Benton Harbor-Fifty local farmers gathered on October 30th for the Berrien County Farm Bureau’s 2023 Annual Meeting to conduct the business of the organization including the election of Directors to the Board. Thirty-one guests were also present at the breakfast meeting held at Lake Michigan Gardens.
Elected to a three-year term on the board were Sherman Reed, of Eau Claire, Abby Schilling of St. Joseph, and Jason Wire of Berrien Springs. Reed will serve his second term on the board, while Schilling and Wire will fill the seats of retiring directors Andy Barbott of Stevensville, and Mike Gillette of Niles.
Retiring Director Andy Barbott was recognized for his twenty-four years of service on the Berrien County Farm Bureau Board of Directors, holding positions over the years of Vice President, Young Farmer Chairman, Policy Development Chair, and Finance and Investment committee member. Berrien County Farm Bureau President Edward Kretchman noted Andy’s decades of dedicated service saying “Andy has always been our “numbers guy” and has served as a true leader when it comes to the budget, county Farm Bureau finances and investments and exploring new project ideas for our organization.”
Senator Aric Nesbitt presented Andy with a Tribute from the State of Michigan honoring his dedicated service to agriculture and the people of the State of Michigan.
Numerous elected officials from townships, county, state, and federal levels attended the meeting. State Representatives Joey Andrews and Brad Paquette, Senators Jonathan Lindsey and Aric Nesbitt, and Congressmen Bill Huizenga and Tim Walberg were introduced and given an opportunity to share news from our state and national capitals as well as answer questions from the audience.
Berrien County Farm Bureau President Ed Kretchman presents the Friend of Farm Bureau award to U.S. Representative Tim Walberg and U.S. Representative Bill Huizenga
Congressman Huizenga and Congressman Walberg were recognized for their work on behalf of agriculture and Farm Bureau. Both congressmen received the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Friend of Farm Bureau award this past year for their work in supporting Farm Bureau’s policy during the 117th Congress. President Edward Kretchman presented Congressman Huizenga a plaque noting his 6th time earning the Friend of Farm Bureau award. Congressman Walberg was also presented a plaque for his 7th time as a Friend of Farm Bureau.
Michigan Farm Bureau District 1 Director Brigette Leach closed the meeting by recognizing President Kretchman for his dedicated service in leading Berrien County to the district Champions of Excellence award for member involvement. Also recognized were Farm Bureau Key Club agents Marty Rudlaff and Dalton Stanage, and volunteer membership writers Tera Baker, Kari Molter and Lisa Kuntz.
Berrien County Farm Bureau is a grassroots, membership organization dedicated to supporting the local farmers and the agriculture industry.