As policy development season builds a head of steam, we continue our look at the roster of rock stars populating this year’s state-level committee. In recent issues you’ve met Jeanine Igl, John Bowsky and Johanna Hopkins.
Here are two more, representing the Lower Peninsula’s fruitful west coast.
Married just five years, David Dreves and his wife Emily have already added daughter Caroline and son Joshua to the lineup.
David’s day job since 2016 has been in agronomy sales, working with fruit, potatoes, row crop and Christmas tree growers.
“I've gotten more interested in policy in the past two or three years. I like seeing the process on how its developed and moves forward,” he said. “I look forward to helping members’ ideas and concerns come to light and take shape.”
Beyond that, Dreves is understandably smitten with how well-crafted policy in the hands of a savvy advocate can translate into real-world change for the better.
“One example that really stands out to me was a couple years ago in the delegate session, heavy discussion was taking place on an issue and it was asked how the Farm Bureau political team felt about the issue,” he recalled. “It was mentioned on stage that this policy is ours—we can vote how we want, and they, the staff, would follow the members’ decision.”
Oceana County’s Kellie Fox is part of a growing family lording over more than 2,000 of prime fruit and vegetable ground, producing tart cherries, apples, pears, wine grapes and the region’s springtime calling card, asparagus.
The clan includes husband Todd Fox—no stranger to county and state Farm Bureau leadership—and their children Emelie and Noah. There are five generations altogether, including four successive waves of MSU graduates.
Kellie represents MFB’s Promotion & Education program on the committee. It’s a perspective she’s well suited to as manager of The Fox Barn Market & Winery, a successful retail market that puts her in direct contact with thousands of non-farming customers every season.
“Over the years I’ve become more and more interested in the ‘why’ of policy,” Fox said, adding that mastering the ‘how’ component is equally fulfilling: “Being able to get that information from experts, staff and legislators as a committee member and using it to help the organization in the best way possible.”
The remainder of this year’s state PD committee are as follows:
Young Farmer representatives are John Bowsky (Sanilac County) and Nate Clarke (Midland County).
At-large members are Craig Denny (Ionia County) and Tim Hood (Van Buren County). From the MFB Board of Directors are Andy Hagenow (Kent County), Mike DeRuiter (Oceana County) and Jeff Sandborn (Ionia County).