Merisa Campbell reluctantly admits that she didn’t seriously consider the ramifications of her future husband’s membership in Farm Bureau before she agreed to marry him.In certain social settings, she might comically hang her head in shame over that obvious oversight, but she’ll also admit that Linc Campbell’s Farm Bureau membership was a perk, unveiled some time after they found love at first sight.
“I tell my friends that I married into his membership,” Merisa jokes. “We recently took a trip to Virginia, and we saved $27 on our hotel room on the way down and $34 on the way back. So our $45 annual membership dues has already paid for itself.”It’s not that the couple pinches pennies all the time. But in today’s economy and with three kids in tow, Farm Bureau membership allows them to show the youngsters around America and still conduct a little business.
The Campbell’s family Farm Bureau membership has been good for business. Linc has made connections that allow him to broker his farm’s specialty — timothy hay for horse markets in Florida and South Carolina — from other growers when his own supply can’t meet demand. Besides that, a businessman needs to keep up with issues in the business.“Meeting with other farmers from around the country is very productive,” Merisa said. “It helps us realize that even though their state regulations might be different or they might farm a little bit differently from us, our problems and joys are basically the same. Farmers do what they do for the same reasons, no matter where they’re from. We all just want to provide goods and services to other people, and we do it for the love of what we do. That’s affirming. It’s nice to meet with people who have the same struggles we do and the same rewards. It allows us to see solutions to our struggles that we might not have seen before.”
Such affirmations and dedication have kept the Campbells involved in Michigan Farm Bureau. Linc has served both on the Otsego County board as president and on the state Young Farmer committee. He’s served on the farm bill and the county finance committees. Merisa has been the county Promotion and Education chair and on the state Promotion and Education committee. And aside from the social and business aspects of belonging, there have been cash savings besides hotel rooms.
“We have our Blue Cross insurance through the Farm Bureau group, and without being in that group, our costs for health insurance would be unbelievable,” Merisa said. “We pay about $300 a month, and without that group, it would be more like $700 to $800.”
Not only that, but membership keeps the Johannesburg farmers informed about issues, policies and regulations. Knowledge convinced the Campbells to become verified in the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program, and has solidified Merisa’s dedication to keeping up on educational and promotional issues for their farm and the industry as a whole.Last but not least, Merisa said, Michigan Farm Bureau does things right.
“We’ve been to a lot of events, even to the American Farm Bureau annual meetings, and I don’t think anybody can beat Michigan’s annual meeting,” she said. “There is no better organization for farmers. And even for non-farmers, membership gives them access to clarity about food issues.”There’s one other perk the Campbells didn’t expect. Sometimes, membership brings added value to a marriage and a family.