COLDWATER — Branch County primed the pumps of its local ag history celebration next year with a story-sharing session during its annual meeting Sept. 17. More than half a dozen members spun yarns from yesteryear, passing a microphone to share recollections about their reigns as Farm Bureau Queens, the dark days of the PBB crisis, being elected to the county board and acclimating to life on the farm after marrying into the world of agriculture.
Mike Pridgeon met Diane Smith—now his spouse of 50 years—at a Branch County Farm Bureau annual meeting.
History Team member Ken Norton shared some interesting finds from Branch County Farm Bureau meeting minutes dating from between the World Wars, including a 1940 membership goal of 150 members and a detailed discussion of establishing community groups:
“They discussed setting up community groups in 1938 and what the structure of community groups should be, and suggested that they meet at a regular time each month, and there be a firm time to end the meeting … and putting a third of their time to recreation, a third of their time to discussion and a third of their time to local news.”
Mike Pridgeon, also a member of Branch County’s Local History Team and a former at-large director on the MFB board, shared a more personal anecdote about the county annual meeting where “I got to meet the county president’s daughter, Diane Smith.
“And this year in December we’ll be married 50 years,” Pridgeon said, sparking a loud round of applause from the room.
“It’s been a great organization to be involved with throughout the years,” he continued. “We’ve been married 50 years—that’s half the life of the Farm Bureau. It’s an outstanding organization to have lasted 100 years, so I’m just proud to be a part of it.”
Drop a line to Farm Gate and share your Local History Team activities. Consult the Local History Team Took Kit & Resource Guide for project ideas and guidance. For help getting your team organized, contact Jeremy C. Nagel (517-323-6585) at the MFB home office.