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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

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

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