Michigan Farm Bureau recently announced its two Champions of Excellence Award winners for 2020.
Champions of Excellence Awards acknowledge county Farm Bureaus for their innovative efforts in advocating for agriculture and actively engaging members in programming.
MFB’s 2020 Champions of Excellence Award for advocacy went to the Washtenaw County Farm Bureau.
When COVID-19 forced the cancellation of its 30th annual Project RED (Rural Education Days), Washtenaw’s Promotion & Education committee explored options for connecting with students virtually. They developed a plan utilizing social media to engage with their targeted third-grade audience and their families and community members.
In typical Project RED style, presenters such as local 4-H and FFA members hosted presentations on topics ranging from animal husbandry to farm equipment — only this year in the form of pre-recorded on-farm videos.
Virtual engagement also included commodity infographics, virtual STEM experiments and a scavenger hunt.
In a typical year Washtenaw’s Project RED hosts 2,000 students, teachers and chaperones. Statistics show that this year more than 26,000 Facebook users were reached and more than 11,000 people engaged with the virtual Project RED posts.
While its virtual version can never replace the traditional three-day “live” event, the 2020 RED nonetheless provided a fun and informative experience to a larger audience than ever before.
MFB’s 2020 Champions of Excellence Award for involvement went to the Osceola County Farm Bureau.
Prior to pandemic stay-at-home orders, the Osceola County Farm Bureau involved up to a third of their regular membership in events like their recent centennial celebration. Hundreds of members — including many new ones — attended for a presentation on Farm Bureau history, drinks from a local winery and a live band.
In November of 2019 they held a successful Farmersgiving event, collecting canned good for Harvest for All and giving members the opportunity to learn about gun safety from local experts and sight their rifles for the upcoming hunting season.
Osceola also saw record involvement among their Young Farmers, with more than 80% of 18- to 35-year-olds attending MFB’s Young Farmer Leaders Conference, Young Farmer Rolling Skating Night and the regional Young Farmer campout events.