”

Kalamazoo members with particularly close relations to officials are comfortable calling them directly on the phone. Others have made full use of MFB’s new ‘Farm Feed’ texting service to make their voices heard on issues including the Clean Water Rule, USDA emergency provisions, low-interest loans and glyphosate regulation.

The award will be presented at the annual Lansing Legislative Seminar, Feb. 25 at the Lansing Center. For its efforts Kalamazoo County Farm Bureau receives a $500 grant for use toward future grassroots lobbying activities.

 

For its full-court press approach to addressing issues and keeping officials aware of Farm Bureau’s stances on them, the Kalamazoo County Farm Bureau has earned MFB’s 2020 Excellence in Grassroots Lobbying Award.
Washtenaw County Farm Bureau

The Sunday Fun Day Committee is excited to announce their first annual Euchre Tournament!


Update: Thank you to the over 30 participants who attended and enjoyed the first annual Euchre Tournament!

This membership appreciation event is open to all Washtenaw County Farm Bureau members and guests, as well as members of the community who may be interested.

Where and when is the event you ask? The Euchre Tournament will be held at the Sharon United Methodist Church, which is located at 19980 W Pleasant Lake Rd, Manchester, MI 48158.

The Euchre Tournament will be played in the Round Robin style, 10 rounds total, highest points wins, and "going alone" points will be tie breakers. 

Please RSVP by March 3, 2020 to the Washtenaw County Farm Bureau office at 734-429-1420 or email [email protected]

Dinner will be pizza and pop from Ollie's of Manchester.
Come one, come all, to the Sunday Fun Day Euchre Tournament! Enjoy a game of Euchre with your friends and neighbors.
Jeremy C. Nagel



Top photo: Kathleen Slater-Hirsch at MFB's 2018 Annual Meeting
Middle photo: Her family's name was part of the Holton Township landscape long before Kathy Slater grew up there, the eldest of five daughters on her parent's Muskegon County dairy farm.
Bottom photo: Kathleen Slater-Hirsch and her son Bill flanked by Lisa Fedewa and Tom Nugent representing the MFB Family of Companies 

Even the most senior Farm Bureau veterans don’t likely remember a time when the state annual meeting didn’t smell like a movie theatre lobby from start to finish. That’s because Kent County Farm Bureau member Kathy Slater-Hirsch has been popping corn at the event for the past four decades.

How she got to become a fixture at the largest annual gathering of Michigan farmers is a story any of those farmers will appreciate, as it embodies the same kind of grit and determination characteristic of those who make their living from the land.

Kathy Slater grew up the eldest of five daughters on a dairy farm in northeastern Muskegon County, near Holton.

“My dad was a lifetime Farm Bureau member — he loved it — his brothers did, too. A lot of them were farmers,” Kathy said between popcorn rushes at MFB’s 2018 Annual Meeting. “He was quite the inventor and did a lot of things first in Michigan. He was the first to have a pipeline milker, bulk tank… He had all sorts of equipment to help him work because he only had girls — no boys!”

Both her parents in those early years embodied the kind of social hospitality Kathy would, later in life, bring full-circle back to the greater Farm Bureau family.

“I remember when they were first married, my mom would have a luncheon in the house and the members would come from all around,” she remembers, describing the rituals that endure to this day among Farm Bureau Community Groups.

“Dad would get everything all spiffy in the barn for the neighbors,” she said. “It was a social event — a good, social gathering of the neighborhood.”

Kathy would eventually leave the farm, graduate from accounting school, and move to Kansas City where she worked for Gulf Oil through the 1970s. She and her husband eventually returned to Michigan to start their family in Grand Rapids.

In more ways than one, their son Bill Hirsch would go on to complete the story.

By the mid-1980s, the same high interest rates and inflation that was putting so many farms into bankruptcy had the Hirsch family in a similar bind.

“And my father just walked away,” Bill remembers. “He left my mom and us — a 13-year-old daughter and a 15-year-old son — under a mountain of debt.”

There were multiple mortgages, massive credit card debt and leins on auto loans. But even under those most dire of circumstances, the dairyman’s daughter from Holton rolled up her sleeves and got to work.

Besides the family and financial disaster her husband left behind, he also walked away from the popcorn wagon they’d bought from a relative a decade earlier — a 1926 Cretors originally designed to be drawn by horses. The antique went straight into storage as a sacred family heirloom, but in the economy of the mid-‘80s, it was forced back into service.

“It needed to help pay for itself,” Bill remembers.

Its first outing was at an antique market in Allegan, a few years before Kathy took on the annual Farm Bureau gig. In addition to popcorning full-tilt at events across multiple states, she had also begun a jewelry business, a carpet-cleaning business and was managing rental units across Grand Rapids.

“My mom can be very, um, strong-willed,” Bill said. “For the war she fought on her own and got through, I love her dearly and I’m just amazed at what she’s accomplished and achieved in her life.

“She never filed for bankruptcy. She never lost the house.

“In my eyes she’s always been very successful, and she did not want to quit or retire ever. She’s said to me countless times, ‘Retiring’s not in my vocabulary.’ She didn’t want to give up.”

But Parkinson’s Disease is also strong-willed, eroding the links between brain and body until Kathy was forced at last onto the sidelines.

MFB’s 2019 Annual Meeting was her last.

In another full-circle twist, Bill is downsizing his own dairy operation to make room for the popcorn wagon that’s been part of his family’s identity since the ‘70s.

“Now I feel like this is a family legacy and it needs to continue. People love it.”

The Allegan antique market is still on the agenda, as is the Farm Bureau annual meeting, but this year it’ll be Bill filling the bags in his mother’s place.

For 40 years of making Michigan Farm Bureau’s annual meeting crunchier, saltier and more buttery than it otherwise would be, Kathy Slater-Hirsch was recently honored with a token of the organization’s appreciation. Earlier this month MFB Human Resources Director Tom Nugent and Lisa Fedewa, Engagement Specialist for Farm Bureau Insurance, delivered flowers, a plaque and other tokens of appreciation to the beloved “Popcorn Lady.”

“She loved the recognition,” Bill said. “She’s an outstanding lady.

“She took care of me now it’s my turn to take care of her.”

From a Muskegon County dairy farm through life’s most daunting crises, the “Popcorn Lady” of MFB’s annual meeting passes her legacy onto the next generation.
Washtenaw County Farm Bureau

Kim Rose
The Voice of Ag Conference kicked off yesterday at the Blue Water Convention Center in Port Huron.
Several of our members are attending and presenting. Here, we are sharing what we did over the year and what we would like to do in the future.
Voice of Ag Kicks Off
Kathy Siler with courtesy to Manchester Mirror for sharing the story!

Bill and Mike VanRiper

We are overdue in congratulating Bill and Mike VanRiper on their Conservation Farmer of the Year award for their responsible, environmental and conservation farming practices!

Thanks to the Manchester Mirror for sharing about their award with readers.

https://www.facebook.com/523139611094695/posts/3374356432639651/?d=n

Bill and Mike VanRiper Award Recipients
Washtenaw County Farm Bureau





Top - Treat of Ag Booth at IdeAg Tradeshow

Middle - Jeff Horning; Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue; and Lynda Horning

Bottom - (L-R) WCFB President, Joseph Packard, Katelyn Packard, Amie Frank, Gary Luckhardt, Renee Luckhardt, Mike Mahrle, Kim Mahrle, Steve Thelen,  Kathy Fusilier, Caleb Frank, Lynda Horning, Nancy Thelen, Jeff Horning, and District 3 Director, Mike Fusilier.
Washtenaw County Farm Bureau's "Treat of Ag" event won the Counties Activities of Excellence Award. As such, Washtenaw was invited to present at the IdeAg Tradeshow during the American Farm Bureau Federation's Annual Convention!

A few photos of our award winning “Treat of Ag” event display at the 
AFBF Annual Convention in Austin, TX. During which, Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, visited Washtenaw County Farm Bureau’s booth at AFBF and learned about the Treat of Agriculture event from Jeff & Lyn Horning.

Thanks to all the members for representing Michigan and Washtenaw County at the AFBF Annual Convention! What a great photo!
Washtenaw wins Counties Activities of Excellence Award
Michigan Farm Bureau

Michigan Farm Bureau’s marquee grassroots lobbying event, Lansing Legislative Seminar, is slated for Feb. 25, 2020 and promises an exciting day for members passionate about advocating for agriculture and Farm Bureau policy and learning about state legislative and regulatory issues.

Members interested in participating are encouraged to contact their county Farm Bureau before the Feb. 7 registration deadline.

While the main program begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Lansing Center, members looking to arrive early to the capital city have options for starting their day.

State Capitol Building Tours 

If you’ve never been inside Michigan’s historic capitol building — or it’s just been a while — a visit won’t disappoint! Lansing Legislative Seminar attendees can take a free guided tour of the landmark.

Tours depart the Lansing Center at 8:45 a.m. and 9:45 a.m.; pre-registration is not required. It’s a quarter-mile walk to the capitol, so dress for the weather.

AgriPac Fundraiser 

MFB’s political action committee, AgriPac, welcomes members to show their support for the organization’s efforts to elect farm-friendly candidates by attending a fundraiser at 10:15 a.m. Special guest and political speaker Patrick Haggerty promises to entertain attendees while imparting his insight into the 2020 election and his expertise on grassroots advocacy. A $50 minimum contribution is required; personal checks should be made payable to AgriPac and business checks should be made payable to FarmPac. Credit card payments will be accepted on-site. Pre-registration is encouraged and available here. 

Luncheon Program 

Lansing Legislative’s hallmark lunch program will begin promptly at 11:30 a.m. in the Lansing Center ballrooms, starting with opening remarks from MFB President Carl Bednarski.

The organization has invited the state’s four most influential legislative leaders for a panel discussion: House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering), Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake), House Minority Leader Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills) and Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint).

One ambitious county Farm Bureau will also be recognized with MFB’s annual Excellence in Grassroots Lobbying Award. The recipient will receive a $500 grant and recognition plaque for outstanding efforts to inform and influence elected officials.

Issue Sessions and Networking Break 

That afternoon, members will choose breakout sessions to attend before and after a networking break (featuring MSU Dairy Store ice cream!)

Topics will include legislative or regulatory issues impacting farms and agribusinesses, including environmental policy and water use, state budget items pertinent to the farm sector, a 2020 election preview, grassroots advocacy and more.

Legislative Reception 

Starting around 4:30 p.m. state representatives, senators and dozens of other government and regulatory leaders will begin arriving for the legislative reception, where members will visit with elected officials and discuss current agricultural issues and Farm Bureau policy priorities.

Michigan Farm Bureau’s marquee grassroots lobbying event, Lansing Legislative Seminar, is slated for Feb. 25, 2020 and promises an exciting day for members passionate about advocating for agriculture and Farm Bureau policy and learning about state le
Michigan Farm Bureau

The Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies is partnering with Talons Out Honor Flight to give Farm Bureau members who are veterans of World War II or the Korean War an opportunity to visit their respective war memorial in Washington D.C. and return to a welcome-home celebration May 9, 2020.  

The Family of Companies’ $25,000 pledge will allow for 24 veterans and 24 guardians to attend — two veteran-guardian pairs per district.

“This truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our members who’ve served their country overseas in some of the most horrible conflicts of the 20th century,” said MFB President Carl Bednarski. “The Honor Flight is about commemorating them and their service, and our priority is on honoring the most senior of our member-veterans.

“As younger men and women, they were fortunate to survive wars halfway across the globe — then returned home to work the land and help build the greatest agricultural industry the world has ever known.”

All participating veterans must be accompanied by an able-bodied guardian, responsible for physically assisting veterans prior to and during the flights to and from D.C., and during visits to memorials and Arlington National Cemetery — an active, 18-hour day. (See preliminary agenda here.)

Guardians may not be spouses or significant others and must be between 18 to 70 years of age. To make the most of this rare opportunity, county Farm Bureaus are encouraged to find guardians who are also veterans themselves.

If a district has more than two nominees, they will be selected based on the order applications were received. County Farm Bureaus can sponsor additional veterans and guardians at a cost of $500 per person (totaling $1,000 per vet-guardian pair).

Separate application forms for veterans and guardians are under development and will soon be made available to county Farm Bureau offices.

Farm Bureau members who served in WWII or Korea are encouraged to apply directly to their county Farm Bureau. The county Farm Bureau must submit completed applications to [email protected] by 4:30 p.m. Jan. 31.

For more information, contact Nicole Guilford (517-679-5665) or Jeremy C. Nagel (517-323-6585).

The Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies is partnering with Talons Out Honor Flight to give Farm Bureau members who are veterans of World War II or the Korean War an opportunity to visit their respective war memorial in Washington D.C. and return
Michigan Farm Bureau

Do you know where the latest version of your membership card is?

Most of our members say they don’t carry the card or have an expired one in their wallet. As you can imagine, the membership packet and ID card are expensive items to produce. Each year, Michigan Farm Bureau mails more than 200,000 packets to members when they join or renew their membership.

In an effort to minimize some of those costs and provide timely member information, Michigan Farm Bureau will begin emailing the membership ID card to members with valid email addresses in 2020. The email will contain the same information and resources that are sent in the mailed packets but can be more easily accessed just by pulling up the email.

The email campaign will officially launch in early 2020.

So, next time you renew your membership, be sure to look to your email inbox. Your membership card will be right there waiting for you!

For more information, email our membership services department or call 517-323-6552.


 
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.