This year’s schedule of district-level Shop Talk meetings is filling up, with policy and issue discussions scheduled throughout the summer. Shop Talks are informal conversations about current agricultural issues and a way to jump-start your county Farm Bureau’s summertime policy development activity.
District 5 was first out of the gates, meeting May 11 at the MFB Home Office. In attendance was Laura Braun, chair of Clinton County Farm Bureau’s PD committee this year.
“Members are welcome to attend Shop Talk meetings whether they’re on their county Farm Bureau’s Policy Development Committee or not,” Braun said. “The organization relies on members to drive the policies that will guide it throughout the coming year. If only a few members join these early conversations, we’re limited to only a few ideas.
“If we don't hear from you, we might not know what issues you're concerned about and miss the opportunity to address them.
“As a county PD chair, I can say we really value members’ input,” Braun added. “Only a few of us sit on the PD committee and sometimes we struggle to get the process started. Input from members gives us direction and lets us know what their concerns are so we can create policy ideas to send up to the state committee for consideration.”
The Dist. 9 Shop Talk is also in the books. Members from the Benzie-Manistee, Mason, Missaukee, Northwest Michigan and Wexford County Farm Bureaus came together June 3 at Harrietta Hills Trout Farm, home to Wexford leaders Jim and Dan Vogler.
Here’s a breakdown of the session yet to come:
To kickstart this year's policy season, Dist. 1 Director Brigette Leach will host a leadership dinner July 27 for the presidents and policy development chairs of the Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren County Farm Bureaus.
For information contact MFB Dist. 1 Regional Manager Sarah Pion.
On July 21 at Hillsdale College, members attending the Energy & Carbon Markets Conference from the Branch, Calhoun, Hillsdale, Jackson and Lenawee County Farm Bureaus will also identify policy development issues. Lending a hand where necessary will be guest MFB staffers Tess VanGorder and Matt Kapp.
For information contact MFB Dist. 2 Regional Manager Kim Kerr.
Munsell Farms (6400 Mason Road, Fowlerville) will host a family-friendly Summerfest 5-6 p.m. June 19, welcoming members from Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne County Farm Bureaus.
MFB Horticulture Specialist Audrey Sebolt and Ag Ecology Manager Laura Campbell will be present to contribute their knowledge of current issues.
For information contact MFB Dist. 3 Regional Manager Hannah Meyers.
The Dist. 4 Shop Talk will take place virtually June 29 for Farm Bureau members in Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent and Ottawa counties. More details are forthcoming.
For information contact MFB Dist. 4 Regional Manager Lori Schrauben.
Members in the Thumb — Huron, Lapeer, Sanilac, St. Clair and Tuscola counties — will be encouraged to meet virtually in the evening of June 29 for the Dist. 6 Shop Talk meeting. From MFB Laura Campbell and Rebecca Park will be in attendance.
For information contact MFB Dist. 6 Regional Manager Beth Rupprecht.
Two Hats Ranch (16665 12 Mile Road, Big Rapids) will host the Dist. 7 Shop Talk session Sept. 8. Registration starts at 8 a.m. for the session, kicking off a daylong core program event for members in Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana and Osceola counties. MFB Horticulture Specialist Audrey Sebolt will be in attendance.
For information contact MFB Dist. 7 Regional Manager Bridget Moore.
Carbon credits, MAEAP, the next farm bill, infrastructure and rural broadband are expected to feature in the discussion starting a 7 p.m. June 24 at Todd Beougher and Tricia McDonald's farm shop, 88 N. County Line Road near Wheeler. Farm Bureau members from Bay, Gratiot, Isabella, Midland and Saginaw counties are encouraged to attend, joining guest MFB staffers Tess VanGorder and Matt Kapp.
For information contact MFB Dist. 8 Regional Manager Becca Gulliver.
On July 13 members from across Dist. 10 are invited to breakfast for the Dist. 10 Shop Talk meeting, 9-11 a.m. at the Logan Township Hall (4507 East M-55, Prescott) to discuss issues with MFB Livestock Specialist Ernie Birchmeier and Ag Ecology Manager Laura Campbell.
For information contact MFB Dist. 10 Regional Manager Sonya Novotny.
Members from Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet, Otsego and Presque Isle counties are encouraged to attend the Dist. 11 Shop Talk session at 6:30 p.m.. June 30 at the Tuscarora Township Hall, 3456 S. Straits Highway in Indian River. MFB Legislative Counsel Andrew Vermeesch will be in attendance.
For information contact MFB Dist. 11 Regional Manager Cole Iaquinto.
The Island Resort and Conference Center (W 399 US-2, Harris) hosts the Upper Peninsula’s Shop Talk gathering Aug. 31, in conjunction with the Dist. 12 Young Farmer Discussion Meet at the same location.
For information contact MFB Dist. 12 Regional Manager Craig Knudson.