This winter Farm Gate introduces you to the new members of the state Young Farmer and Promotion & Education committees — in their own words.
By Abby (Carpenter) Vittore
Hello Michigan Farm Bureau! I am thrilled to be joining the state Young Farmer Committee representing District 2.
My involvement in Farm Bureau started at a young age when I would tag along to events with my parents, who have been active members for over 30 years. It was only natural for me to start paving my own path in the organization during my time at Michigan State University (Go Green!) where I graduated with a bachelor of science in agribusiness management with a minor in agronomy in 2016.
Michigan State gave me the opportunity to get involved with Collegiate Farm Bureau for four years, three of which I spent on the executive board and had the privilege of representing Michigan in the 2013 Collegiate Farm Bureau National Discussion Meet.
Upon returning home to Lenawee County after graduation I jumped into county activities and was elected to the county board of directors in 2018. For the last two years I have served as our county Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer chair and recently transitioned into the role of vice president for 2021.
I grew up on my family’s farm near Adrian with my parents Matt and Kelly and my brother Jake. Our home farm has been in the family for over 100 years; my brother and I are the fifth generation to live and work there.
Our roots in row crops and cattle have remained steady for generations. We currently farm around 900 acres and have a small cow/calf operation. In 2008 we started to diversify our efforts, jumping into the world of agritourism.
What started as a roadside stand selling pumpkins off our half-acre patch has exploded into a fun fall family adventure that attracts over 50,000 visitors every September and October. We now grow 35 acres of pumpkins that are all sold retail at our home farm. There’s also a corn maze, wagon rides, petting zoo and other educational activities for our community to enjoy.
In 2016 we took another leap of faith, purchasing a local greenhouse business and moving the facility to our farm. We have just shy of one acre under roof and are open for retail flower sales in the spring. I’m currently working toward being the majority owner of the greenhouse business in the next few years, while still being involved in all aspects of our operation.
Off the farm I work full-time as a crop insurance agent for River Farms Crop Insurance Agency, Inc. in Blissfield, serving customers in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.
After eight years of dating I finally married my “Prince Farming,” Ben, in August of 2020. Having a wedding in the middle of a global pandemic was in neither of our hopes or dreams, but we made the best of the situation and had a beautiful day celebrating at my family’s farm. We now live across the road from his family’s fresh-cut flower farm, where we lend a helping hand with farmers markets and flower deliveries, outside of Britton on the Lenawee/Monroe county line. We share our home with our two handsome fur kids, Moses the Mini Australian Shepherd and Petey the Parson Russell Terrier.
I am incredibly excited to see what the next two years have in store as I take on this new role on the state Young Farmer committee. 2020 has certainly thrown us all for a loop and caused us to miss out on many activities we normally get to celebrate together. However it has also brought us together in ways we never thought possible.
I look forward to working together on creative solutions to bring back our “normal” in the coming years, but in new and improved ways that allow all members, near and far, to have access to all the programming Farm Bureau has to offer.