The “hybrid-virtual” format of this year’s Michigan Farm Bureau Annual Meeting marks the event’s biggest makeover since it outgrew and left the Michigan State University campus in 1970. Wrinkles are still being ironed, but what’s coming slowly into focus are the promising opportunities for refreshed member involvement at the county and regional level.
That grassroots activity is at the heart of the monthlong agenda, and there’s a lot to accomplish between the Nov. 4 kickoff and Dec. 2 business sessions.
District-level meetings Nov. 9-19 will offer a new kind of delegate experience for those chosen to represent their county Farm Bureaus. Delegate registration will be open Oct. 12-23; substitution deadlines will be forthcoming.
Delegates should be prepared to review the resolutions booklet online beginning Nov. 1; printed copies will be available at district meetings. Reviews should prioritize looking for possible amendments and potential omissions. Members will be encouraged to address either; procedures for doing so will be forthcoming.
“What we anticipate is something like what our old open-policy sessions used to look like,” said Deb Schmucker, director of MFB’s field operations division. “Delegates will need at least a smartphone or a tablet to vote.”
Staffers from MFB’s public policy and commodity division will attend each district meeting to help facilitate those conversations.
Even-numbered districts will also have to squeeze elections onto their agendas.
See below for a complete list of district meeting times, dates and locations.
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Prior to all that, the Nov. 4 kickoff session will take place entirely online and therefore viewable by all members with high-speed internet. MFB President Carl Bednarski will launch the monthlong process with his annual address, which will include announcements of the 2020 Volunteer of the Year and Distinguished Service to Agriculture winners.
That agenda will also include reports from CEOs Scott Piggott and Don Simon, Treasurer David Baker, representatives of the rules and credentials committees, and approval of last year’s annual meeting minutes.
The Dec. 2 business and policy session will take place in person or virtually by district, based on COVID phase restrictions; they’re also listed below.
All 12 districts will join as satellites around a hub composed of MFB leadership and the state Policy Development committee to manage the proceedings:
Look for more details as they develop in Farm Gate and all your usual Farm Bureau communications channels.