A pair of concise histories of Michigan Farm Bureau are now available at MFB100.COM.
Alongside a small selection of other previously written history booklets we’ve come across in recent years, visitors can now flip through and download copies of The Farm Bureau in Michigan and Michigan Farm Bureau History in a Nutshell.
Written by Einar E. Ungren, The Farm Bureau in Michigan dates from 1937, when the organization was only 18 years old. Ungren established the Farm Bureau News in 1923 and went on to edit 695 issues of the organization’s flagship publication before retiring in 1961.
Ungren’s “short history and description of the Michigan State Farm Bureau” turned up last winter in the digital archives of Michigan State University, courtesy of Suzanne Teghtmeyer, MSU’s Agriculture, AFRE, Botany, Forestry & Horticulture Librarian.
Like many of MFB’s founding fathers, Ungren was a graduate of what was then known as Michigan Agricultural College (now MSU). He started the Farm News in 1923 and soon found himself leading the young organization’s publicity and accounting departments.
In 1932 Clark Brody promoted Ungren to lead the Information Department, which would encompass the Farm News; Public and Media Relations; Research and Education and Printing and Mailing departments.
Click here to see Ungren's The Farm Bureau in Michigan.
Several copies of Michigan Farm Bureau History in a Nutshell (1966) have turned up over the past few years as the state organization and several county Farm Bureaus have dug into their attics, basements, shops and storage rooms in search of historical material. It was penned by Don Kinsey, who directed MFB’s Education and Research department from 1947 to 1967.
A former farmer and college psychology teacher, Kinsey also churned out monthly discussion topics for Community Groups, feature articles for Michigan Farm News and numerous articles promoting the American way of life, for which he won a Gold Medal Award from the Freedom Foundation.
In her exhaustive 1994 history of the organization, Donna Wilbur wrote about Kinsey:
“Kinsey was considered Farm Bureau’s ‘counselor,’ the person to whom everyone turned when they needed to know the facts about something—Farm Bureau philosophy, history, human behavior challenges, economics, statistics—whatever the topic. Kinsey seemed to have the answer or knew where to find it.”
He even earned the esteem of legendary MFB leader Elton R. Smith, the organization’s longest-serving president (1964-1986). In Wilbur’s book she attributes the following praise to Smith:
“I feel very fortunate to have had Don Kinsey for a teacher. He was one of the greatest Farm Bureau teachers there ever was. You can still use some of Don’s quotes and sayings today (40 years later) and they’re just as pertinent as the day they were written. He was just solid as a rock!”
Click here to see Kinsey's Michigan Farm Bureau History in a Nutshell.