The Calhoun County Farm Bureau is an avenue whereby our members and neighbors can take their ideas and concerns to the local, state and national levels, while protecting the environment and helping feed the world.

Farm Bureau News


“Dale’s an example of a traditional county Farm Bureau board member: Their world is their county — they’re dedicated.”

This article has three simple goals:

  1. Honor the memory of an active Farm Bureau member — one specific man — whose years were recently cut tragically short.
  2. Honor the unsung style of member he was: the strictly local kind, content to do good work in their familiar, comfortable corner of a much larger universe.
  3. Encourage county Farm Bureaus to do more of #2.

The ‘larger universe’ here is the greater Farm Bureau organization, with its award plaques, stage walks and grip-n-grin photos, all in the name of recognizing the indispensable work of outstanding members and counties. In an organization reliant on the efforts of volunteers, recognizing those efforts is essential.

The ‘one specific man’ in this case never saw any of that, simply because he neither sought nor desired it. He is — was — Dale Frisque, who died Aug. 5 at the age of 59, the sole casualty of a fire at the cedar mill where he’d worked his whole adult life.

That mill is in the center of Menominee County, anchoring the south end of Carney, where Dale grew up, attended high school and was the third generation to work his family’s farm. He inherited Frisque Hilltop Farms in the wake of his father’s death, and completed its transition from dairy to beef, hay and oats.

“That was my grandparents’ farm — the farm my mother grew up on,” remembers longtime Menominee leader Pete Kleiman, a first cousin of Frisque’s.

“Dale never did get married; he stayed on the farm with his mother, raised hay, corn, oats to feed the beef… Some chickens, ducks… Sold round bales in the winter to horse people.

“Kind of an old-fashioned farm, really.”

Wasn't Like That

He joined Farm Bureau in 2001, launching an impressive track record of involvement in membership events, annual meetings and other activities central to the organization.

“I was the one who talked Dale into running for the county board in the first place,” Kleiman said. “We were looking for somebody from that area; it’s hard to find folks there.”

With a regular job in town and the farm only a couple miles away, Frisque was busy but always nearby and ready to help.

“He was kind of a homebody and involved in the community as best he could — the Lions and the church and sports clubs.”

And he brought that same sturdy reliability to the Menominee County Farm Bureau board, Kleiman recalls:

“He wasn’t a board member who… Y’know some people come onto a board with an agenda and ‘Once I get done what I want to get done, I’m gone.’

“Dale wasn’t like that. He showed up every month and he was willing to offer his opinion about how to proceed with something and if he didn’t think it was a good idea, he’d say so.

“He was just never going to be that person to serve on a state committee — that just wasn’t something he wanted to do. But when we did Breakfast on the Farm we could always count on him to be there on the weekend to help out.”

Plenty to Do 

The same held true at the mill, where Dale knew every facet of the operation and could always be counted on, even when it meant stepping away for a bit.

“At the mill when things slowed down and they needed somebody to take a week off, Dale was always willing to take a voluntary leave because he always had plenty to do back on the farm,” Kleiman said.

The mill was Peterson Brothers when he started there as a teenager, then Gilbert & Bennet, then Superior Cedar after a group of its own employees bought the place. Over the years it dealt in pulpwood and fence posts and bark mulch — mountains of mulch, feeding city folks’ garden beds by the semi load.

And in an instant, innocent sawdust turned into a lethal inferno.

Most Don't Know

News of Dale’s loss came promptly the next morning, Aug. 6, straight into the gut of MFB’s state staff convening online for an informal weekly meeting. The messenger was Craig Knudson, our seasoned Regional Manager in the Upper Peninsula.

“Most of you probably don’t know him,” he started, before announcing the loss in the succinct, economic way we do when those left behind are still wondering how and why.

That Frisque’s name was unfamiliar even to longtime MFB staffers came as no surprise to Knudson, who’d shepherded Dale’s involvement for almost two decades.

“Dale’s an example of a traditional county Farm Bureau board member: Their world is their county — they’re dedicated,” Knudson said, his voice growing bolder, more insistent.

“You won’t see them at State Annual Meeting, but they’re dedicated to the county Farm Bureau at the local level.

“That’s where Dale fit in.”

Moral of the Story

Our society rewards ambition and glorifies ladder-climbing heroes striving for greatness that skeptical observers may dismiss as out of reach. On the flip side of that, we can overlook those of more moderate aspirations: “Big fish in a small pond” is not a compliment.

The message for county Farm Bureaus is simple: Be sure to support your quiet journeymen, low-profile workhorses and behind-the-scenesters who get things done outside the limelight.

An industry that values humility can’t forget to honor the humble.

The ‘larger universe’ here is the greater Farm Bureau organization, with its award plaques, stage walks and grip-n-grin photos, all in the name of recognizing the indispensable work of outstanding members and counties. In an organization reliant on t

The Emmet County Farm Bureau’s member-appreciation event, a drive-through dinner hosted by the Petoskey Culver’s restaurant, earned it District 11’s Champion of Excellence honors in Grassroots Innovation. Pictured above are Emmet leaders Ben Blaho (left) and Bill McMaster

Michigan Farm Bureau recently announced the winners of this year’s Champions of Excellence Awards, acknowledging county Farm Bureaus’ efforts toward engaging their membership and their innovative means of doing so.

Altogether this year 37 county Farm Bureaus applied for a total of 45 Champions awards in two updated categories: Grassroots and Involvement, each going above and beyond creating innovative and effective member programming.

Counties were also evaluated on their involvement statistics throughout the recently concluded membership year.

Here are our 2021 Champions of Excellence winners, by district:

Grassroots

  • District 1: Cass County Farm Bureau
  • District 2: Jackson County Farm Bureau
  • District 3: Washtenaw County Farm Bureau
  • District 4: Ionia County Farm Bureau
  • District 5: Clinton County Farm Bureau
  • District 6: Lapeer County Farm Bureau
  • District 7: Mecosta County Farm Bureau
  • District 8: Isabella County Farm Bureau
  • District 9: Mason County Farm Bureau
  • District 10: Gladwin County Farm Bureau
  • District 11: Emmet County Farm Bureau
  • District 12: Iron Range Farm Bureau

Involvement

  • District 1: Berrien County Farm Bureau
  • District 2: Calhoun County Farm Bureau
  • District 3: Oakland County Farm Bureau
  • District 4: Kent County Farm Bureau
  • District 5: Shiawassee County Farm Bureau
  • District 6: Lapeer County Farm Bureau
  • District 7: Osceola County Farm Bureau
  • District 8: Saginaw County Farm Bureau
  • District 9: Mason County Farm Bureau
  • District 10: Huron Shores Farm Bureau
  • District 11: Cheboygan County Farm Bureau
  • District 12: Iron Range Farm Bureau

One state-level winner in each category will be chosen by a panel of judges and announced at MFB’s 2022 Council of Presidents’ Conference, Feb. 2-3 in Midland.

Congratulations to all of these outstanding county Farm Bureaus for their exemplary work throughout the 2020-21 membership year!

The ideas and events submitted through the Champions of Excellence Awards process will be shared with all county Farm Bureaus so everyone can strive toward the greatness our winners have achieved.

Michigan Farm Bureau recently announced the winners of this year’s Champions of Excellence Awards, acknowledging county Farm Bureaus’ efforts toward engaging their membership and their innovative means of doing so.

Beyond all the tour hosts and expert speakers, Growing Together attendees enjoy ample opportunity to learn from perhaps their most highly esteemed and trusted resources: each other.
 

Farm Bureau members from across the state will converge Feb. 18-20 at the Amway Grand Plaza in Grand Rapids next winter for MFB’s 2022 Growing Together Conference, where the Voice of Agriculture and Young Farmer Leaders Conference collide!

Open to regular members of all ages, Growing Together focuses on the common ground shared by Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Promotion & Education programs. Attendees will take home new ideas and resources to incorporate into their county programming — everything from reinvigorating youth programming and facilitation tips to human resource applications for your farm business and managing the ups & downs of rural life.

Keynote speaker Bruce Boguski will set the stage with a presentation about how to alter our belief systems and bolster confidence en route to success. Attendees will discover the advantages of a positive attitude and use that knowledge to change frustration and negativity into a ‘can-do’ environment.

Growing Together also offers members opportunities to network during tours, at receptions and during evening entertainment. This year, all Friday tours will converge at the Grand Rapids Public Museum for a private viewing and reception with heavy hors devours. Those looking to keep the evening going can participate in a virtual GooseChase scavenger hunt, completing challenges while enjoying downtown Grand Rapids, complete with prizes for the most points earned!

A pre-dinner reception on the second night will include a county leader reception where county Young Farmer and P&E chairs and co-chairs will be recognized for their leadership. Following that dinner will be an evening of casino fun, where the only required experience will be knowing how to have a fun, laid-back time with friends old and new!

In a new option, 2022 Growing Together attendees can choose between two Friday agendas: the Take Root Farm Succession and Estate Planning Seminar (at a discounted $50 rate) or the customary tour of regional agriculture sites.

Registration will be open Jan. 3-14. Contact your county Farm Bureau to reserve your spot and stay up-to-date at http://www.michfb.com/growingtogether

Farm Bureau members from across the state will converge Feb. 18-20 at the Amway Grand Plaza in Grand Rapids next winter for MFB’s 2022 Growing Together Conference, where the Voice of Agriculture and Young Farmer Leaders Conference collide!
Creative membership events like Berrien County’s belt sander races helped county Farm Bureaus statewide achieve a second straight year of overall regular membership growth.

Another successful membership year is in the books, and it shines with all the hard work, diligence and dedication of our most driven Farm Bureau volunteers! For the second year in a row, we achieved statewide Target — growth in our regular memberships. That’s a major achievement regardless of the circumstances, but in a year when associate membership slipped, it’s a significant milestone and testament to the hard work happening in our 65 county Farm Bureaus.

Some of the exciting things from the 2020/2021 membership year:

  • 39 county Farm Bureaus reached Target
  • Statewide regular membership increased by 78 members
  • 144 agents and volunteers qualified for Key Club, and 34 volunteers qualified for Carhartt Club
  • The statewide regular member retention rate was 94.95%
  • Statewide inactive regular members (2,208) decreased by 228 from last year — 1,285 less than three years ago!
  • 2,105 total new regular members, 376 of them being new regular members written by 170 volunteers
  • 348 new members written the previous year jumped in and got involved in Farm Bureau events and programs

We also saw a tie for our Top Writer Award: Lenawee County Farm Bureau President Thomas VanWagner (Dist. 2) and Missaukee County Force of Nature Ellen Vanderwal (Dist. 9) each signed up 10 new regular members!

Here are the remaining top writers, per district:

  • Dist. 1 — Tod Kubiszak, Van Buren: 7 new regular members
  • Dist. 3 — Lisa Kelley, Wayne: 7
  • Dist. 4 — Scott Phelps, Allegan: 5
  • Dist. 5 — Devin Richards, Shiawassee: 8
  • Dist. 6 — Ben Zaleski, Huron: 8
  • Dist. 7 — Breann Bonga, Montcalm: 6
  • Dist. 8 — Jeffrey Fulton, Saginaw: 8
  • Dist. 10 — Amanda Rodabaugh, Gladwin: 6
  • Dist. 11 — Ben Blaho, Emmet: 9
  • Dist. 12 — Dean Shepeck,Menominee: 6

Farm Bureau Insurance Agent Jason Scramlin wrote 48 new regular members this last year, followed closely by Agent Mark Hop with 45. Statewide, 144 agents and volunteers qualified for Key Club, writing at least five new regular members each.

This year we also saw an increase in Carhartt Club qualifiers, with 34 volunteers writing five or more new regular members, five they wrote last year renewing this year, or a combination of the two totaling five.

On the vital retention front, Northwest Michigan Farm Bureau in Dist. 9 earned Super Defender honors with an amazing 97.64% regular member retention! Top Defender winners by district are as follows:

  • Dist. 1 — Cass: 96.05% regular member retention
  • Dist. 2 — Lenawee: 94.95%
  • Dist. 3 — Washtenaw: 95.56%
  • Dist. 4 — Ionia: 95.74%
  • Dist. 5 — Clinton: 95.27%
  • Dist. 6 — Lapeer: 96.30%
  • Dist. 7 — Osceola: 96.71%
  • Dist. 8 — Bay: 95.54%
  • Dist. 10 — Arenac: 96.59%
  • Dist. 11 — Presque Isle: 96.09%
  • Dist. 12 — Hiawathaland: 94.88%

Congratulations to all of our award winners, hard-working membership volunteers and resilient county Farm Bureaus. We look forward to recognizing them all over the coming months with prizes and recognition. The hard work and dedication happening statewide is evident in the success of this year’s membership campaign.

Take a moment to stop, breathe and celebrate your success, big or small — you’ve earned it! Then stay tuned for some exciting announcements coming soon about next year’s campaign, which we’re already a few weeks into!

Laura Lunceford manages MFB’s Membership Development department.


Another successful membership year is in the books, and it shines with all the hard work, diligence and dedication of our most driven Farm Bureau volunteers!

Members looking to join the state board of directors are asked to express their candidacy in writing — email works — to MFB Secretary Andy Kok on or before the Annual Meeting Kickoff Nov. 3.
 

Ambitious Farm Bureau members looking to take their involvement game to the next level may consider contending for a seat on the MFB Board of Directors. This year’s state board election will decide who represents Farm Bureau members in Michigan’s odd-numbered districts, currently occupied by the following:

  • Dist. 1 — Brigettte Leach (Kalamazoo)
  • Dist. 3 — Mike Fusilier (Washtenaw)
  • Dist. 5 — Stephanie Schafer (Clinton)
  • Dist. 7 — Mike DeRuiter (Oceana)
  • Dist. 9 — Ben LaCross (Northwest Michigan)
  • Dist. 11 — Pat McGuire (Antrim)

Two at-large positions are also up for reelection:

  • At-Large — Andy Hagenow (Kent)
  • At-Large — Doug Darling (Monroe)

The third at-large position is occupied by President Carl Bednarski (Tuscola), who will be up for re-election next year.

Members looking to join the state board of directors are asked to express their candidacy in writing — email works — to MFB Secretary Andy Kok on or before the Annual Meeting Kickoff Nov. 3.

MFB’s State Annual Meeting Rules Committee instituted a new rule last year asking candidates for MFB director positions to provide a written statement describing how they meet the bylaw qualifications for directors, attesting that they are “directly and actively engaged in farming as owners and/or operators of farms whose primary interest is in farming” — and that they are not employed full-time in an occupation other than farming, nor serving in a county, state or national elective office.

“This move was recommended by a statewide committee several years ago,” Kok said, “to help the delegates understand how each candidate meets the ‘full-time farmer’ eligibility requirement for service on the board of directors.”

Statements will be shared with delegates prior to elections taking place.

Prospective candidates should contact Kok directly for the necessary form or more information.

Not up for reelection this year are those directors representing even-numbered districts:

  • Dist. 2 — Jennifer Lewis (Hillsdale)
  • Dist. 4 — Jeff Sandborn (Ionia)
  • Dist. 6 — Travis Fahley (St. Clair)
  • Dist. 8 — Michael Mulders (Bay)
  • Dist. 10 — Leona Daniels (Arenac)
  • Dist. 12 — David Bahrman (Hiawathaland)

Every year half of the MFB Board of Directors are up for election or re-election: even-numbered districts in even numbered years, odd-numbered districts in odd years. Two/Three at-large directors (from anywhere in the state) are also up for reelectio
The Great Mississippi Tea Company is out to prove high-quality tea can be produced in America. ProFILE participants toured the operation and learned about the specialized harvesting equipment the company uses to pluck the topmost leaves from established tea plants.

The 2020-21 ProFILE class found better luck with its capstone trip than its kickoff junket in March of last year, which wrapped right as the world slipped headlong into a global pandemic. As the latest cohort of MFB’s elite leadership program wraps up on schedule after its 15-month agenda, COVID is still with us but it didn’t dampen the experience for Michigan’s best and brightest young farmers.

In a decidedly unfamiliar corner of the Deep South bearing little in common with Michigan’s commodity lineup, our ProFILErs did what they always do: dial in on the common denominators that tie all farm sectors together — and do it so seamlessly you’d scarcely notice where the northerners end and their southern kin begin.

ProFILE coordinator Alex Schnabelrauch, director of MFB’s Center of Education and Leadership Development, said the logistical and environmental challenges this trip posed may’ve made its payoff all the sweeter for those taking part.

“Michigan’s county Farm Bureaus — and the industry as a whole — have some truly exceptional young leaders and we’re excited to see how they use what they’ve gained to improve their farms and communities.”

This year’s class includes Emily Boeve (Ottawa County), Casey Bozung (Van Buren), Sara Bronkema (Ottawa), Alisha Gibson (Kalamazoo), Brandon Hotchkin (Jackson), Charles Loveland (Jackson), Matt Marston (Livingston), Mike Mathis (Oakland), MaryAnne Murawski (Huron), Dirk Okkema (Mecosta), Terry Page (Ionia), Mike Sell (Wayne), Brenda Sisung (Clinton), Amanda Sollman (Saginaw) and Cody Tyrrell (Huron).

Altogether the group made nearly a dozen stops around the Mississippi Delta region, seeing firsthand the production of such key regional commodities as rice, cotton, tea and catfish. More familiar than the commodities were the challenges their producers face: labor, processing, logistics, water management and at least one wildlife pest —bears! — nobody saw coming.

“Our Michigan members put all their skills and knowledge to use, serving as tour-stop emcees, engaged learners and savvy reporters providing coverage along the way,” Schnabelrauch said. “Our hosts in Mississippi and Louisiana remarked how impressed they were with the depth and breadth of our group’s questions.”

MFB Digital Editor Tony Hansen was along for the ride and filed his coverage straight from the sweltering south; follow these links to read his detailed accounts: Day 1Day 2Day 3 and Day 4.

More than 70 young farmers have been nominated by their county Farm Bureaus to be part of the 2022-23 ProFILE class.


The 2020-21 ProFILE class found better luck with its capstone trip than its kickoff junket in March of last year, which wrapped right as the world slipped headlong into a global pandemic.

Rebecca Gulliver has been the Saginaw Valley Regional Manager for the past four and a half years. She has just recently transitioned into her new position based at the home office: Member Engagement and Field Training Specialist, which includes the Community Action Group program.

CLICK… CLACK… CLICK… CLACK…

Twenty-one steps are taken before turning sharply with the click of the heel to face east for 21 seconds exactly, then turning to face north for 21 seconds, followed by 21 steps down a black mat before repeating the process for an hour until a uniformed relief commander appears to announce the ceremonial changing of the guard. For 24 hours a day, soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment stand watch over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Looking back to my first trip to Washington, D.C., between my junior and senior years of high school, I remember the impact watching that ceremony had on me. The entire D.C. experience humbled me, helped me appreciate the opportunities I enjoy, and quite honestly fired me up, thinking of how entitled our society has become in the midst of so much selflessness showcased through the time-honored memorials in D.C.

If you are not familiar, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a white marble monument overlooking the nation’s capital from Arlington National Cemetery. Since 1921, it has been the final resting place for our nation’s unidentified servicemen and women — a place of mourning and reflection on the meaning and the cost of military service. Depending on the time of the year, the changing of the guard happens either every hour or every half hour, but it all comes down to tradition and paying respect to those who served our country.

Community Action Groups are a special tradition within our Farm Bureau Family. Personally, after I came on staff almost five years ago, attending my first CAG meeting was when it all came together — I felt like I finally understood what Farm Bureau was all about. I cherish that memory and look forward to being able to work in this capacity and with our organization’s time-honored tradition.

For those of you I haven’t yet had the honor of meeting, I am Rebecca Gulliver. For the past four and a half years I’ve been the Saginaw Valley Regional Manager, and just recently transitioned into my new position based at the home office: Member Engagement and Field Training Specialist, which includes this program.

Before Farm Bureau, I worked as the agriscience academic assistant at North Huron Schools, helping high school, junior high and elementary agriscience students with FFA. I graduated from Michigan State University in 2015 with a degree in agriscience, food and natural resources education and recently graduated from Northwood University with a master’s in organizational leadership. In my free time, I enjoy painting, crocheting, being the best aunt I can be to four nieces and a nephew, and playing with my dogs Harper and Hudson.

I look forward to getting to know each of your groups, and using the lessons I have learned through my experiences to give selflessly and serve our Community Action Groups to the best of my ability.

Community Action Groups are a special tradition within our Farm Bureau Family.

Attendees to MFB’s 2021 Annual Meeting can expect a smaller sea of delegates, as many are expected to take advantage of options to participate virtually — one of the silver linings of the pandemic-forced learning curve we’ve all been navigating since March of last year.
 

Michigan Farm Bureau’s 2021 Annual Meeting is taking shape as a hybrid affair, incorporating several familiar in-person activities and elements of last year’s virtual proceedings.

Pandemic precautions in 2020 made it necessary for an almost entirely virtual annual meeting, and feedback from members who took part was mixed. Most missed the camaraderie and efficiency of in-person interaction, but that sentiment was tempered by the undeniable convenience “phoning it in” meant for those living and farming long distances from Grand Rapids.

Barring the unforeseen, this year’s format will borrow from 2020 an early virtual kickoff event in early November for dispensing with reports and other formalities, followed by in-person district meetings the following week.

Those district meetings will allow delegates to nominate and elect their district director (odd-numbered districts only this year) and review the policy agenda prior to the full delegate body convening three weeks later.

The final component will largely resemble our familiar, in-person annuals, but in a condensed, two-day format that will incorporate means for delegates to join the proceedings without coming to Grand Rapids. Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 will be packed with Young Farmer discussion meets, the Ag Art Gallery, Promotion & Education content and more.

The agenda below isn’t final but is close enough to offer a good idea of what this year’s MFB Annual Meeting will look like. And it is not too early for interested members to let their county Farm Bureau leaders know they want to take part!

DRAFT AGENDA: MFB 2021 STATE ANNUAL MEETING 

Wednesday, Nov. 3

Virtual Kickoff: 7-8 p.m.

  • Welcome 
  • Business session call to order 
  • Approval of 2020 annual meeting minutes 
  • Officer reports 
  • Rules Committee report 
  • Credentials Committee report 

Tuesday, Nov. 9 & Wednesday, Nov. 10 

District Meetings: in person within the district; times TBD

  • Nominations & elections of district director (odd districts only) 
  • At-large director candidates to join virtually for introductions and Q&A 
  • Policy review

Tuesday, Nov.30

State Annual Meeting Day 1: in-person at Amway/DeVos, Grand Rapids

  • 9 – 11 a.m. • Young Farmer Discussion Meet registration, contestant & judges briefing 
  • 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. • Young Farmer Discussion Meet Sweet 16 – Round 1 
  • 12 – 1:30 p.m. • Discussion meet participant lunch 
  • 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. • Young Farmer Discussion Meet Sweet 16 – Round 2 
  • 2 – 9:30 p.m. • MFA Ag Art Gallery showcase & voting 
  • 2:30 – 5:30 p.m. • Opening delegate session (Hybrid delegation) 
    • Welcome 
    • Scheduled polices 
    • Young Farmer Discussion Meet Final Four announcement 
  • 5 – 5:30 p.m. • P&E Showcase sneak peak (for non-delegates) 
  • 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. • Reception 
    • P&E Showcase of County Activities of Excellence & 2-3 stations from state P&E committee 
    • Young Farmer Excellence Award presentation 
    • Sponsor exhibit space 
  • 6:30 – 9 p.m. • Leadership Banquet 
    • State Young Farmer committee Introductions 
    • Young Farmer Discussion Meet finals 
    • State P&E committee introductions 
    • Foundation introduction & kick-off for Art Gallery 
    • Recognition of county P&E activities and announcement for Ag Week 2022 
    • YF Awards – winners and finalist recognition 
    • Ag in the Classroom (Farm Science Lab & FARM Crates) and Educator of the Year 
    • Young Farmer Discussion Meet winner announcement 
    • Distribute P&E t-shirts

Wednesday, December 1 

State Annual Meeting Day 2: in-person at Amway/DeVos, Grand Rapids

  • 7:15 – 8:45 a.m. • Breakfast 
    • State AgriPac committee recognition 
    • AgriPac keynote speaker 
  • 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. • MFA Ag Art Gallery showcase & voting 
  • 8 – 8:30 a.m. • High School & Collegiate Discussion Meet registration & briefing
  • 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. • High School & Collegiate Discussion Meet round 1 
  • 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. • Delegate session (hybrid delegation) 
    • Nomination and elections of district, YF, P&E and at-large directors 
    • Scheduled polices 
    • Block voting 
  • 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. • High School & Collegiate Discussion Meet round 2 
  • 10:45 – 11 a.m. • High School & Collegiate Discussion Meet final six announcement 
  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. • High School & Collegiate Discussion Meet final six round 
  • 12:45 – 2:30 p.m. • Lunch 
    • Key Club recognition 
    • Agent Charitable Fund recognition 
    • High School & Collegiate Discussion Meet winners announced 
    • Presidential Volunteer of the Year 
  • 2:30 – 5:30 p.m. • Closing Delegate Session (hybrid delegation) 
    • Block voting 
    • High School & Collegiate Discussion Meet contestants observe 
  • 4 – 7 p.m. • Ag Art Gallery Silent Auction 
  • 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. • Friends of Agriculture Reception 
    • Incorporate elected Friends of Agriculture as a showcase event 
    • AgriPac pin sales 
  • Sponsor exhibit space 
  • 6:30 – 9 p.m. • Annual Banquet 
    • Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award 
    • President’s Address 
    • MFA Ag Art Gallery live auction (popular vote winners & best in show) 
Michigan Farm Bureau’s 2021 Annual Meeting is taking shape as a hybrid affair, incorporating several familiar in-person activities and elements of last year’s virtual proceedings.

One of two FARM Crate options for September brings Michigan’s prosperous apple industry into the classrooms of your choice.
 

Summer fun might be in full swing but back-to-school season is just around the corner, and here are some reasons to gift FARM Crates to teachers in your community:

  • Help them incorporate agriculture into their lessons
  • Supplement your county Farm Bureau’s Agriculture in the Classroom efforts
  • Reach grade levels your county’s P&E activities don’t normally reach
  • Enrich Project RED learning by providing a crate at another time of year
  • Connect with a new school you haven’t yet worked with

FARM Crates are again available in K-2 or 3-5 grade options. Each includes a food or agriculture book, a hands-on, printed lesson plan and support materials, an online extension activity and a teacher gift. The content is based in grade-appropriate educational standards and helps connect required content to agricultural concepts.

Crate subscriptions will include four fall themed crates: Apples, Pumpkins, Turkeys, and Christmas Trees. Subscribe and save with a discounted rate of $25 per crate. One brand new crate with an Insect theme is available for individual purchase.

New this year is a Refresh Pack for encouraging the reuse of crates received last year. Refresh Packs include consumable materials and renewed access to digital resources for just $15 each.

All fall crates for the fall months must be ordered by Aug. 23. Crates will be shipped at the end of the preceding month; October crates will ship in late September, and so on. Because Aug. 23 is so close to the end of county Farm Bureaus’ fiscal year, counties will receive a discount code for use in delayed billing to pay for their order in the 2021-22 fiscal year. (Note this option is only available to county Farm Bureaus.)

Here’s more detailed information about each of our fall 2021 FARM Crates:

September: Math, Easy as Pie

Students will learn about the parts of an apple, where they grow and meet a Michigan apple farmer. Teachers and students will use pie pieces for a variety of math concepts from patterning; identifying greater than, less than or equal to; or solving word-problems while learning about the different varieties of apples grown in Michigan.

September: Creepy Crawly Critters

Up for an adventure? Get up and get out! Take your students on a walk to explore the environment and insects found in your community. In this lesson, students will explore insects through three types of resources, they will hear from a local Michigan farmer about how insects are beneficial and how they treat for pests and conclude by completing various complementing worksheets.

October: Pumpkin Spice & Everything Science

Explore the life of a pumpkin! Students will review what a plant needs to grow before diving into a fresh pumpkin to identify and learn about the internal and external parts of a pumpkin and what role they play in its healthy development. Students will learn about the parts of a pumpkin, where and how they grow and meet a Michigan pumpkin farmer. Teachers and students will use a pumpkin to identify the parts of the pumpkin and how they support its healthy growth. Students will build a pumpkin life cycle using pictures to identify the process, from seed to decomposition.

November: Talkin’ Turkeys

Kindergarten through second-grade students will be introduced to non-fiction text and learn about the parts of a book. They will learn about turkeys and use what they learned from the book by applying it to activities in this lesson. Activities include creating a turkey puppet and completing a flap book highlighting the turkey facts they have learned. Third- through fifth-grade students will reach a fiction chapter book and answer comprehension questions for each chapter. Students will recall actions from the book to outline the plot, conflict and feelings of the characters. All students will meet a Michigan turkey farmer!

December: Trees, Traditions & Trade

Sit down next to the crackling fire as students learn about Michigan Christmas trees through the eyes of a young child and the stories her grandfather shared when she was growing up in Northern Michigan. Hear first-hand from a Michigan tree farmer and see what it takes to care for and grow the best trees for the holiday season. Finally, students will learn about goods and services in their community and needs versus wants through interactive activities.

Have your Promotion & Education volunteers work with your county administrative manager to order through the Michigan Agriculture in the Classroom online store. Click here to download a promotional flyer. 

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

Summer fun might be in full swing but back-to-school season is just around the corner, and here are some reasons to gift FARM Crates to teachers in your community:


County Farm Bureau policy development teams are well into their yearly process of crafting resolutions that ultimately become the policy guiding Michigan Farm Bureau’s legislative and regulatory work year-round. Numerous electronic resources are available to help members engage in a variety of ways.

Probable Issue Briefs: To help members get discussion and ideas flowing, Farm Bureau staff prepare briefs on emerging issues and hot topics impacting the agriculture sector. Briefs this year include:

Current Policy: The 2021 MFB and AFBF policy books are available to search and download if members are considering amendments to existing language.

Submit your ideas: Use this form to submit ideas or amendments throughout the year.

Policy Development Process: Once compiled, hundreds of resolutions from Michigan’s 65 county Farm Bureaus will be considered by a 21-member state-level policy development committee. The final slate of policies is then considered by voting delegates at MFB’s annual meeting in Grand Rapids.

State Policy Development Committee: The committee consists of 20 members: one from each of the 11 districts; three at-large; three representing the State Young Farmer Committee; and three representing the MFB Board of Directors.

Looking to learn more about policy development? Contact your county Farm Bureau.

County Farm Bureau policy development teams are well into their yearly process of crafting resolutions that ultimately become the policy guiding Michigan Farm Bureau’s legislative and regulatory work year-round. Numerous electronic resources are avai

Have you recently contributed to fight hunger in Michigan as a member of Michigan Farm Bureau? If so, you can be a part of this year’s Harvest for All campaign.

Created by the American Farm Bureau Federation, Harvest for All is a yearlong campaign encouraging Farm Bureau members across the country to work together to help fight hunger.

To inspire their fellow members to donate their time, produce and dollars, every year the state Young Farmer committee hosts Harvest for All, which distributes $1,000 back into local hunger-relief organizations.

This year sees some exciting changes to the contest.

The 2021 Harvest for All Contest will be tallied at the district, not county, level. The district with the highest total will win $1,000 dollars to donate to a food bank of their choice.

All 2021 calendar year donations of volunteer time, commodities, food and dollars given by members on behalf of Farm Bureau are reportable. (Activities that took place in November and December of 2020 are also accepted.)

The winning district will be recognized at the 2022 Growing Together Conference.

Contact your county Farm Bureau office by Dec. 31 to report donations and activity. The deadline for this year’s contest is December 31, however contributions should be reported to county Farm Bureau’s by December 1 to assist in timely reporting.

For more information on the contest and resources visit www.michfb.com/HarvestforAll.

Created by the American Farm Bureau Federation, Harvest for All is a yearlong campaign encouraging Farm Bureau members across the country to work together to help fight hunger.

If you have never had the chance to attend a district-level Young Farmer Discussion Meet, what you’ll find is: ambitious Young Farmers to network with; great conversation around important agricultural topics; and a chance to build your leadership resume with Michigan Farm Bureau.

Discussion meets date back to the 1940s and are designed to replicate a committee meeting in which Farm Bureau members, ages 18-35, explore an agricultural topic and discuss how to address it. The conversations not only help participants improve their speaking skills, but also generate exciting new ideas on key industry issues.

This year’s district-level topics focus on mental health and farm safety:

  1. Studies show more farmers and farm families are experiencing stress and mental health issues. What can farmers, ranchers and Farm Bureau do to proactively promote good mental health in both themselves and their communities?
  2. Agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries. What can we, as young farmers and ranchers, do to create a more preventative, rather than reactive, approach to farm safety in our communities?

Don’t miss this opportunity to have some fun and connect with Young Farmers in your area:

  • District 1 — Aug. 14 with trap shoot & cornhole tournament; St. Joseph County Conservation and Sportsman Club, Sturgis; contact Sarah Pion, 269-377-4841
  • District 2 — Aug. 5 with trap shoot; Big 9 Sportsmen’s Club, Concord; contact Kim Kerr, 269-967-3759
  • District 3 — Aug. 14; Planters Paradise & Floral Gardens, Macomb; contact Hannah Meyers, 616-485-4469
  • District 4 — Aug. 6; Zoom Farm Equipment, 7980 Pratt Lake Ave. SE, Alto; contact Lori Schrauben, 517-230-3462
  • District 5 — Aug. 21; Potter Park Zoo, Lansing; contact Clinton County Farm Bureau (989-224-9536), Eaton County Farm Bureau (517- 410-2438), Ingham County Farm Bureau (517-676-5578), Genesee County Farm Bureau (810-350-9513), Shiawassee County Farm Bureau (989-725-5174)
  • District 6 — Aug. 5 with golf outing; Grand Banquet & Conf. Center, Essexville; contact Beth Rupprecht, 989-640-6913
  • District 7 — Aug. 21 with golf outing; Waters Edge Golf Course, Fremont; contact Bridget Moore, 989-640-6973
  • District 8 — Aug. 14; Dow Diamond, Midland; contact Becca Gulliver, 989-708-1082
  • District 9 — Aug. 27; Iron Fish Distillery, Thompsonville; contact Nicole Jennings, 810-569-9610
  • District 10 — Sept. 18; Ogemaw County Fairgrounds, West Branch; contact Sonya Novotny, 248-420-2340
  • District 11 — Aug. 21; 3:30 p.m. sporting clays tournament, 5:30 p.m. dinner, 6 p.m. discussion meet; Charlevoix Rod & Gun Club, 11330 US-31, Charlevoix; contact Cole Iaquinto, 810-422-7322
  • District 12 — Aug. 31; Island Resort & Casino, Harris; contact Craig Knudson, 231-357-3864

District-level finalists will move on to participate in two rounds of virtual discussion Nov. 12. Those advancing to the Sweet Sixteen will participate in two in-person rounds at this year’s MFB State Annual Meeting, scheduled for Nov. 30 in Grand Rapids.

For more information, including videos on the parts of a discussion meet, visit www.michfb.com/YFDiscussionMeet.

 
If you have never had the chance to attend a district-level Young Farmer Discussion Meet, what you’ll find is: ambitious Young Farmers to network with; great conversation around important agricultural topics; and a chance to build your leadership res
Alyssa Bednarski

Abby Vittore (here with husband Ben) is outspoken on the value of Young Farmer discussion meets.

With this year’s district-level Young Farmer discussion meets quickly approaching, Michigan Farm Bureau knows that for some, getting the courage to participate can be hard but it is never impossible. Lenawee County’s Abby Vittore was once in your shoes and is here to share her experience along with advice and information that can be beneficial to this year’s participants.

Abby’s agricultural background began at her family’s fifth-generation farm near Adrian, where they grow row crops, provide agritourism and operate a spring retail greenhouse. Abby is still active on her farm as the majority owner of the greenhouse business, in addition to being a crop insurance agent for River Farms Crop Insurance Agency, Inc.

While attending Michigan State University, Abby joined Collegiate Farm Bureau, which helped prepare her for her current roles as vice president on her county Farm Bureau board and as a representative of District 2 on MFB’s state-level Young Farmer committee.

When her high-school FFA advisor pushed her to compete she was up-front about her nervousness, but jumped into competition anyway and has been hooked ever since. Her continued involvement over the years has seen her meeting members from all over the state.

“I have walked away from every discussion meet having learned something new,” she said, whether at the local, state or national level. “My favorite opportunity was competing at the national-level Collegiate Discussion Meet. I got to travel to Phoenix, Arizona to attend the Young Farmers Leader Conference, which was a great opportunity to meet Young Farmers from across the U.S. who all had such differing backgrounds to learn about.”

Discussion meets can be a powerful asset to help strengthen many different areas in your skill set. For Abby, taking part in these competitions has helped improve her readiness to speak up in conversations where her view may — or may not — agree with others. She’s also become more comfortable sharing her opinion in day-to-day conversations thanks to the environment discussion meets create.

“Everyone has to start from somewhere,” she said. “It’s easy to be intimidated by the people who you think are more experienced or more knowledgeable than you, but at some point they were also in your shoes. Taking the time to listen and learn will help you reach their level of knowledge and experience too.

“The only way to gain more knowledge — to get more experience, to be more confident — is to get involved and take the opportunity to better yourself,” she continued, going on to share some guidance to those who might feel some of her old reluctance to jump in.

“My advice would be to gain as much knowledge as possible on the topics given. Take the chance to prepare by talking to others in the industry or to reach out to local farmers or agribusiness people to get their thoughts on the topic at hand. This isn’t only a great opportunity to brush up on your leadership skills, but also a chance to learn something new about a topic and network with others in the industry.”

Michigan Farm Bureau would love to see and hear what you have to say at this year’s discussion meets. There’s plenty more information online, including the Young Farmer Discussion Meet Guidebook; this year’s topics; a scorecard rubric and rules; district contest information; and instructional videos.

Alyssa Bednarski is interning with Michigan Farm Bureau’s Center for Education and Leadership Development.


County Farm Bureau policy development teams are well into their yearly process of crafting resolutions that ultimately become the policy guiding Michigan Farm Bureau’s legislative and regulatory work year-round. Numerous electronic resources are avai

The third class of Michigan Farm Bureau’s Academy for Political Leadership convenes for the first time later this month, beginning a pandemic-adjusted schedule that will continue through September.

COVID-19 restrictions led the group to put off meeting meet in person until a time when they can, hopefully, convene in person.

Eight participants are scheduled to meet in June, July, August and September:

Nadene Berthiaume grew up on a small farm in Genesee County, earned her education credentials at Michigan State and worked as an ag teacher and FFA advisor. She’s now district administrator of the Saginaw Conservation District, following several years as an ag-tech instructor and program director at Baker College of Owosso.

While raising her family Berthiaume is building two small businesses: a farm accounting service and a small horse farm. Her lifelong passion for agriculture informs her efforts as an advocate for agriculture, outdoor recreation and natural resource conservation.

Maria Carlin farms with her husband in Shiawassee County, raising cash crops near Owosso and running a pair of related ventures: d’Vine Wines and Maria’s Garden. She’s a graduate of MSU’s vet-tech program with degrees in microbiology and business administration; he’s a fifth-generation cash crop farmer and environmental engineer. Both entertain political aspirations.

Currently a member of the Shiawassee County Farm Bureau board of directors, Carlin represents District 5 on MFB’s state-level policy development committees and has take part in both MFB’s Lansing and Washington Legislative Seminars.


Logan Crumbaugh grew up on his family’s farm in Gratiot County, growing corn, soybeans, wheat and sugar beets. He earned his agribusiness management degree from Michigan State and through Farm Bureau events has developed a passion for political involvement, including an itch to someday seek an elected office.

Off the farm he enjoys homebrewing, riding ATVs and snowmobiles, and exploring Michigan with his wife Morgan.


Byron Fogarasi is the fourth-generation owner of his family's centennial farm in Arenac County near Sterling, raising cash crops, hay and beef cattle with his wife Robyn and their children, Ryder and Rose. Combining childhood lessons learned from his grandparents with formal education in mechanical engineering and business administration, Fogarasi is deeply committed to ensuring future generations can embrace the farming heritage his forbears made possible for him.

A member of Arenac County Farm Bureau’s executive committee, Fogarasi is already politically active as a township supervisor, taking an active role in policymaking to maintain his community’s agricultural legacy.


Loren King comes from St. Joseph County, where he serves on the count Farm Bureau board of directors and helps his family raise corn and soybeans. Off the farm he works with digital media for an agricultural startup serving farmers with digital media technology including photography, videography and drones. 

His Farm Bureau involvement has him hooked on developing solid policy and advocating for farm-friendly legislation. In 4-H and FFA, and as an MFB policy intern, King has developed and fed his passion agricultural policymaking, and personally lobbied lawmakers in advocating for measures that benefit American farmers.


Brad Lubbers farms near Hamilton in Allegan County with his parents, wife Konni and their children Thomas and Noelle. Together they raise hogs on a 200-sow farrow-to-finish farm, in addition to 900 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat.

An active member of the Allegan County Farm Bureau, Lubbers has a deep resume of involvement in every corner of the organization, from candidate evaluation and policy development to the Young Farmer program and serving on the county board of directors, including as county president.

Allan Robinette is a fifth-generation fruit grower near Grand Rapids, and a member of the Kent County Farm Bureau. His family operates a popular agritourism destination where Allan works behind the scenes, growing apples, sweet cherries and peaches.

Robeinette’s Apple Haus includes operate a year-round farm market, cider mill, bakery and winery.

Ed Scheffler comes from a third-generation farm in northeastern Lenawee County he shares with his wife Wendy and their children Faith and Austin. A member of the Lenawee County Farm Bureau board of directors, he farms alongside his father, raising about 150 acres soybeans, 100 acres of hay and 80 acres each of wheat and oats.

By day Scheffler is Lenawee County’s deputy drain commissioner, a position that informs his volunteer work with the River Raisin Watershed Council’s farmer group promoting water-quality practices and public outreach.

At their June kickoff meeting all new Academy participants will spend time getting acquainted with each other and the program itself.

MFB President Carl Bednarski will speak to the need for farmers to be active politically.

Participants will take part in training mass-media interviewing skills, social media strategy and campaign material design.

Dist. 88 State Representative Luke Meerman, a dairy farmer from Coopersville and active Farm Bureau member, will share what he’s learned from campaigning and serving constituents.

MFB Legal Counsel Andy Kok will speak to the role of the judiciary and State Legislative Counsel Rob Anderson staff will walk participants through the process of how legislation really becomes the law of the land.

The program continues with subsequent sessions in late June and mid-August, and concludes with a mid-September session in Washington, D.C. (tentative, depending on the status of pandemic precautions there.)

MFB’s Academy for Political Leadership is designed for Farm Bureau members interested in politics and government. Some participants aspire to public office themselves or seek to learn how to support office-holders, while others simply want to learn more about how government works.

The academy takes place every other year in non-election years. Contact your county Farm Bureau if you or someone you know is interested in taking part in a future class.

MFB staff contacts: Matt Kapp, 517-679-5883, and Melissa Palma, 517-323-6740


The third class of Michigan Farm Bureau’s Academy for Political Leadership convenes for the first time later this month, beginning a pandemic-adjusted schedule that will continue through September.

Even with COVID restrictions lifting, a better-safe-than-sorry approach to children’s activities at the fair still makes good sense this year.

A: Each equate to approximately six feet of distance. While you might not be planning to line up livestock to remind fairgoers of appropriate distancing; restrictions and guidelines are everchanging.

Making small adjustments to children’s county fair activities should set up your county Farm Bureau Promotion & Education activities for success no matter the restrictions at the time of your events.

Please consider these general tips:

  • Plan for volunteers to individually hand out materials as opposed to help-yourself distribution of flyers, handouts, trinkets or craft supplies, etc.
  • Limit activities or displays where objects are handled by numerous individuals throughout the day to avoid cumbersome cleaning responsibilities.
  • Prepackage craft supplies or trinkets for children so one child or one family gets a bag of items.
  • Seek donations of small packages of crayons (MI Soybean Promotion Committee) to hand out with a coloring page instead of a bin of crayons to be shared by children at the fair.
  • Consider using painter’s tape or similar to mark off stations or work spaces for children at activity tables or picnic tables.
  • Avoid activities such as sawdust penny hunts, corn boxes, play areas with shared toys, craft supplies, etc.
  • Host individual make-and-take craft projects instead of games or activities that involve groups of children using shared materials. (See below.)
  • Avoid make-and-take activities involving food such as making butter or ice cream in a bag. Instead consider individually packaged food giveaways such as cheese sticks, small milk cartons or fruit.
  • Provide volunteers with cleaning wipes and hand sanitizer so all children sanitize hands before participation and all tables and materials are cleaned following activity.
  • Order safety posters from the MFB print shop to remind visitors of proper health and safety protocols.

Activity ideas:

Questions? Contact Amelia Miller or Katie Eisenberger

Making small adjustments to children’s county fair activities should set up your county Farm Bureau Promotion & Education activities for success no matter the restrictions at the time of your events.