Farm Bureau News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COVID-19 and Emergency Powers 

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

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

Among the amendments:

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

Transportation

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

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

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

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

Meat Processing

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

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

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

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

Environmental

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

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

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

Bovine Tuberculosis  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ ~ ~

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

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

~ ~ ~

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

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

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

~ ~ ~

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

~ ~ ~

District Meetings 

District 1

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

District 2

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

District 3

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

District 4

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

District 5

District 6

District 7

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

District 8

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

District 9

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

District 10

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

District 11

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

District 12

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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






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

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

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

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

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

The Johnson family hosted an entire K-12 student body at their potato farm near Sagola.

Champion of Excellence Awards recognize county Farm Bureaus for outstanding grassroots efforts implementing member-developed policy, advocating organizational positions and promoting Michigan agriculture.

Activities are evaluated based on the innovation and effectiveness of programs executed over the preceding program year. Successful programs are shared with other counties so great ideas can spread, enriching Farm Bureau and Michigan agriculture overall.

This is the second batch of Michigan’s 12 district-level winners; look for more in the weeks to come. One state-level winner will be announced at the 2021 Council of Presidents Conference.

District 5

Clinton County Farm Bureau coordinated ‘Clinton County Ghosts, Trivia and Great Food,’ a summerlong scavenger hunt that had participants sampling local fare while learning about the area’s farming legacy.

Guided by a booklet or mobile app, members visited 14 locations, each with clues and questions for points. Winners were selected at the subsequent annual meeting, each earning cash donations for the local school, 4-H or FFA group of their choice.

Participants included local Farm Bureau Insurance agencies, 10 local restaurants, 40 regular members, nine volunteers, 20 non-members and 25 associates. All learned more about how Farm Bureau benefits the community while promoting leadership development, current issues and connecting local residents with agriculture.

A top priority was engaging new and uninvolved members. Program leaders encouraged volunteers to embrace components that interested them, communicate with and support other volunteers, and represent Farm Bureau and Michigan agriculture.

District 12

Iron Range Farm Bureau coordinated with a local school to host a daylong education day at the Johnson family’s potato farm near Sagola. The entire student body, K-12, visited learning locations explaining different aspects of the farm’s operations with mini lessons tailored to each age group.

Each station was manned by a different presenter, including the farm’s own family members, retired teachers and MSU educators, each covering topics suited to their expertise. Together they covered the potato plant life cycle, evolving mechanization, the farm’s history and deep local roots, food safety, irrigation, water quality and storage.

Each presenter linked their presentation to classroom lessons in math, science, mechanics and other areas. Offering content for every age group at one event meant even the school staff learned some things, including the effectiveness of reaching a lot of students in a short time. Altogether 450 students, teachers and chaperones attended, and everyone left impressed by one facet or another, from the heavy equipment to the mountain of potatoes.

Coverage in the local newspaper ensured the event reached into the greater community, far beyond the farm and school. That was a community-relations win for the local farm community, as an abundance of information was shared about crop rotation, water quality and food safety programs, illustrating to all attendees the level of responsibility and environmental stewardship local farms embrace.

District 10

Clare County Farm Bureau’s Tract-or-Treat event last October saw local farmers lining downtown Clare with decorated tractors and implements. Families walked their children from one machine to the next, collecting goodies and enjoying activities along the way.

Treats included farm products like cheese sticks, apples, popcorn, maple sugar candy, honey and mini pumpkins — each with educational information attached.

Rooted in Promotion & Education, the effort informed attendees about locally raised farm products and the equipment used to raise them. Members took questions from children and grown-ups alike, connecting farmers with the community in laid-back, informative conversation.

Over the course of two hours, 13 Clare County members interacted with more than 250 people and handed out information on 15 different fruit, vegetable and livestock commodities — all in a family-friendly setting that dramatically boosted the local Farm Bureau’s profile.

~ ~ ~

Look for another batch of Champions of Excellence district winners in the next Farm Gate, Oct. 20.

Champion of Excellence Awards recognize county Farm Bureaus for outstanding grassroots efforts implementing member-developed policy, advocating organizational positions and promoting Michigan agriculture.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ ~ ~

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

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

~ ~ ~

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

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

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

~ ~ ~

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

~ ~ ~

District Meetings

District 1

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

District 2

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

District 3

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

District 4

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

District 5

District 6

District 7

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

District 8

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

District 9

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

District 10

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

District 11

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

District 12

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

Champion of Excellence Awards recognizes county Farm Bureaus for their outstanding efforts to implement member-developed policy, advocate organizational positions and educate and promote Michigan agriculture.

Grassroots activities are evaluated based on the innovation and effectiveness of programs executed over the preceding program year. Successful programs are then shared with other counties so great ideas can spread and multiply, enriching the greater organization and Michigan agriculture overall.

Following are the first three of Michigan’s 12 district-level winners; look for more in the weeks to come. One state-level winner will be announced at next year’s Council of Presidents Conference.

District 1: Berrien

 
Last November the Berrien County Farm Bureau partnered with 4-H clubs and the Southwest Michigan Collegiate Farm Bureau in “Thanks-4-Giving,” providing bushel baskets full of seasonal edibles to local families in need. Volunteers collaborated to collect and package food, then deliver finished baskets to underprivileged families across southwest Michigan, helping neighbors in need.

By filling gaps left by local agencies, Farm Bureau members led by example, demonstrating it’s better to give than receive. Each participating group contributed, experiencing the rewards of helping the less fortunate while sharing the abundance of southwestern Michigan agriculture.

The project was innovative for its multi-organization collaboration. On packing day, the youth building at the county fairgrounds resembled a food distribution warehouse: rows of food, stacks of baskets, coolers filled with frozen turkeys and a human assembly line circling the room.

From Clover Buds to senior Farm Bureau leaders, everyone worked side-by-side to fill the baskets to overflowing. Excited chatter about fat turkeys and the aroma of fresh-baked rolls filled the air — plus a warm camaraderie knowing their efforts meant giving local families more to be thankful for.

There’d never been a local drive in which those donating the food also delivered it, but by noon that day all 110 baskets (4,400 pounds of food!) were in the appreciative hands of local families — some delivered, some picked up from the fairgrounds.

Another benefit was closer relations between the county Farm Bureau, Collegiate Farm Bureau, and more than a dozen local 4-H clubs. Local agribusinesses (including some previously uninvolved members) and a Farm Bureau Insurance agent also donated.

Finally, many of the recipient families met Farm Bureau and 4-H members as a result, tying the local farm community closer to those whose food they raise.

District 4: Barry

With in-person events off limits but still eager to make a good first impression, the Barry County Farm Bureau coordinated a remote new-member-welcome meeting via WebEx. They introduced the board, outlined county Farm Bureau structure and summarized the benefits of membership. Embodying the organization’s grassroots ethic and reaching many new members at once, the experiment proved a successful means of welcoming newcomers while respecting everyone’s health and safety — just like the good Farm Bureau family members they are.

Even through the abstract format of a computer screen, everyone involved was able to find common ground and start building the relationships at the core of the Farm Bureau experience. One newcomer interested in the Young Farmer program was connected with the county chair; others asked general questions about the policy process and member benefits.

While the focus was on new members, any regular member was encouraged to join in. Those who did helped drive home the value of membership and the extensive networking opportunities Farm Bureau offers. The first-of-its-kind event met membership-campaign requirements, spurred leaders to lead and offered practical new skills for everyone involved.

District 2: Calhoun

 

Calhoun County Farm Bureau event combined intergenerational networking and policy chatter — plus a touch of stress management — in its Float Down the River. Even Mother Nature cooperated to make the family-friendly excursion a success, including lunch on an island for the 25 participants.

The Float achieved two key goals: member networking and policy discussion. It attracted several Farm Bureau newcomers and brought some long-uninvolved members out of the woodwork. Everyone found common ground quickly and enjoyed discussing shared issues and challenges, learning from each other and reaping value from their membership.

Everyone chipped in with loading and unloading the boats and helping others board their vessels, labeled with the names and farms of each participant.

The Young Farmer committee took the lead organizing and promoting the event, reserving canoes, buying food, arranging signage and transporting vessels — all within budget.

Board members heard about other farmers’ concerns, younger farmers connected with their elders and active members shared which Farm Bureau activities they most enjoy and find most effective.

Many participants appreciated the fresh new approach, the opportunity to leave farm stresses behind for a day and forge new relationships with like-minded peers.

~ ~ ~

Look for another batch of Champions of Excellence district winners in the next Farm Gate, Oct. 6.

Champion of Excellence Awards recognizes county Farm Bureaus for their outstanding efforts to implement member-developed policy, advocate organizational positions and educate and promote Michigan agriculture.
Kathy Siler, WCFB Communications Chair

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

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

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

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

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

Are you passionate about Farm Bureau and Policy Development?

Washtenaw County Farm Bureau is seeking 12 delegates to attend the 2020 Michigan Farm Bureau State Annual Meeting. As a delegate, you'll MEET others dedicated to the future of Agriculture, HELP steer the Michigan Farm Bureau priorities for the coming year, and LEARN the complexity of the one organization that represents the interest of all Michigan farms!

This year, to accommodate the ongoing concerns, the meeting will be a hybrid of virtual and in-person meetings. In order to be a delegate, it is required to be technologically savvy as you will participate via virtual platforms such as Zoom. For voting purposes, a smart phone and tablet OR smart phone and computer with adequate internet connectivity is required. If you are interested in participating this year, please call the county office by October 13, 2020 at 734-429-1420 to get the full details!

PLEASE NOTE: Only regular members are eligible to be voting delegates for Washtenaw County Farm Bureau.

To learn more about what the 2020 MFB State Annual Meeting is and to see the current agenda outline, please click the link provided: https://www.michfb.com/MI/Annual/

As a delegate, you'll MEET others dedicated to the future of Agriculture, HELP steer the Michigan Farm Bureau priorities for the coming year, and LEARN the complexity of the one organization that represents the interest of all Michigan farms!
Kathy Siler, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau

Friday Fun Facts: Pumpkins!

🎃 The word ‘pumpkin’ comes from the Greek word, pepon, which means a “large melon.”

🎃 Pumpkins originated in Central America.

🎃 Pumpkins are actually a fruit. Many people think it should be our national fruit.

🎃 Pumpkin is really a squash. It is in the Curcurbita family along with squash and cucumbers.

🎃The yellow-orange flowers that bloom on the pumpkin vine are edible.
Pumpkin seeds taste great roasted.

🎃Native Americans grew and ate pumpkins and their seeds long before the Pilgrims reached this continent. Pilgrims learned how to grow and prepare pumpkins from the Native Americans.

🎃 Pumpkin was most likely served at the first Thanksgiving feast
celebrated by the Pilgrims and the Native Americans in 1621.

🎃The earliest pumpkin pie made in America was quite different than the pumpkin pie we enjoy today. Pilgrims and early settlers made pumpkin pie by hollowing out a pumpkin, filling the shell with milk, honey and spices and baking it.

🎃Early settlers dried pumpkins shells, cut it into strips and wove it into mats.

🎃Pumpkin has been prepared in a variety of ways from soups to stews to desserts since the immigration of the first European settlers.

Adapted from:

https://www.farmersalmanac.com/little-known-pumpkin-facts-2186

Pumpkins are actually a fruit?
Chelsea Update

See the whole news article: Happy Belated 100th Birthday Al Ruhlig!

https://chelseaupdate.com/al-ruhligs-100th-birthday-celebrated-by-chelsea-senior-center/

Marge Karker

Michigan Farm Bureau’s Marge Karker Scholarship offers three $1,000 awards to students enrolled in an agricultural program at Michigan State University. Applicants must be a dependent of a Farm Bureau member or have his/her own Farm Bureau membership in good standing.

Completed applications are due Oct. 1; forms and additional details are available online.

The Marge Karker Scholarship was established in the late 1960s to honor the former coordinator of MFB’s Women's Program. For 20 years she led Farm Bureau members in activities involving citizenship, health, education, legislation, public relations, safety and community improvement projects, all laying the groundwork for today’s Promotion and Education program.

Learn more about Karker here.

MFB staff contact: Amelia Miller , 517-679-5688

Michigan Farm Bureau’s Marge Karker Scholarship offers three $1,000 awards to students enrolled in an agricultural program at Michigan State University. Applicants must be a dependent of a Farm Bureau member or have his/her own Farm Bureau membership
Michigan Farm Bureau

Just because COVID’s sidelined the FARM Science Lab this fall doesn’t mean we can’t still boost students’ agricultural literacy. Michigan Farm Bureau is retooling programming and resources so our county Farm Bureaus can still share their agricultural expertise with teachers and students.

County Promotion & Education chairs should move fast to take advantage of cost-sharing opportunities for classroom outreach this fall. The Michigan Foundation for Agriculture is underwriting two cost-sharing options for helping you connect with local teachers.

  • Teacher Appreciation Care Packages ship directly to teachers and come with ag-accurate books; teacher guides; Michigan Ag Facts placemat; a small student gift and a treat for the teacher. Order now for $20 (half their value). Order by Sept. 4 for delivery in late September. Order by Oct. 1 for delivery in mid-October.
  • Farm Crate Monthly Classroom Kits for grades K-5 each feature a different monthly commodity theme, September through December. Each includes an ag-accurate book; Agriculture in the Classroom lesson resources; hands-on lesson and support materials for grades K-2 and 3-5; online extension activity; and a content-related gift or resource for the teacher. They’re $25 each (half their value) or order the full fall subscription and get the fourth month free ($75 total). Order by Oct. 1 to have the full subscription delivered.

Work with your P&E chair and county administrative manager to order through the Michigan Ag in the Classroom store subscription tab.

For more information, contact P&E Program Specialist Amelia Miller at 517-679-5688.

County Promotion & Education chairs should move fast to take advantage of cost-sharing opportunities for classroom outreach this fall. The Michigan Foundation for Agriculture is underwriting two cost-sharing options for helping you connect with local

In arguably the biggest maneuver yet to help ensure the health and safety of its members, Michigan Farm Bureau’s 101st annual meeting will take place largely online.

In an Aug. 27 memo to leaders across the Family of Companies, MFB President Carl Bednarski announced the board of directors “has made the tough decision to hold the 2020 State Annual Meeting in a hybrid-virtual format.

“Moving the meeting from a fully in-person experience to a virtual platform was our last choice,” Bednarski added, “but it will give us some unique opportunities to both reach more members and show our abilities to adapt to the current social position.”

The focus of the meeting this year will be essential business, as defined by the organization’s by-laws, and policy development. 

The meeting will convene virtually in three segments, beginning Nov. 4, 2020 and concluding Dec. 2, following this general outline:

NOV. 4 — Virtual State Annual Kick Off, to take place entirely online, allowing all MFB members to tune in and get updates from our organization’s state leaders:

  • President’s address
  • Rules Committee report
  • Credentials Committee report
  • CEO Report
  • Approval of the 2019 Annual Meeting minutes
  • Treasurer’s report

NOV. 9-19 — District Meetings will take place virtually or in person, based on COVID phase restrictions then in place for each district:

  • District Directors nominations and elections
  • Policy review
  • Delegate voting training

DEC. 2 — Business & Policy Development, to take place in person or virtually by district and based on COVID phase restrictions. MFB leadership and the State Policy Development Committee members will be in one location for the purpose of webcasting the proceedings.

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

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

“We appreciate your patience, support and above all, we appreciate your dedication to the organization,” Bednarski said.

In an Aug. 27 memo to leaders across the Family of Companies, MFB President Carl Bednarski announced the board of directors “has made the tough decision to hold the 2020 State Annual Meeting in a hybrid-virtual format.
Kathy Siler, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau

Friday Fun Facts: Go Green! Beans!

✳️ Green Beans can be green (no surprise there), purple, yellow, or speckled.

✳️ As they grow, nitrogen is released into the soil, actually enriching the soil instead of stripping it.

✳️ They have been around since 5000 B.C., and grew wild in Central and South America.

✳️ Green Beans grown in both bush form and vine form. Bushes can reach up to 20 inches and vines can reach up to 10 feet long.

✳️ The bean pod used to have a long string that ran from end to end. It was genetically cultivated out of the plant in 1894 by botanist Calvin Keeney.

✳️ They grow from seeds, and reach maturation within 45 – 60 days.

✳️ They produce white, pink, and purple flowers. Their leaves are covered in tiny hairs, which trap bugs.

✳️Green beans are full of vitamins and minerals, and are a fascinating plant!

Adapted from: https://simplyplayfulfare.com

Green Beans can be green (no surprise there), purple, yellow, or speckled.
Washtenaw County Farm Bureau - Promotion & Education Committee



Thanks for sharing your Ag Story, Lee Blumenauer!

“My favorite fair experience is actually showing the livestock at the fair. It is a team sport. I have learned how to care for and train livestock.”

#ManchesterFairStories2020

“My favorite fair experience..."
Washtenaw County Farm Bureau - Promotion & Education Committee



Thanks for sharing your Ag Story with us, Delaney Bross!

“Some of my favorite fair experiences were showing with my childhood friends and the friendly competition that came with it. Although some of our fair weeks have ended and others coming to an end the memories we made will last forever!

After the last nine years of showing I’ve learned to enjoy everything I do because just like the end of fair week there will always be that final goodbye.”

“Some of my favorite fair experiences were showing with my childhood friends..."
Washtenaw County Farm Bureau - Promotion & Education Committee



Thanks for sharing your Ag Story, Luke Blumenauer!

“I enjoy showing my pigs and steers at the fair. I also like to spend time at the fair with friends and taking care of my animals.

I have learned a lot about showmanship. I have also studied the parts of the animal and the cuts of meat as well as the industry.”

"I enjoy showing my pigs and steers at the fair."
Washtenaw County Farm Bureau - Promotion & Education Committee



Thanks Carli Kerns for sharing your Ag Story!

“It’s the whole package that makes raising livestock so fun! From raising and training the animals to being with your friends during the week of fair that creates lasting memories!

I have learned... Not to give up. Even though this year has been extremely tough I strive to do my best with what we have to work with.”

"It's the whole package that makes raising livestock so fun!"
Washtenaw County Farm Bureau - Promotion & Education Committee


Another Ag story from Madelyn Ernst:

My favorite fair experience is the show. Showing my animals is like a feeling that you are happy that you get to experience. Being able to show off all of your hard work and determination into what you have made wonderful animals do is amazing.

I learned... That self feeding them makes you have a lot of a closer bond with them. In past years I’ve always put them on a feeder that they can eat whenever they want but this year I did it myself every morning at night and we’ve had a tight relationship.

#ManchesterFairStories2020

It’s not too late! Submit your photos and stories at this link:
https://forms.gle/DDqx3WpAYdV6JPLq8

My favorite fair experience is the show. #ManchesterFairStories2020
Kathy Siler, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau


Don’t miss this great opportunity!


Deadline to apply is Monday, August 17! There are two $500 WCFB Scholarships available for high school graduates enrolled in a post-secondary school beginning in the Fall of 2020 whose parents or themselves are Regular members of the Washtenaw County Farm Bureau.

Download the WCFB Scholarship Application 
There are still two $500 scholarships available. Deadline is Monday, August 17!
Washtenaw County Farm Bureau - Promotion & Education Committee


Thanks to all the 4-H Youth Show folks who submitted photos and stories of Agriculture!


Thanks also to so many community members who supported their efforts with comments, likes and shares on our posts. We would like to continue sharing the wonderful experiences and hard work that youth in our county have put into their animal or agriculture projects with others! Just click on the link to submit photos and stories... from 4-H, or any of the other community fairs and we’ll do the rest! https://forms.gle/DDqx3WpAYdV6JPLq8
Thanks to all the 4-H Youth Show folks who submitted photos and stories of Agriculture!
Washtenaw County Farm Bureau - Promotion & Education Committee


Thanks to Madelyn Ernst for sharing her photos and Ag stories! Be like Madelyn!

Click the link and submit yours!

“My favorite fair experience is when I can have the opportunity to show my animal(s). Honestly I feel like just that day can make you have more memories and a tighter bond with your animals.

I have learned that sometimes you can either get a calm animal or a more scared animal. Personally my pig Duke is really calm and chill. But my other pig Chloe is more shy and scared.”

“My favorite fair experience is when I can have the opportunity to show my animal(s)." #ManchesterFairStories2020

Young Farmer Discussion Meets originally scheduled for earlier this year resume this month, with Farm Bureau members ages 18-35 engaging in civil discourse on key agricultural topics of the day.

Discussion meets are meant to simulate committee meetings, with conversation and active participation expected of all participants. The competition is evaluated on the exchange of ideas and information on a pre-determined topic. Participants build discussion skills, deepen their understanding of important ag-industry issues and explore how groups can pool their knowledge, reach consensus and solve problems.

They’re also a great way to meet other Young Farmers, and spectators are always welcome.  

Contestants must be Farm Bureau members age 18-35. Visit www.michfb.com/YFDiscussionMeet for the topics and more information. In the meantime, here’s the schedule:

  • District 1 — July 25 at Weinberg Farms in Scotts; contact Sarah Pion, 269-377-4841
  • District 2 — July 23 at River Dell Venue in Homer; contact Paul Pridgeon, 517-320-4444 
  • District 3 — July 18 at Horning Farms in Manchester; contact Hannah Meyers, 616-485-4469
  • District 4 & 7 Discussion Meet & Golf Outing — Aug. 1 at Waters Edge Golf Course in Fremont; contact Adam Dietrich, 616-889-1857
  • District 5 — late August/September, location TBD; contact Hannah Lange, 231-383-3131 
  • District 6 & 8 Discussion Meet & Golf Outing — Aug. 4 at Willow Springs Golf and Country Club in Vassar; contacts: Beth Rupprecht, 989-640-6913 (Dist. 6) or Becca Gulliver, 989-708-1082 (Dist. 8)
  • District 9 — July 18 at Harrietta United Methodist Church; contact Nicole Jennings, 810-569-9610
  • District 10 — Sept. 16, 6:30 p.m., location TBD; contact Sonya Novotny, 248-420-2340
  • District 11 — late August, location TBD; contact Cole Iaquinto, 810-422-7322
  • District 12 — Sept. 1 at Hanson Potato Farm, Cornell; contact Craig Knudson, 231-357-3864

High-school students with an affinity for agriculture can also showcase their knowledge and speaking skills in our Youth Discussion Meets, taking place this fall:

  • Nov. 19 — Vicksburg High School (FFA Region I)
  • Nov. 11 — Lenawee ISD (FFA Region II)
  • Nov. 12 — Delta College (FFA Region III)
  • Oct. 3 — Corunna High School (FFA Region IV)
  • Nov. 11 — Ravenna High School (FFA Region V)
  • Nov. 19 — Bay Arenac ISD (FFA Region VI)

For more information or to help out, contact Katie Eisenberger.

Young Farmer Discussion Meets originally scheduled for earlier this year resume this month, with Farm Bureau members ages 18-35 engaging in civil discourse on key agricultural topics of the day.

Despite all the smiling selfies on Instagram and happy family photos on Facebook, behind the scenes many of us grapple with financial, emotional, mental and physical stress. These largely unseen and untold struggles can make us feel isolated — like we’re alone trying to get through the quicksand.

But you are not alone.

Farmers After Hours is a series of real, genuine conversations about real, pressing problems for real, imperfect people. Tune in for one or all of them to connect with farmers and experts as they talk candidly about mental health and farm stress.

Participation is free and totally anonymous. Your name won’t show up on an attendee report. Your photo or video won’t show up on anyone’s screen. And your questions will be posed totally anonymously. When we say anonymous, we mean it.

Register for the panel discussion on July 22 and Sept. 2 by visiting bit.ly/mifarmstress. The other sessions will be posted at 7 p.m. to the Michigan Farm Bureau Facebook page on the corresponding dates. Recordings for the entire series will be accessible after airing on MFB’s YouTube channel.

All sessions start at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays. Here’s a glance at the whole enchilada:

  • July 22 — Stress and Mental Health Farmer Panel — Ever feel like you can’t keep your head above water? That the pressure, expectations and strain of the day-to-day are wearing you out? Worried about someone you know or care about? You’re not alone. Join us for a live farmer panel, featuring Farm Bureau members Dave MumbyAbigail O'Farrell, and Matt Schwab. There will be wine, whiskey and real talk about stress, anxiety and depression as well as resources these farmers have found helpful.
  • July 29 — Positive Self-Talk — Our parents said, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” But do we apply that advice when talking to ourselves? We all have an inner “voice” coaching, encouraging and judging our actions and behaviors throughout the day. Learn practical strategies from Adrienne DeSutter for making your inner voice an inspiring coach instead of an intimidating bully.
  • Aug. 5 — Meditation and Focus — Many wise leaders and scholars have wondered why naptime is phased out after kindergarten. A national naptime seems unlikely, but what if there was a quick, easy way to refresh, rejuvenate and reorient yourself throughout the day? Hello, meditation! It’s not just a hokey, yoga fad. Learn tips to improve your focus and refresh your mind from Kylie Rymanowicz of Michigan State University Extension.
  • Aug. 12 — Control and Acceptance — Nothing’s more stressful than feeling like you’re riding shotgun, not the driver, of your own life. Especially during this season of pandemic and poor prices, life has a way of reminding us we’re not always in control. Spend some time with Barb Smith, executive director of Barb Smith Suicide Resource & Response Network, as we talk through the basics of understanding and accepting what we can and can’t control.
  • Aug. 19 — An Attitude of Gratitude — What’s the fastest way out of a funk? Intentional gratitude. More than the occasional thank-you, consistently practicing gratitude can change your whole mindset. Join Sarah Zastrow, founder of Cultivate Balance, as we talk through the healthy mindset of being thankful, the release of counting blessings and the power of saying thank you to others.
  • Aug. 26 — Farm to Fitness — We cram our days with endless tasks for the farm, our family, our friends. And what most often falls off our to-do list? Physical fitness. Listen to Sarah Zastrow of Cultivate Balance as we explore steps to grow from farm to fitness and prioritize our physical and mental health. (They’re more closely connected than you might think!)
  • Sept. 2 — Ask the Experts — Join our expert panel, featured individually over the preceding month, as they candidly discuss farm stress, coping strategies and resources. You’ll realize you’re not alone. They don’t have it all figured out, but they’re here to share their experience, answer your questions and connect us with the next steps of our mental and physical health journey.

Farmers After Hours series is a special project of the Michigan Foundation for AgricultureThe Michigan Foundation for agriculture, a 501c3 formed by Michigan Farm Bureau, has a mission of positively contributing to the future of Michigan agriculture through leadership and educational programming.

Farmers After Hours is a series of real, genuine conversations about real, pressing problems for real, imperfect people. Tune in for one or all of them to connect with farmers and experts as they talk candidly about mental health and farm stress.
Kathy Siler, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau 


Friday Fun Fact: The Cool Cucumber

🥒 The phrase “cool as a cucumber” originated because cucumbers can be 20 degrees different between the inside and the outside temperature.

🥒 Cucumbers are members of the Cucurbitaceae family which also includes muskmelons, watermelons, pumpkins, and gourds

🥒 Botanically speaking, cucumbers are a fruit, but they are used as a vegetable. Similar to tomatoes. The plants are monoecious which means they produce both female and male flowers.

🥒 Sliced or pureed cucumbers can give an almost instant relief to sunburnt skin.

🥒 Michigan ranks 1st in the nation for production of pickling cucumbers and 4th in the nation for fresh cucumbers.

🥒 Cucumbers are generally harvested by hand, but pickling cucumbers are harvested by machine.

🥒 Cucumbers are 96% water; however, still are a great source of vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

Source:AgHires.com

Botanically speaking, cucumbers are a fruit?

County Farm Bureaus statewide are adapting their usual annual-meeting routines to meet the challenging circumstances 2020 continues to pose. Innovative approaches rooted in ensuring members’ safety from coronavirus are being weighed against each other depending on what works best for each county’s members.

Various combinations of online or mail-in voting are being fit together with meal options from food trucks to drive-though ice cream socials. Outside of state executive orders in place to safeguard the wellbeing of all Michigan residents, counties are only limited by their imaginations!

Jen Marfio juggles three counties in District 7 — Mecosta, Oceana and Osceola — all of which are doing drive-through annual meetings this year. While a radical departure from the norm, she said the concept was met with enthusiasm given members’ time constraints this time of year.

“Everyone is crazy busy either chasing irrigation or harvesting,” Marfio said. “Mecosta’s was already set up and we had an option to make it drive-through if necessary. When I went to Oceana, they were all pretty stressed about planning a big event only to have it canceled.

“I told them what Mecosta was doing and they decided a drive-through at the fairgrounds was the ticket. Add a little ice cream and there’s the annual!”

Osceola soon followed suit and all three of Marfio’s counties were on straighter paths toward tying up their annuals.

“The plan is for the member to drive up and check in,” Marfio explained. “We will hand them a packet with anything that needs to be voted on, and a ballot. Upon completing their ballot they’ll receive their meal and/or ice cream, depending on the county.”

Over in the Thumb, Sherri Gottleber CAMs for both Sanilac and St. Clair.

“Sanilac is hosting an ‘open house’ format,” she said. “Folks can arrive at the county fairgrounds anytime within a three-hour window. They’ll register from their car and get their ballot — and a ticket to one of several food trucks that will be on site.”

Members will submit their completed ballots as they leave, in exchange for a prize-drawing ticket.

To the south, where COVID numbers have been on the rise, the St. Clair County Farm Bureau board is opting for an even safer electronic vote-from-home format. Mail-in ballots will also be available for members who aren’t online.

“Very different from Sanilac, but I think St. Clair’s made the right decision” to safeguard members’ health, she said.

Janelle Walworth is administrative manager for both the Hillsdale and Jackson County Farm Bureaus down in District 2. Both are sticking with in-person meetings, but working within the parameters of the state’s executive orders.

Founded in June of 1920, Hillsdale County Farm Bureau this year celebrates its centennial, so that meeting will be more about celebrating history than conducting business.

Policy resolutions are being made available ahead of time to streamline their adoption at the meeting itself. 

  

And here’s where we stand with this year’s annual-meeting schedule — alphabetical by county Farm Bureau name, omitting meetings that’ve already happened and those with dates yet to be determined:

  • ALLEGAN — Aug. 25, 6:30 p.m. at the Trestle Stop, Hamilton
  • ANTRIM — Sept. 15, 6 p.m. at Royal Farms, Ellsworth
  • ARENAC — Sept. 15, 6:30 p.m. at Pine River Golf Course, Standish
  • BARRY — Aug. 17, 5:30 p.m. at Charlton Park, Hastings
  • BAY — Aug. 17, 6 p.m. at Auburn City Park, Auburn
  • BENZIE-MANISTEE — Sept. 20, 3 p.m.; location TBD
  • BERRIEN — date TBD; mail-in ballots
  • BRANCH — Sept. 21, 6 p.m. at Branch County Fairgrounds, Coldwater
  • CALHOUN — Sept. 15, 6 p.m. at Marshall United Methodist Church, Marshall
  • CASS — Sept. 15, 6 p.m. at Burger Farm, Niles
  • CHARLEVOIX — Sept. 19, 6 p.m. at Boyne City Administration Building, Boyne City
  • CHEBOYGAN — Sept. 10, 6 p.m. at Beaugrand Township Hall, Cheboygan
  • CHIPPEWA — Sept. 24, 7 p.m. at Tanglewood Marsh Golf Course, Sault Sainte Marie
  • CLARE — Sept. 3, 5 p.m. at Fitzpatrick Farms, Beaverton
  • CLINTON — Sept. 24, 4 p.m. at the AgroLiquid parking lot (tentative), St. Johns
  • COPPER COUNTRY — Sept. 15, 5:30 p.m. at Chassell Fire Hall, Chassell
  • EATON — Oct. 10, 4 p.m. at Kardell Hall, Eaton County Fairgrounds, Charlotte
  • EMMET — Sept. 17, 6 p.m. at LTBB Government Center, Harbor Springs
  • GENESEE — Sept. 16; location TBD
  • GRATIOT-ISABELLA-MIDLAND — Aug. 10, 5 p.m. at Eastman’s Forgotten Ciders, Wheeler
  • HIAWATHALAND — Oct. 26; location TBD
  • HILLSDALE — Aug. 29 at Hillsdale County Fairgrounds Grange Building, Hillsdale
  • HURON — Aug. 19, 5 p.m. at Huron County Fairgrounds, Bad Axe
  • HURON SHORES — Oct. 5, 6 p.m. at Ossineke Township Hall, Hubbard Lake
  • INGHAM — Sept. 9, 6:30 p.m.; mail-in ballots                                     
  • IONIA — Sept. 9, 6 p.m. at Shadow Ridge Golf Course, Ionia
  • IOSCO — Oct. 14, 6 p.m. at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Hale
  • IRON RANGE — Oct. 20, 6 p.m. at Sagola Community Building, Sagola
  • JACKSON — Sept. 19 at Thorne Farms, Hanover
  • KALAMAZOO — Aug. 20, at Prairie Baptist Church, Scotts
  • KENT — Sept. 17, 6:30 p.m. at FireRock Grill, Caledonia
  • LAPEER — Sept. 12, 5 p.m. at the Lapeer County Farm Bureau office, Lapeer
  • LENAWEE — Aug. 21, 6:30 p.m. at Carpenter Farms, Adrian
  • LIVINGSTON — Sept. 9, 6 p.m. at Fowlerville Family Fairgrounds, Fowlerville
  • MAC-LUCE-SCHOOLCRAFT — Oct. 8, 6 p.m. at Garfield Township Hall, Engadine
  • MACOMB — Sept. 15, 6 p.m. at Blake’s Orchard, Armada
  • MASON — Sept. 16, 6:30 p.m. at Farm View Resort, Free Soil
  • MECOSTA-MONTCALM — Aug. 23, 5:30 p.m. at Hearty Harvest, Remus
  • MENOMINEE — Oct. 13, 6:30 p.m. at Belgiumtown Restaurant, Stephenson
  • MISSAUKEE — Sept. 11, 5 p.m. at Missaukee Lake Park, Lake City
  • MONROE — Sept. 17, 5:30 p.m. at Old Mill Banquet Hall, Dundee
  • MUSKEGON — Aug. 11, 5:30 p.m. at Muskegon Farmer’s Market, Muskegon
  • NEWAYGO — date & location TBD
  • NORTHWEST MICH. — Sept. 18, 6 p.m.; location TBD                         
  • OAKLAND — Sept. 16, 6 p.m. at Springfield Oaks Park, Davisburg
  • OCEANA — Sept. 15, 5:30 p.m. at Oceana County Fairgrounds, Hart
  • OGEMAW — Sept. 8, 6:30 p.m. at Horton Township Hall, West Branch
  • OSCEOLA — Sept. 23, 6:30 p.m. at Osceola County 4H Fairgrounds, Evart
  • OTSEGO — Oct. 4, 2 p.m. at Livingston Township Hall, Gaylord
  • OTTAWA — Sept. 17, 5:30 p.m. at Second Church, Allendale
  • PRESQUE ISLE — Aug. 24, 6 p.m. at The Pavilion at Elowsky Mill, Posen
  • SAGINAW — Aug. 27, 7 p.m.; conference call                                     
  • SANILAC — Aug. 21, 5:30 p.m. at Sanilac County Fairgrounds, Sandusky
  • SHIAWASSEE — Sept. 15, 9 a.m.; mail-in ballots                                 
  • ST. CLAIR — date TBD; mail-in ballots                                                 
  • ST. JOSEPH — Aug. 25, 6:30 p.m.; Evergreen Ranch, Burr Oak
  • TUSCOLA — Aug. 20, 5:30 p.m.; Midway Hall at Tuscola County Fairgrounds, Caro
  • VAN BUREN — Oct. 26, 6 p.m.; location TBD                                      
  • WASHTENAW — Sept. 21, 5 p.m. at Weber’s Inn, Ann Arbor
  • WAYNE — Aug. 26, 6:30 p.m. at Wayne County Fairgrounds, Belleville
  • WEXFORD — Oct. 13, 7 p.m.; “tele-town hall”
County Farm Bureaus statewide are adapting their usual annual-meeting routines to meet the challenging circumstances 2020 continues to pose. Innovative approaches rooted in ensuring members’ safety from coronavirus are being weighed against each othe
Kathy Siler, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau


You’re Invited to our county annual meeting!

Free to regular members! $15 at the door for all others (exact change/check only). RSVP by ‪September 10, 2020‬ to Ashley at ‪734-429-1420‬ or ‪[email protected]‬ if you will be attending our drive-thru meal option or sit down meal option to ensure we have enough boxed meals on hand. Catering provided by Weber’s Hotel! Come and enjoy some BBQ!

Click the link for all the details!

County Annual Meeting Details

Join us for some tasty BBQ, policy development, and the election of Board of Directors.
Washtenaw County Farm Bureau 


Washtenaw County Farm Bureau was proud to support the 2020 4-H Virtual Auction!

We purchased the Reserve Champion Hog exhibited by senior Lee Blumenauer from Manchester. In addition, our county Farm Bureau provided add-on premium donations for 12 hog exhibitors whose families are current members of Washtenaw County Farm Bureau. Congratulations to all the 4-H members who participated in the 2020 Washtenaw County Fair & Learning Showcase. After processing, the 1lb packages of frozen mild sausage will be given to those who attend the county annual meeting.

Don't forget! Register for the County Annual to get your package of mild sausage!

This year we'll have a BBQ at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds - Pavilion B on Monday, September 21, 2020. Program starts at 5:00 p.m.
Call or email the County Office by September 10, 2020. Free for regular members. All others $15 at the door (exact change/check only).
734-429-1420 or [email protected] - Register Today!
We purchased the Reserve Champion Hog exhibited by senior Lee Blumenauer from Manchester.
Washtenaw County Farm Bureau - Promotion & Education Committee



Personally my favorite fair experience is by far showing my animal. It makes memories that I could never forget, and it is another great way to bond with my animal!

[I learned] That everyday changes with them. You could have a good day or a great day, but you could also have scary days. - Madelyn Ernst

#4HYouthShowStories2020

Personally my favorite fair experience is by far showing my animal.
Washtenaw County Farm Bureau - Promotion & Education Committee


My favorite fair experience this year was being able to practice with more than one animal in Dairy. I thought I would use a yearling that I showed last year but she was too big so I ended up using a heifer calf.

Something I have learned from my project, is to have more patience while working with different aged animals. Virtual fair wasn't the same but it was still fun! I'm glad I participated this year. - Lizzie Pantolin

#4HYouthShowStories2020

My favorite fair experience this year was being able to practice with more than one animal in Dairy.
Washtenaw County Farm Bureau - Promotion & Education Committee



My favorite part of fair week is showing my animals. I enjoy the friendly competition and working as a team with my animals in the show ring.

I have learned that you need to have patience and be calm with animals at all times. They need to be comfortable with you. They can tell when you are frustrated and upset. - Luke Blumenauer

#4HYouthShowStories2020

My favorite part of fair week is showing my animals.
Washtenaw County Farm Bureau - Promotion & Education Committee




Showing the market animals, my turkeys and the rabbits. I got to raise one turkey for the market and one was donated to a food bank. I also liked showing the goats. They are my pets. My chicken and my black and white rabbit are for showing at the 4-H fair. I do get eggs from my chicken.

I learned how to breed rabbits. I learned how to raise turkeys. I learned that taking care of animals takes a lot of time and hard work. - William Rogers

#4HYouthShowStories2020

I learned that taking care of animals takes a lot of time and hard work.
Washtenaw County Farm Bureau - Promotion & Education Committee




One of my favorite experiences has been showing my goats. I also show chickens and rabbits.

I have learned that it is a lot of hard work to memorize what you have to do for showmanship for rabbits and chickens. I have learned how to show my goat too. - Westin Rogers

#4HYouthShowStories2020

One of my favorite experiences has been showing my goats.
Washtenaw County Farm Bureau - Promotion & Education Committee

One of my favorite experiences is being a 4-H Ambassador during fair week. I love helping the superintendents hand out trophies and awards! I've learned that bigger is not always better when it comes to meat breed turkeys. Exercise is essential when raising a market turkey or chicken. - Rhea Warren

#4HYouthShowStories2020

One of my favorite experiences
Washtenaw County Farm Bureau - Promotion & Education Committee

This year I raised a 48lb market turkey. I named him "Turkeyzilla". He was so big I had to walk him to the show ring for the auction because we couldn't lift him! I have learned that the right kind of feed can make a huge difference in how a turkey or chicken finishes growing. - Ethan Warren

#4HYouthShowStories2020

This year I raised a 48lb turkey.
Washtenaw County Farm Bureau - Promotion & Education Committee


My favorite experiences has been working with my pigs and seeing each ones personality. I have learned how strong pigs are and how much fun they can be. - Dillon Neigebauer

#4HYouthShowStories2020

My favorite experience
Washtenaw County Farm Bureau - Promotion & Education Committee



"I love every aspect of fair week; from the morning barn chores, to showing still projects, to being in the ring, and learning from watching older kids show! And the ice cream. This has been my first year raising a feeder calf and it has been an enjoyable learning experience. My Holstein bull calf, Sheldon, has grown quickly since I first stared bottle feeding him in March. I love showing Dairy; this year I showed a feisty, yet cooperative, Jersey Spring calf." - Harper Jane Adkins

#4HYouthShowStories2020

I love every aspect of fair week
Washtenaw County Farm Bureau - Promotion & Education Committee

This year, many things in our lives are different. The 4-H Youth Show and most community fairs have either been cancelled or will look different than they have in the past.

Our Washtenaw County Farm Bureau Promotion and Education Committee decided to share the wonderful experiences and hard work that youth in our county have put into their animal or agriculture projects with others in a virtual format.
We invited youth to share photos and a brief story about their current or past fair experiences. We hope you enjoy and support their efforts as we share their Ag stories over the next few weeks.
We will begin today with The 4-H Youth Show. We are also including a link to to the result/award page of the fair: https://fairentry.com/Fair/Results/14762

#4HYouthShowStories2020

This year, many things in our lives are different.
Published by The Manchester Mirror and written by Marsha Chartrand.



Delivery at the CRC on Thursday, July 23 - Photo courtesy of The Manchester Mirror
Ethan Warren of Manchester, and his turkey - Photo courtesy of The Manchester Mirror
Rhea Warren of Manchester, with her turkey - Photo courtesy of The Manchester Mirror
The Manchester Community Resource Center (CRC) was the recipient of some very special gifts last week, thanks to the efforts of an annual 4-H community service program.

“During a normal year, some of our poultry kids raise chickens and/or turkeys as a community service project,” explained Christie Warren, parent to two 4-H’ers, Rhea and Ethan, who participated in this year’s project. “Due to COVID, we had to cancel the chicken project, but our turkey project was started in February so we were able to continue that one.” Each youth member who chooses to do the project gets either two turkeys or 10 chickens to raise. For the turkeys, one is raised for a food bank; the other can be kept or put in the 4-H auction. For chickens, five are raised for the charity and the remaining five can be kept or sold at auction. This year, all the turkeys were donated by Warren Farms of Manchester; the feed to raise them was donated by Dexter Mill; and pine shavings were donated by Patch Boys of Ann Arbor. “Our youth members do a fantastic job of raising the birds,” Warren said. “I’m very proud of them!” The five youth who participated this year are from different Washtenaw County 4-H Clubs. Ethan and Rhea are members of Silver Leaves 4-H Club of Dexter; Ethan and Eric Rice are from Paint Creek 4-H in Ypsilanti; William Rogers is a member of the Saline 4-H Farmers; and the S&L Bauernhof 4-H Club of South Lyon made it a club project and raised two turkeys. A total of six turkeys were donated to the Manchester CRC. The groups wanted to keep the donation local this year and chose the CRC as the recipient for the 131.3 pounds of turkey donated. CRC Director Laura Seyfried was thankful for the gift. “The turkeys came as a big surprise!” she said. “We were also really pleased that the donor was willing to ‘halve’ some of them so our clients would actually be able to fit them in an oven to cook them.

"I am sure they won't last long ... Roasted turkey is great any time of year!"

Visit the manchester mirror for more great stories!

The Manchester Community Resource Center (CRC) was the recipient of some very special gifts
Kathy Siler, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau

Friday Fun Fact: It’s just peachy!

🍑 Michigan doesn’t have bragging rights to peach production the way some warmer states do, however; Michigan proudly claims honors for a whole host of haven peach varieties developed right here in our state!

🍑 Red Havens have become the most widely planted and longest producing (from late July thru August) freestone peach in the world.

🍑 There’s an historical marker in South Haven where they were first grown around 1940 under the direction of Professor Stanley Johnson at Michigan State University's South Haven Experiment.

🍑 The life of a peach tree is about 15 years, and peaches don’t bear fruit during the first two years The trees produce some fruit the third year but bear the most peaches in years 4 to 15.

🍑 The United States grows 978,260 tons of peaches each year. That’s 1.9 billion pounds!

🍑 Peaches get their flavor from their variety, not their color.

🍑 Freestone is the most common peach variety (where the pit is easily removed), but other varieties include semi-freestone, white, clingstone and donut.

🍑 Peaches are packed with several major nutrients, including vitamin A (beta-carotene), vitamin C and potassium.

🍑 One medium-sized peach contains just 38 calories. Peaches are an excellent source of fiber, good for blood sugar and naturally fat free.

Sources:
http://www.michmarkers.com (search Haven Peaches)
farmflavor.com

It's just Peachy!
Kathy Siler, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau

Great podcast interview with Katelyn Packard!


“Her main area of interest is taking care of the animals, including health management, making sure milking is going smoothly in the parlor, and raising calves. She’s heavily involved in promotion, 4-H, and Farm Bureau.”

Watch the podcast interview here!
Listen to Katelyn's podcast...
Kathy Siler, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau

Thursday Thought: In pursuing our noble work to feed others; we must pause to feed our own minds and spirit with gratitude and renewal.

"Wear gratitude like a cloak, and it will feed every corner of your life." - Rumi

Gratitude and Renewal
Kathy Siler & Katelyn Packard, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau



Due to ongoing public health concerns with Covid 19, the District 3 Young Farmer Discussion Meet on July 18th was, by necessity, smaller this year. There was no shortage of enthusiastic participation, however, and we are grateful to everyone who made the event possible.

Special thanks to Horning Farms for not only hosting the event, but also for generously providing ice cream sandwiches for the group.

 

Participants moving on to state competition:

Grace Schmidt - Oakland County
Chris Heck - Monroe County
Melissa Fusilier - Washtenaw County
Alternate: Travis Fusilier - Washtenaw County

Thanks to the event Judges:

Patrick Conklin - Farm Bureau Insurance Agent
Jae Gerhart - Washtenaw County Local Foods Coordinator, MSU Extension
Nancy Thelen - District 3 Representative on the Michigan Farm Bureau Promotion & Education Committee

This year's topic was: Is big data a big solution or big exposure?

Technology tools are often cited as a method of increasing productivity and profitability, but there are liabilities that go along with technology. As young farmers and ranchers we are often first adopters. How do we ensure clear understanding of the risks and rewards of big data and smart farming?


The State-Level topics will be:

1. International trade is important to agriculture. We must continue working to build strong relations with existing customers while seeking out new trade partners to strengthen market stability. How can we enhance existing, and establish new and diverse foreign trading partners?
2. The increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters creates additional risk for farmers and ranchers. What tools and production practices can be engaged to reduce climate and weather risks?


A little info about this annual event:

Michigan Farm Bureau Discussion Meets simulate a committee meeting where discussion and active participation are expected from each participant. This competition is evaluated on an exchange of ideas and information on a pre-determined topic. Participants build basic discussion skills, develop a keen understanding of important agricultural issues and explore how groups can pool knowledge to reach consensus and solve problems. Michigan Farm Bureau hosts Young Farmer Discussion Meets for 18- to 35-year-old members and Youth and Collegiate Discussion Meets to introduce young leaders to the organization.

Huge thanks to Hannah June Meyers our Michigan Farm Bureau Southeastern Michigan Regional Representative for helping to organize the District 3 Young Farmer Discussion Meet, and for capturing the informative discussion on a Facebook live video for those who couldn’t attend.
Here’s a great opportunity to see what a discussion meet is like!
This year's topic was: Is big data a big solution or big exposure?
Kathy Siler, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau

🌾Wheat is a member of the grass family called Poaceae that produces a dry, one-seeded fruit commonly called a kernel.

🌾Wheat originated in the “cradle of civilization” in the Tigris and Euphrates river valley, near what is now Iraq.

🌾The Roman goddess, Ceres, who was deemed protector of the grain, gave grains their common name today – “cereal.”

🌾Currently wheat is grown on over 540 million acres worldwide which is more than any other crop.

🌾One acre of wheat yields an average of around 40 bushels of wheat.

🌾Wheat was first planted in the United States in 1777 as a hobby crop.

🌾There are over 30 000 varieties of wheat that were produced via cross breeding of six basic types of the plant.
Wheat usually reaches 2 to 4 feet in height.

🌾Wheat is annual plant, which means that it finishes its life cycle in one year.

🌾It develops a head on a top of the stem which contains around 50 kernels. Color of the kernel depends on the variety of wheat. It can be red, blue, purple, brown or white.

🌾All types of wheat can be divided in two major groups: spring and winter wheat.

🌾Spring wheat is planted during the spring and harvested during the summer.

🌾Winter wheat is planted at autumn and harvested during the spring.
Wheat is ready for harvest when it becomes golden in color and completely dried out.

🌾A wheat kernel consists of 3 parts: bran (outer layer), endosperm (nutritive matter used for development of embryo) and germ (embryo).

🌾Whole wheat flour is produced by grinding of whole kernels (All parts). Production of white flour requires removal of the bran and germ.

🌾About 75% of all U.S. grain products are made from wheat flour.

🌾One bushel of wheat contains approximately one million individual kernels.
One bushel of wheat yields roughly 27 kilograms of whole wheat flour or 19 kilograms of white flour enough for around 73 loaves of bread or 210 servings of spaghetti.

🌾More types of foods are made with wheat than with any other cereal grain.
In fact, world trade in wheat is larger than for all other crops

🌾Wheat is used for the production of bread, pasta, cookies, breakfast cereals and fermented beverages.

🌾About 1% of human population cannot consume wheat-based products due to celiac disease resulting from intolerance to the wheat protein called gluten.

🌾Besides staple food, wheat is used in medical swabs, straw, particle board.

🌾Amazingly wheat starch is used in the paper industry and for the production of glue, adhesives, textile, plastic and building materials.

🌾Straws of wheat can be used for roofing, manufacture of hats and baskets.
Hair conditioners, body lotions and lip balms often contain wheat proteins.

🌾Wheat is used in the production of alcoholic beverages such as vodka, gin and whiskey. In fact, Ethanol produced from the wheat can be used as bio- fuel.

Source: amazingfacts4u.com

Wheat is a member of the grass family...
Kathy Siler, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau

Thursday Thought: Often it's the seemingly little things in life that bring the most joy!

"Gratitude for the seemingly insignificant - a seed - this plants the giant miracle. " - Ann Voskamp

#ThursdayThought
seemingly insignificant
Kathy Siler, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau


Friday Fun Facts: 🔹Blueberries!!🔹

🔹People have been eating blueberries for more than 13,000 years.

🔹Blueberries were called “star fruits” by North American indigenous peoples because of the five-pointed star shape that is formed at the blossom end of the berry.

🔹A single blueberry bush can produce as many as 6,000 blueberries per year.

🔹Michigan ranks third in growing blueberries, producing an average of 92 million pounds with more than 30 different varieties.

🔹Michigan blueberries are grown, harvested and processed by 575 family farms.

🔹Michigan blueberry production contributes nearly $132 million to the state’s economy.

🔹More than 50 percent of Michigan blueberries are shipped to the fresh market, with the rest frozen, pureed, concentrated or canned for value-added products.

🔹Allegan, Berrien, Muskegon, Ottawa and Van Buren counties comprise the state’s primary blueberry growing region.

🔹Michigan has more than 20,000 acres devoted entirely to blueberries

🔹Blueberries have only 80 calories per cup and virtually no fat.

🔹One serving contains almost 25% of the daily vitamin C requirements.

From: michigangrown.org
and bcblueberry.com

"Star Fruits?"
Kathy Siler, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau


Thursday Thought: Thank you farm families. Whether the farmer is a man or a women, we thank ALL who support their efforts!
#familyfarm
#farming
#womenfarmers
 #thankyoufarmers
 #farmwifelife
 #farmlife
 #farmfamilies
 #thursdaythought
Don't just thank a farmer...
Kathy Siler, Washtenaw County Farm Bureau

Wishing everyone a safe Fourth of July.

Enjoy a little history about early Fourth of July celebrations:

🇺🇸 In the pre-Revolutionary years, colonists had held annual celebrations of the king’s birthday, which traditionally included the ringing of bells, bonfires, processions and speech making. By contrast, during the summer of 1776 some colonists celebrated the birth of independence by holding mock funerals for King George III as a way of symbolizing the end of the monarchy’s hold on America and the triumph of liberty.
Festivities including concerts, bonfires, parades and the firing of cannons and muskets usually accompanied the first public readings of the Declaration of Independence, beginning immediately after its adoption. Philadelphia held the first annual commemoration of independence on July 4, 1777, while Congress was still occupied with the ongoing war. More history at the link:

Enjoy a little history...