Last month the final batch of Local History Team grants were disbursed to eight county Farm Bureaus across the state. Here’s what those counties have planned—including some projects already well on their way to completion.
The history of local agriculture will be the theme of St. Joseph County’s 2019 annual meeting, to be held in conjunction with neighboring Kalamazoo county. Central to St. Jo’s Local History Team’s efforts will be a photo exhibit of members past and present, augmented with names and dates.
Printed pamphlets and banners will extend the theme to the subsequent county fair, plus a video illustrating the history of local farming and Farm Bureau over the past century. Legacy members from across the county are supplying photos, documents, artifacts and their own personal memories toward the project.
The Team’s goal is to use history to bring greater understanding of agriculture to non-farmers. Members are committed to creating an eye-catching booth to draw people in and encourage them to explore what local agriculture—and Farm Bureau—has been in the past and continues to be today.
Last month Cass County started sharing historical materials with local libraries and launched a media campaign, contributing letters to the editor and articles about the Farm Bureau centennial to all local media outlets.
They’ve presented a resolution to the Cass County Board of Commissioners; printed a booklet listing the county’s centennial farms; and hosted a farm tour that culminated with a dinner honoring Cass’ longest-tenured Farm Bureau members.
They’re also working with the Cass County Historical Commission to gather interesting information about the history of local agriculture.
Members in Isabella County this year celebrate 75 years of their Farm Bureau with a history book to be made available to members and gifted to local libraries. The county’s Young Farmer and P&E programs are also installing displays of historical items gathered from members’ personal collections in local libraries for sharing with the general public.
The Isabella County Fair will include an ice cream social, featuring MFB’s custom centennial flavor hand-dipped by the county’s Farm Bureau Insurance Agents as past and present board members mingle with visitors. Accurate agriculture posters will adorn the social, with members stationed near their favorite commodity to share their insights about farming practices, past and present.
At the Isabella County Fair, the Local History Team will install their history exhibit alongside the fair’s own, distribute centennial goodie bags (including membership information!) and raffle off a pair of Michigan-made baskets.
Past and present Isabella County members will share their stories and recollections of local agriculture through the years. Everyone will be encouraged to bring photos of their farm and equipment once used to start conversations with non-farm friends.
Isabella also plans to leverage its good relations with the local newspaper, inviting the editor to attend the fairground celebration, meet with farmers and promote the library exhibits.
Way Up North, the Presque Isle County Farm Bureau is honoring its long legacy of local leadership with a half-page ad in the local newspaper that lists all its previous county presidents and their terms served since its formation in May 1946.
A poster-sized copy of the ad will also be proudly displayed at the county annual meeting, where all living past presidents and their spouses will be invited and recognized.
Members driving tractors dating from every decade of the past century were a highlight of the Independence Day parade in North Branch. Lapeer County regular members celebrated afterwards with a picnic at Howell Farms Cabin.
During the Lapeer Days festival, more tractors took part—and a float—before the county Farm Bureau office hosted a picnic for associate members.
Past county Farm Bureau presidents will be guests of honor in both parades.
Midland County’s Local History Team's efforts are centered on the county annual meeting, where attendees will enjoy a display of local agricultural history, scoops of MFB Centennial ice cream, and sing-along tunes from old Farm Bureau song books.
Local 4-H and FFA youth and their families are all invited to the county annual celebration, where organizers aim to drive home the long-lasting impact and enduring significance of a sturdy agriculture organization. Local media and elected officials are also on the list of invitees.
Shiawassee’s Local History Team focused on the recent county fair, beginning with a display of historical photos culled from members’ personal collections and illustrating the history of local agriculture.
Its county annual meeting next month will feature a similar display, plus a formal presentation and giveaway items for attendees.
On both occasions, Shiawassee’s own members are at the reins, taking shifts to staff the fair booth and giving the history presentation at the county annual.
A media campaign is also part of the plan, with the aim of reaching as many community members as possible with a message communicating the accomplishments of the county Farm Bureau.
Berrien’s History Team is sorting through memorabilia to create a display at the county fair. On tap at the county annual in November will be several tubs of the MFB Centennial chocolate-covered cherry ice cream.
The Berrien County fair draws multiple generations of fair-goers every year, as well as exhibitors from all walks of life. As one of the largest youth fairs in the Midwest, planners expect thousands of visitors with whom to share the many objects, photographs and stories they’ve collected that showcase Berrien County’s agricultural community over the past 100 years.