District policy meetings got underway Nov. 9 as county Farm Bureau delegates statewide met for regional discussions about new and amended policy recommendations on the docket for Michigan Farm Bureau’s hybrid-virtual 2020 State Annual Meeting, Dec. 2. Regional meetings took place in 10 out of 12 Farm Bureau districts across both peninsulas.
In the northeastern Lower Peninsula, District 10 was first out of the gates, meeting in the morning of Nov. 9.
“Leona Daniels was reelected district director and we had good discussion,” reports Northeastern Regional Manager Sonya Novotny. “I believe we’ll have some amendments come through from our district and they are working on those before the November deadline.
“Eldon Barclay, our state PD representative, did a wonderful job presenting policy and leading the policy discussion.”
In the opposite corner of the Lower Peninsula, District 1 met that same evening with 50 members gathered for food, fellowship, recognition and policy discussion.
“The event went very well,” reported Southwest Regional Manager Sarah Pion. “State Farm Bureau leaders Brigette Leach, Julie Stephenson and Mitch Kline all did a great job at presenting our county members with their awards and recognition.”
On the recognition agenda were MFB Educator of the Year Steve Rigoni and state Young Farmer Employee Award winner Tera Baker, as well as State Young Farmer Award finalists Riley Brazo and Andy Heinitz.
“State Policy Development Committee members Cliff Lipscomb and Melissa Morlock were very effective at presenting this year’s proposed policy resolutions and walking through the issue ideas with our delegates and facilitating the policy discussion.”
Delegates in the southwest discussed the ongoing meat processing and packing issue, as well as bovine tuberculosis and state road funding.
District 5 delegates met in Owosso Nov. 10.
“It was nice to get out of the house, see other Farm Bureau members and talk about current issues, said Ingham County member Don Vickers.
Central Regional Manager Hannah Lange said District 5 delegates also welcomed a special guest, MFB President Carl Bednarski, who dropped in to share his thoughts on the importance of continuing business through a crisis.
District 3 met in Howell Nov. 11 to start working through its policy agenda and recognize state-level Young Farmer Ag Leader Award winner, Washtenaw County member Katelyn Packard.
Delegates from across the southeast confabbed on a wide range of policy matters: utility wire placement, urban and legislative outreach, the Michigan Ag Council Ag Ambassador program, mandatory vaccinations and the tax implications for pandemic-forced home-schooling.
Farm Bureau members from across District 7 convened Nov. 11 in Reed City.
“We have a great group of both new and experienced members,” said West-Central Regional Manager Bridget Moore. “Everyone had great attitudes and were excited to still be able to come together and focus on policy.
“The motto of the night was ‘making lemonade out of lemons.’ Our members did a great job of that and are looking forward to live discussion on Dec 2.”
Northwestern Regional Manager Nicole Jennings reports District 9’s Nov. 11 meeting in Cadillac saw exceptional engagement from several first-time delegates just getting their policy-development sea legs.
“For our first-timers, much of this process was very new,” Jennings said, “but our state-annual veterans stepped into their leadership roles to help the newer attendees understand and take part in this process.
“Even as we faced the challenges of 2020, member involvement in the policy development process has remained strong. Thorough discussion led by the members and for the members, as it has been and should be.”
Farm Bureau members also met last week in Districts 6, 8, 11 and 12. Regional meetings wrap up Nov. 19, with sessions that day in Districts 2 and 4.