Bureau wants to increase the number of farmers serving in government 20% by
2022. This is part of a series of articles aimed at informing Farm Bureau
members about elected and appointed positions that offer opportunities for
representing agriculture in government.
Saginaw County Farm Bureau President Brian Frederick is also the Richland Township Supervisor.
A lifelong interest in government and politics will equip anyone with a good supply of quips and pithy zingers. One of Brian Frederick’s favorites goes like this:
“Who is this government that you speak of? It’s you. Now do your duty and be involved.”
More than anything, the county Farm Bureau president is passionate about making his community — Richland Township in northwestern Saginaw County — a better place. So he knew he had to get involved.
Step one was serving on the Richland Township Board of Trustees. That was soon followed by leading that body as township supervisor.
This involves running monthly meetings, assigning committees, completing contracts, hiring employees and acting as a voice for the township’s residents. Those responsibilities can vary from one township to the next; some have managers who are assigned different projects and work closely with the supervisors.
Like anything, this role comes with its challenges.
“How big you make it is how you handle it,” Frederick said.
For him, hiring employees and doing contracts with employees are always challenging. Additionally, he explained that getting people’s approval on how to handle issues that come up and getting re-elected are always big wins!
In his time he’s been challenged with leading the township through several major projects related to drainage, roads, mileages and employees.
Before he could lead, though, Frederick first had to be elected. Running for office started with filing a petition loaded with signatures of supportive township voters.
Next came selling himself to his would-be constituents by talking with residents, putting up signs, attending events and generally being involved in the community.
“Be honest and always tell the truth, even if people don’t want to hear it,” he said. “If you always tell the truth you never have to remember what you said.”
Asked what previous experience prepared him for the position, his response spoke volumes: starting out small and listening.
“A good leader is a good listener,” Frederick said.
He also spent several years observing other good leaders and observing what made them effective, including former MFB President Wayne Wood.
“Farm Bureau has been a great learning experience.”
Rebecca L. Gulliver is MFB’s regional manager in the Saginaw Valley.
Local government positions examined in this series (and more