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Top Story

Michigan Farm Bureau


The Michigan Farm Bureau team continues working on your behalf to advocate for your needs and connect you with resources to protect your farm business and employees during this challenging time.

As agriculture serves our state and nation as essential infrastructure, we recognize the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) is increasing and it will continue to as we begin to reopen the economy. PPE includes respirators, face masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, gowns, disinfectants, thermometers, face shields, barriers, wipes, goggles/glasses, etc.

To help connect you with PPE supplies for you and your employees, our team partnered with Great Lakes Ag Labor Services to compile a list of vendors willing to fulfill agriculture-based orders.

You can also access the complete MFB Coronavirus Resource web page here.

It’s important to note that inventory continues to fluctuate and is not guaranteed. Pricing of products, volume availability, order lead times, minimum order requirements, and shipping arrangements are all at the vendor’s discretion.  

Upon receiving your PPE and distributing to your farm and business employees, we encourage you to read the following Michigan Farm News story to ensure the PPE is being utilized correctly. COVID-19 PPE tutorial: When to use respirators, facemasks, or cloth face coverings in agriculture

Following are some best practices we recommend for sourcing Personal Protective Equipment:

  1. Check with your current supplier first. Most PPE is on allocation to other customers as the needs for healthcare are met. Websites may display product as unavailable or without a price, so contact suppliers by phone to speak directly with a salesperson. 
  2. Explain that you are part of the food and agriculture sector. Agriculture is an essential industry sector: ranked number two in priority behind health care/first responders. 
  3. Make your contacts as soon as possible. There will be additional requests when the state opens fully on May 15. 
  4. Consider pooling orders with neighboring farms and agribusinesses. There may be minimum order requirements depending on the supplier and a larger order may result in better pricing and delivery options. 
  5. Make sure you are using a trusted supplier. Cybercriminals and scammers are leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic for financial benefit. The latest FBI alert warns hackers are targeting industries that are attempting to buy PPE with business email compromise mail.  
  6. Take into consideration time frame and location. A supplier may not be able to meet entire order quantity immediately but will allocate supplies as they become available. Also make sure you’re talking to a supplier that will deliver near, or directly to, your location. 

If you have additional questions about PPE procurement, simply email us  and we’ll direct your inquiry to the appropriate team member.  

Thank you for your commitment to agriculture and Michigan Farm Bureau. We appreciate your membership and hope you and your family stay safe and healthy.  

To help connect you with PPE supplies for you and your employees, our team partnered with Great Lakes Ag Labor Services to compile a list of vendors willing to fulfill agriculture-based orders.

County News

By Kate Thiel


Are you an artist at heart? Back by popular demand, the Agricultural Art Gallery provides an opportunity for Farm Bureau members to showcase their artistic abilities while celebrating agriculture. Members from across the state are encouraged to enter items in six categories:

  • Woodworking
  • Metal work
  • Drawing & painting
  • Fabric & fiber
  • Photography
  • 3D art (ceramics, pottery, sculpture)

Entrants’ peers will celebrate their work during MFB’s 2020 Annual Meeting, Dec. 1-3 in Grand Rapids. Popular vote during the event will determine a best in show and category winners.

All entries are considered contributions to the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture, unless otherwise noted. As such, funds generated will support leadership and educational programming throughout the state.

Popular vote winners will be auctioned live Wednesday evening. All other entries will be available via silent auction.

Prospective entrants are asked to register their entries before Nov. 20 by using this online registration form.

Kate Thiel is the Development Manager for the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture.


The Agricultural Art Gallery provides an opportunity for Farm Bureau members to showcase their artistic abilities while celebrating agriculture.

Michigan Farm Bureau


The Michigan Farm Bureau team continues working on your behalf to advocate for your needs and connect you with resources to protect your farm business and employees during this challenging time.

As agriculture serves our state and nation as essential infrastructure, we recognize the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) is increasing and it will continue to as we begin to reopen the economy. PPE includes respirators, face masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, gowns, disinfectants, thermometers, face shields, barriers, wipes, goggles/glasses, etc.

To help connect you with PPE supplies for you and your employees, our team partnered with Great Lakes Ag Labor Services to compile a list of vendors willing to fulfill agriculture-based orders.

You can also access the complete MFB Coronavirus Resource web page here.

It’s important to note that inventory continues to fluctuate and is not guaranteed. Pricing of products, volume availability, order lead times, minimum order requirements, and shipping arrangements are all at the vendor’s discretion.  

Upon receiving your PPE and distributing to your farm and business employees, we encourage you to read the following Michigan Farm News story to ensure the PPE is being utilized correctly. COVID-19 PPE tutorial: When to use respirators, facemasks, or cloth face coverings in agriculture

Following are some best practices we recommend for sourcing Personal Protective Equipment:

  1. Check with your current supplier first. Most PPE is on allocation to other customers as the needs for healthcare are met. Websites may display product as unavailable or without a price, so contact suppliers by phone to speak directly with a salesperson. 
  2. Explain that you are part of the food and agriculture sector. Agriculture is an essential industry sector: ranked number two in priority behind health care/first responders. 
  3. Make your contacts as soon as possible. There will be additional requests when the state opens fully on May 15. 
  4. Consider pooling orders with neighboring farms and agribusinesses. There may be minimum order requirements depending on the supplier and a larger order may result in better pricing and delivery options. 
  5. Make sure you are using a trusted supplier. Cybercriminals and scammers are leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic for financial benefit. The latest FBI alert warns hackers are targeting industries that are attempting to buy PPE with business email compromise mail.  
  6. Take into consideration time frame and location. A supplier may not be able to meet entire order quantity immediately but will allocate supplies as they become available. Also make sure you’re talking to a supplier that will deliver near, or directly to, your location. 

If you have additional questions about PPE procurement, simply email us  and we’ll direct your inquiry to the appropriate team member.  

Thank you for your commitment to agriculture and Michigan Farm Bureau. We appreciate your membership and hope you and your family stay safe and healthy.  

To help connect you with PPE supplies for you and your employees, our team partnered with Great Lakes Ag Labor Services to compile a list of vendors willing to fulfill agriculture-based orders.

State News


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.

Coming Events

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