By Katie Horling
Sometimes those who grow up in agriculture try to leave, but they are always drawn back to what they love.
Allan Robinette was the only member of his high school graduating class with a direct tie to agriculture, but wasn’t particularly interested in continuing down that path. Part of the fifth generation at Robinette Apple Haus & Winery, his aim was to leave the farm behind and pursue architecture.
But not only did Allan find himself right back on the centennial farm he’d worked since age 10, he’s grown into being one of its most ardent partisans. Conversing in the operation’s bustling bakery, his passion for the history of Robinette’s—and for future generations—was evident.
The first generation of Robinette farmers began with peaches, cows and chickens northeast of Grand Rapids. In the 108 years since, Robinette Apple Haus & Winery has expanded to include apples, peaches, apricots, various cherries, plums and pears. And a bakery. And wine tasting. And a corn maze in the fall.
Allan credits his Farm Bureau membership for helping him forge connections that have helped him grow as a professional. He joined the organization in 2013, attended MFB’s state annual meeting and took part in its elite leadership academy, ProFILE. The 15-month program’s focus on leadership and professional development was a good fit for his interests and helped foster his interest in policy development—an interest further satisfied as a state annual meeting delegate.
“Getting policy voted on and into the book” has so far been one of his favorite Farm Bureau experiences, particularly those policies related to energy production.
The once-aspiring architect is now hoping to raise his children on the farm he once sought to escape, and has a confident response to questions about his life goals, updated since high school: “Farm until I die.”
Katie Horling was part of Michigan Farm Bureau’s inaugural Rotational Intern program this summer. The Coopersville native is in her senior year at Kansas State University, studying animal science and agribusiness.