Help

HelpAdvocate for initiatives to protect and sustain natural resources, statewide and in your community

Meet

Network with farmers locally and across the state and Influence elected officials, agency directors and policy makers

Learn

Access resources and current industry information

Discover what's happening in your local community

Save

SaveTake advantage of discounts in your own backyard
Receive discounts statewide on hotels, vehicle purchases and car rental

Top Story

Deb Holmes

Livingston County Farm Bureau will be holding their Annual Meeting on Wednesday, September 9, 2020, at the Fowlerville Family Fairgrounds, 8800 W Grand River in Fowlerville.   Registration will begin at 6:00pm with dinner being served at 6:30pm.    This event will be held outside at the Bingo Pavilion at the north end of the fairgrounds, near the historical village.

Social distancing will be practiced in that picnic tables will be spaced appropriately for diners or if attendees prefer, parking will be adjacent to the pavilion so that you may dine in your vehicle.  Dinner will consist of pulled pork, cheesy potatoes, Cole slaw and a cookie.  Bottled water will be provided for refreshment.

Horseshoes and corn hole games will be set up.  There will be some appropriate games for children that will allow for social distancing and safe play.

In order to accomplish the business of the Annual Meeting, a business meeting will be held following dinner to approve the 2019 Annual Meeting Minutes, approve the financial statements as of August 31, 2019,  to elect new directors and to review policy to be forwarded for consideration to Michigan Farm Bureau.  If you are unable to attend the meeting in person, the business materials will be made available for email as of September 2, 2020.  A ballot is also being prepared so that you may submit a vote via email.  To request these materials, please email [email protected] .  Completed ballots would need to be emailed by 4:00pm to [email protected] on September 9th to be counted in that evenings vote.

The LCFB Board of Directors thanks each of you for being a member in our organization.  We will do everything possible to make sure that the County Annual Meeting is a safe and family friendly event.  Our hope is that you will attend either in person or by reviewing the Annual Meeting materials and by submitting a ballot via email.  2020 has been a challenging year and we hope that our meeting will give members an enjoyable evening out at the fair.

Livingston County Farm Bureau will hold their Annual Meeting on September 9th. Materials will be made available via email if you cannot attend in person

Livingston County Farm Bureau News

Deb Holmes

Livingston County Farm Bureau will be holding their Annual Meeting on Wednesday, September 9, 2020, at the Fowlerville Family Fairgrounds, 8800 W Grand River in Fowlerville.   Registration will begin at 6:00pm with dinner being served at 6:30pm.    This event will be held outside at the Bingo Pavilion at the north end of the fairgrounds, near the historical village.

Social distancing will be practiced in that picnic tables will be spaced appropriately for diners or if attendees prefer, parking will be adjacent to the pavilion so that you may dine in your vehicle.  Dinner will consist of pulled pork, cheesy potatoes, Cole slaw and a cookie.  Bottled water will be provided for refreshment.

Horseshoes and corn hole games will be set up.  There will be some appropriate games for children that will allow for social distancing and safe play.

In order to accomplish the business of the Annual Meeting, a business meeting will be held following dinner to approve the 2019 Annual Meeting Minutes, approve the financial statements as of August 31, 2019,  to elect new directors and to review policy to be forwarded for consideration to Michigan Farm Bureau.  If you are unable to attend the meeting in person, the business materials will be made available for email as of September 2, 2020.  A ballot is also being prepared so that you may submit a vote via email.  To request these materials, please email [email protected] .  Completed ballots would need to be emailed by 4:00pm to [email protected] on September 9th to be counted in that evenings vote.

The LCFB Board of Directors thanks each of you for being a member in our organization.  We will do everything possible to make sure that the County Annual Meeting is a safe and family friendly event.  Our hope is that you will attend either in person or by reviewing the Annual Meeting materials and by submitting a ballot via email.  2020 has been a challenging year and we hope that our meeting will give members an enjoyable evening out at the fair.

Livingston County Farm Bureau will hold their Annual Meeting on September 9th. Materials will be made available via email if you cannot attend in person

LCFB Vice President, Matt Marston named to MFB Leadership Class

Livingston County Farm Bureau Vice President, Matt Marston, was selected from amongst 90 nominations from county Farm Bureaus across Michigan to participate in the 2020-21 ProFILE Leadership class.  Marston and the other 17 participants will begin ProFILE's 15-month agenda of leadership and professional development activities, including expert speakers, involvement opportunities and visits to ag-industry sites in Michigan and nearby states.  ProFILE gets underway in January 2020 with orientation at the Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) home office in Lansing and a visit to Carhartt's headquarters in Dearborn.

Meetings in February and March will include participation in MFB's Washington Legislative Seminar.  The busy summertime offers an optional picnic outing before the schedule ramps back up again in September and a flurry of activity the following winter.

In January 2021 participants will embark on a five-day multistate bus trip, then take part in MFB's Lansing Legislative Seminar the following month before the program concludes with a graduation ceremony in March 2021.

Established in 1990, ProFILE is an intensive leadership development course for the best and brightest young Farm Bureau members ages 25-35.  Prospective participants are first nominated by their county Farm Bureau then selected by a MFB staff panel based on the strength of their applications.
LCFB Vice President, Matt Marston, chosen for MFB 2020-21 ProFILE leadership class

red tractor working field mfn 20182020 will mark the 18th year Livingston County Farm Bureau (LCFB) will hold an education day specially targeted for elementary (3rd grade) students.  The goal of Agriculture Awareness Day is to present an educational activity designed to provide hands-on agriculture and natural resources education for students, teachers, parents and chaperones.  Agriculture Awareness Day is the biggest single day event LCFB presents to the public each year.

Some of the benefits of Agriculture Awareness Day are:
1) Education of consumers on where their food comes from.
2) Successfully teaches students and consumers about agriculture through interactive and fun activities.
3) Raises awareness of the need for agriculture in our society.
4) Instills proper land use and awareness of natural resources.
5) Provides teachers useful classroom educational materials to integrate into their curriculum.

In 2020 Agriculture Awareness Day will be held on Thursday, May 28, 2020, at the Fowlerville Family Fairgrounds in Fowlerville.  Volunteers will present short lessons to the various classroom groups on topics ranging from seed germination and dairy nutrition to live animal exhibits.  Over 800 third graders from Pinckney, Fowlerville, and Howell schools are expected to benefit from all of the hard work by the volunteers.

The success of this program depends on the coordinated efforts of over 100 adult and teen volunteers.  We need the assistance of volunteers to help guide the students plus those able to complete manual labor required for the set-up/tear-down of the exhibit.  If you would like further information, please contact Deb Holmes at the LCFB office at (517) 546-8124 or [email protected].

2020 will mark the 18th year Livingston County Farm Bureau has held an education day specifically targeted for elementary students.

State News


Farmers After Hours’ next series, Boosting Your Bottom Line, will build on the financial foundation laid during the previous series, Financial Fundamentals and Profitability. This iteration will explore business planning, connect individuals with grant or loan sources and explain USDA resources and programming.

Live panels flank a series of five mini-sessions where subject-matter experts dive into resources and information to bolster farms and agribusinesses. Each live panel allows participants to join anonymously and ask questions of presenters.

Tune in at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays to catch fresh content, or catch up by checking out MFB’s YouTube channel. Here’s an overview of our next series:

  • Jan. 20 — Live farmer panel; register via Webex
  • Jan. 27 — Building Your Business Plan; GreenStone
  • Feb. 3 — Exploring Funding Sources
  • Feb. 10 — Decoding USDA Programs
  • Feb. 17 — Tips for Low Interest Loan Applicants; GreenStone 
  • Feb. 24 — Grant Dollars: The Do’s and Don’ts
  • March 3 — Live expert panel; register via Webex

The Farmers After Hours series is a special project of the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture, in partnership with GreenStone Farm Credit Services. The Michigan Foundation for Agriculture, a 501(c)3 formed by Michigan Farm Bureau, has a mission of positively contributing to the future of Michigan agriculture through leadership and educational programming.

Farmers After Hours’ next series, Boosting Your Bottom Line, will build on the financial foundation laid during the previous series, Financial Fundamentals and Profitability. This iteration will explore business planning, connect individuals with gra
By Jeremy C. Nagel









From top to bottom:
Mike Sell
Mitch Bigelow 
Amanda Sollman
Jeff VanderWerff
Chris Creuger 

Normally the phrase “phoning it in” refers to someone doing the bare minimum to get the job done. But Farm Bureau members taking part in MFB’s Dec. 2 Annual Meeting didn’t get that memo, and didn’t let the challenges of a remote format get in the way of expressing their stances on the 2020-21 policy docket.

One of the big unknowns heading into the event was the toll an all-virtual format might take on the policy deliberations at the heart of the event. With hundreds of members participating remotely — calling in through computers and voting via smartphone — it was easy to imagine some feeling silenced by the distance.

Not to worry.

Neither technology nor the abbreviated time frame hindered a free exchange or kept members from taking an active role in this most sacred of Farm Bureau institutions: delegate-floor policy deliberations.

Steeled for the long game 


Regardless of the meeting format, one of the more daunting delegate feats is introducing, supporting and defending a concept that doesn’t go over as well as you’d hoped.

“We thought it would be a slam dunk but it got tossed out,” said Wayne County Farm Bureau President Mike Sell about a proposal to raise the profile of diversity and inclusion language.

“Let’s just say I could’ve been a little more tactful — I kinda shut myself down,” he added. “Here in Wayne County, we talk about it frankly: Farm Bureau needs to clearly state we need to be inclusive of those people who meet the membership requirements.”

Opponents cited the presence of very similar language already included in the company’s Code of Conduct.

“We view the Code of Conduct as an HR (human resources) tool — it’s about staff, not members,” Sell said. “It’s not the policy book.”

The issue’s dismissal, he said, has only energized his membership and steeled them to dig in for the proverbial Long Game.

“You need to keep even, constant pressure on it,” Sell said. “Others will come onboard but it’s going to be a slow process.”

The cause wasn’t without allies; Bay County delegate Mitch Bigelow offered a convincing defense of the proposal.

“I think it’s important having policy not just saying we’re inclusive but actively promoting and searching out diversity,” he said afterwards. “A lack of policy around inclusion is not indicative of how inclusive we are.

“The more times we can put that in the policy book — and not get hung up on where it goes — the better,” Bigelow said. “As a general farm organization, we’re only as strong as how active we are at getting different segments represented and heard in our policy.”

Go to the microphone


The overarching concept of policy as the organization’s enduring definition was also tested by attempts to codify therein some members’ skepticism about the integrity of the 2020 general election.

Saginaw County’s Amanda Sollman wasn’t letting that go without sharing a firm, concise opinion on the matter.

“We already have laws in place,” she said — existing laws guarding against the alleged voter fraud one recommendation alluded to. “Our policy should be timeless.

“I didn’t even phrase it as a motion,” she said afterward, admitting she expected scant support for her position.

“It’s really important for Farm Bureau to speak with a unified voice when we speak with representatives and stakeholders. We’re an organization made of individuals with a wide range of opinions. It’s vital people go to the microphone and make their voice heard — bring those perspectives to the forefront for consideration.

“People have to take into account different angles and different points of view. If they don’t hear them from somebody, they may never hear them,” Sollman said. “It’s hard to go into that group knowing you hold a different perspective. It’s easy to feel alone.”

We're all guilty

Of course she is not alone; Amanda has good company in those members who aren’t the least bit shy about expressing themselves with conviction.

“I struggle a little with what I even said. I’d heard this notion and it hit a nerve with me,” recalls Jeff VanderWerff, the outspoken Ottawa County apple grower who spoke assertively in favor of an ag-labor housing GAAMP.

Beyond the obvious practical benefits, such a move would dramatically elevate the profile of an ongoing, high-priority issue common among specialty crop growers who know providing quality housing for the seasonal workers they rely on is key to attracting those workers in the first place.

But in an arena dominated by highly mechanized row-crop, livestock and dairy farmers, it may sound like pie-in-the-sky fantasy.

“The simple reality is we’re all guilty: We don’t necessarily understand the challenges other producers see every day,” VanderWerff said. “We have to try to keep an open mind and seek to understand the perspective of our fellow growers.

“Michigan is so diverse, not only agriculturally, but culturally as well, with varying political views, cultural views,” VanderWerff said. “And when you have an organization like Farm Bureau that has as big a tent as it does, and which truly wants to represent all sectors, you have to be willing to speak up for your individual commodity and region.”

Death & t*x*s

Sometimes the challenge comes in reminding folks of certain fundamental truths they readily understand but will go to their grave cursing.

“I don’t like paying property taxes any more than anyone else, but Chris had a point,” VanderWerff said about his peer from across the state: Tuscola County Farm Bureau Delegate and Pioneer Seed man Chris Creuger.

“Nobody likes paying taxes, but how will we fund public services we’ve all come to expect?” Creuger said. “Public schools, fire departments, police, road funding, infrastructure… It all has to be paid for somehow. Those things don’t just happen.

“Specifically about taxation, we have to consider policy resolutions holistically.

“Annual meeting is a great place to have an open discussion to present the facts and let the delegates decide for themselves,” Creuger said. “But it’s important to have all  sides represented, and when you see something on the screen that you feel doesn’t meet that criteria, it’s important that you speak up.

“We’re a diverse organization that represents a lot of different commodities and our needs and desires don’t always fall in line, but at the end of day we try and come up with policies that serve everyone.”

Normally the phrase “phoning it in” refers to someone doing the bare minimum to get the job done. But Farm Bureau members taking part in MFB’s Dec. 2 Annual Meeting didn’t get that memo, and didn’t let the challenges of a remote format get in the way

Way back in February, the 2020 Voice of Agriculture Conference was the last time members got to enjoy personal contact and tours of Michigan ag facilities — in this case Thiesen Greenhouse in St. Clair County.

In a Dec. 11 message to county Farm Bureau leaders, MFB President Carl Bednarski broke the bad — but not wholly surprising — news that the organization’s winter 2021 core programs will be canceled to safeguard the health and well-being of members and staff alike.

“For months we’ve been holding our breath and hoping for a change in the state’s health situation and restrictions,” Bednarski said. “After soliciting feedback from state committees, county presidents and staff, the MFB board of directors has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2021 Growing TogetherLansing Legislative Seminar and Presidents Capitol Summit.”

Note that those three named events actually represent five: Growing Together is a combination of the Young Farmer Leaders and Voice of Agriculture conferences. And the Presidents’ Capitol Summit brings together the Council of Presidents’ Conference and Washington Legislative Seminar.

That clears the slate of the organization’s usual wintertime “meeting season,” the normally predictable sequence of events and conferences that gathers a head of steam with county Farm Bureau annual meetings then kicks off after Thanksgiving with the State Annual Meeting.

Clearing the slate of the wintertime “meeting season” rests on a lot of solid reasoning:

  • Meeting-size limitations from both the state(s) and the privately-owned hotels and conference centers would have shrunk any of the core program events to a fraction of their normal size. Limited venue capacities make tours and breakout sessions functionally impossible.
  • State and federal legislators’ offices are closed and most won’t attend large gatherings.
  • Advanced notice is required to avoid cancellation penalties from venues hosting events. Canceling those events early also means more time to plan alternatives.

State-level leaders are conferring with staff and county Farm Bureau presidents to find alternative means of working toward core program objectives through county, district or regional events or programming. Among those goals:

  • Provide resources, training and leadership development for county Membership, Promotion and Education and Young Farmer chairs
  • Offer leadership development for county leaders and boards
  • Enhance member relationship building with state and federal officials
  • Host Young Farmer district discussion meets
  • Conduct Policy Development discussions
  • Promote collaboration amongst counties and districts

Delegates were surveyed at their district meetings in November; their responses will help district directors, county presidents, state committee members and regional managers plan alternative programming for 2021.

County Farm Bureaus contribute to a core program fund according to their membership, partially underwriting the cost of those statewide programs and enabling counties to send an allocated number of attendees to each event.

“These resources will be redirected as determined by district directors, county presidents and state committee members,” Bednarski said.

“We appreciate your grace and patience as we make decisions in the best interest of our members’ and organization’s health and safety. Stay tuned for alternate programming announcements and opportunities in January!”

In a Dec. 11 message to county Farm Bureau leaders, MFB President Carl Bednarski broke the bad — but not wholly surprising — news that the organization’s winter 2021 core programs will be canceled to safeguard the health and well-being of members and

Coming Events

DateEvents
There are no records.