By Jenna Kingsley
MFB’s State Young Farmer Committee regained some normalcy June 20, with three-quarters of its members meeting in person — properly distanced — in Westphalia. They heard and discussed updates regarding the Agent Charitable Fund; Growing Together Conference; Young Farmer, Collegiate and high school Discussion Meets; member recruitment and virtual opportunities.
Overall the committee is excited about the activities and events on tap in the coming months. They meet again in September to recap discussion meet results and discuss updates on future events.
The Agent Charitable Fund raised more than $187,000 for the Million Meals Challenge in April, donating 1.1 million meals to all 83 counties through seven regional food banks. They were also able to grant $25,000 to community groups statewide to help children in need of food assistance.
The 2021 Growing Together Conference is scheduled for Feb. 19-21 at Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids, featuring tours, breakouts, workshop sessions and entertainment. A live auction will benefit the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture and Harvest for All, benefiting both the Young Farmer and Promotion & Education programs. Attendees can also choose to take part in the Take Root succession-planning seminar in lieu of a tour. Registration will be open Jan. 4-15. New this year, Collegiate Farm Bureau members should register through their county Farm Bureaus.
To encourage Young Farmer program involvement and recruitment, county Farm Bureaus are encouraged to survey the reports of youth recognized by the state 4-H and FFA programs — great potential recruits for your Young Farmer program!
MFB’s Hitching Post webinars have been a great resource for Collegiate Farm Bureau chapters and others to stay connected with agriculture while maintaining social distancing. The topics will align with Young Farmer and youth discussion meets.
Previous episodes have been posted to MFB’s YouTube site.
The Farmers After Hours webinar series is also underway, focusing on mental health resources, financial support and cost-reduction programs.
Finally, be sure to attend your county Farm Bureau’s annual meetings in the coming months to stay involved with current events and available opportunities, local program updates and state-level news.
Livingston County native Jenna Kingsley is interning this summer with MFB’s Center for Education and Leadership Development. She’s studying agriculture and life-science education at Iowa State University.