By Jeremy C. Nagel
It’s always nice to know folks are reading.
Emmet County Farm Bureau member Maria Ginop sent us this pair of photos in response to our subtle request for photos of “real, working gates on your farm.”
By day she and her husband Rich are the heart of Ginop Plumbing & Heating, but outside serving their customers they’re home tending a rotating population of livestock animals on a pretty piece of land outside Petoskey.
“We’ve had various animals over the years,” Maria said, with the current menagerie including horses, chickens, a goat, one dog and several “friendly barn cats.”
“It just brings joy to people when they come out to the farm,” she said. “It’s a great introduction and a great reminder of our farming past here and across the country.”
Both have agriculture in their backgrounds. Rich’s family operates a popular regional equipment dealer and Maria grew up on a small family farm. Even so they’re relative newcomers to the Farm Bureau family.
“First we just had Farm Bureau Insurance — we didn’t know there were two sides to the organization. Then when we met Ben Blaho and Bill McMaster and learned more about their involvement on the farm side, that made a huge difference.
“Just their introduction to the whole thing was exciting,” Maria said in an upbeat tone that sings her enthusiasm. “It’s so grassroots and all the events are just spectacular.”
Rich’s interest in politics led McMaster to suggest they might be interested in MFB’s Washington Legislative Seminar — that was a ‘yes’ — but attending their first Emmet County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting is what sealed the deal.
“We attended the county annual and just got super excited,” Maria recalls. She and Rich joined and have been enthusiastically involved in several program areas ever since.
Maria leads Emmet County’s Promotion & Education efforts and served on the Local History Team. Rich graduated from MFB’s inaugural Academy for Political Leadership. Both serve on the county board of directors and have been delegates at MFB’s annual meeting, carrying the concerns and priorities of Emmet County farmers to the state level.
Of their six children, daughters Maranda and Mariah took the most interest in the farm. Both girls were active in 4-H and so played complementary roles in maintaining the family herd.
“Maranda loved learning about horsemanship and training,” Maria said, leading trail rides and providing lessons.
Maranda also took the lead with the goats, milking them and learning to make soap while her sister Mariah focused on raising llamas for fiber projects.
“One Christmas she made hats for her cousins using the fiber from the llamas, rabbits and sheep we had at the time.”
BE NEXT! Send a photo of a working gate on your farm to [email protected].