MARSHA WAINIO, IRON RANGE
Whether in-person or virtual, Farm Bureau meetings are always well organized and the staff is prepared to lead us through the agenda. I learn so much about the farming industry. Meeting and talking with other farmers and farm-related professionals kept us up to date with the latest trends and issues.
CHRIS CREUGER, TUSCOLA COUNTY
Annual meeting is a great place to have an open discussion to present the facts and let the delegates decide for themselves. But it’s important to have all sides represented, and when you see something on the screen that you feel doesn’t meet that criteria, it’s important that you speak up.
We’re a diverse organization that represents a lot of different commodities, and our needs and desires don’t always fall in line, but at the end of day we try and come up with policies that serve everyone.
MIKE MCKEOWN, BARRY COUNTY
Serving on the state committee has helped me develop leadership skills, learn more about how to get involved and make a difference, and helped me build lasting relationships with farmers across the state. I’ve gained a lot of respect for all that MFB is able to accomplish through its staff and engaged farmer members. I’ve gotten much more out of my service than value I’ve provided.
DIANE HANSON, HIAWATHALAND
I couldn’t do it without all the other volunteers who come help from all six of the U.P. Farm Bureaus. I look at it as setting an example: You don’t think about it, you just do things. More than anything, though, is that I can’t do it by myself. Everybody is doing their own little part and I get help from a lot of different people. That’s what Farm Bureau is — we have to have everybody helping.
JOHANNA HOPKINS, MECOSTA COUNTY
Farmers have stayed the course despite COVID, social distancing without changing our purpose. The pandemic has made everyone's life more challenging — may’ve bent us like a tree branch, but we’re not broken. Once we get through this we’ll still be a strong farmer organization — maybe stronger than before!
BREANN BONGA, MONTCALM COUNTY
I was a Farm Bureau member for many years before eventually being approached to help with its local Promotion & Education program.
Our goal with membership is just to get people involved. We’ve had a really good response to our safety event in previous years. It gets members involved and reinforces the value of that membership.
AMANDA SOLLMAN, SAGINAW COUNTY
It’s really important for Farm Bureau to speak with a unified voice when we speak with representatives and stakeholders. We’re an organization made of individuals with a wide range of opinions. It’s vital people go to the microphone and make their voice heard — bring those perspectives to the forefront for consideration.
KATELYN PACKARD, WASHTENAW COUNTY
Meeting other Young Farmers is a great opportunity. It’s nice to have your county’s local Young Farmers — you have that in common — but it’s different to meet the ones willing to take that next step in involvement. That’s a whole different group I wouldn’t have made a connection with otherwise.
JEFF VANDERWERFF, OTTAWA COUNTY
We don’t necessarily understand the challenges other producers see every day. We have to try to keep an open mind and seek to understand the perspective of our fellow growers.
Michigan is so diverse, not only agriculturally, but culturally as well, with varying political and cultural views. And when you have an organization like Farm Bureau that has as big a tent as it does, and which truly wants to represent all sectors, you have to be willing to speak up for your individual commodity and region.
ADAM DIETRICH, OTTAWA COUNTY
Four years ago I did not imagine how much I would value my time on the state Young Farmer committee, in the mix of some of our brightest and most engaged young members. The relationships fostered were the most valuable part of my experience.
JOE ANKLEY, LAPEER COUNTY
I’m excited to act a new goal to become more involved in Farm Bureau. On the state Young Farmer committee, I’m looking forward to helping evaluate programs offered to high school and college students as well as promoting the Young Farmer program. I’m a huge advocate for the programs already offered and have enjoyed competing in the discussion meet and the Young Farmer award program.
This year has been crazy, but I’m ready to tackle what the future holds with a new focus on the goals I’ve set. I’d encourage young Farm Bureau members to evaluate their goals and consider opportunities the Young Farmer program offers.