For young people, Farm Bureau involvement often begins at the Collegiate level, and having a relationship with the local county Farm Bureau can be beneficial for both the Collegiate chapter and the county organization.
Montcalm Community College’s Collegiate Farm Bureau chapter has forged close relations with the Montcalm County Farm Bureau. Advisor Brian Gardner recently shared that they hosted a regional Collegiate-level discussion meet.
“When it came time to set up a discussion meet for our region, MFB Regional Manager Bridget Silvernail encouraged Beth Wernette, who had competed in the Young Farmer Discussion Meet, to visit and prepare our students to participate.
“They left with a better understanding of being part of something very special and I expect they will be back to participate in the future,” Gardner said.
Chapter alum Grace Bayer now chairs Montcalm County Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer program.
“I expect more of our alumni will continue to be active in Farm Bureau in the future,” Gardner said.
“Involving more college-age people is especially important for the Montcalm County Farm Bureau,” said its president, Breann Bonga. “We feel it’s important to collaborate with the collegiate Farm Bureau to include those members.
“As they’ve gotten to see what Farm Bureau is about at a college level and participate in discussion meets, we want them to be aware of the opportunities available through our Young Farmer program.”
Montcalm’s Collegiate chapter has also been active collaborating with the county Farm Bureau’s Promotion & Education efforts.
Its members have staffed a booth at the county’s popular Halloween at the Farm event, giving out candy in exchange for a quick agriculture lesson. Similar outreach at Projects RED in both Montcalm and Gratiot counties helped the chapter hone its outreach game.
Being involved in multiple events together have strengthened the bond between Montcalm’s county and collegiate Farm Bureaus.
At the state level, Montcalm’s Collegiate Farm Bureau makes a name for itself as an exceptional contributor to Harvest for All, the annual statewide campaign in which county Farm Bureaus compete in fighting food insecurity through donations of surplus commodities, volunteer hours, cash and non-perishable food products.
Montcalm’s Collegiate chapter assembles and donates harvest food baskets for the campaign and works to secure matching grant funds from Farm Bureau Insurance’s Agent Charitable Fund — all to benefit their own classmates at Montcalm Community College.
“Many students sacrifice a lot to take classes here,” Gardner said. “Our collegiate Farm Bureau chapter filled 25 reusable shopping bags with locally sourced produce, recipes and most of what you’d need to complete those recipes.”
That investment back into their own community is an ethic Gardner instills in all his students.
“I’ve loved every event my chapter has worked in,” he said, noting that his individual students, the chapter as a whole and the greater community all benefit from the program.
Know a college student who’d benefit from Collegiate Farm Bureau involvement? Chapters are registered student organizations at each of MSU’s 13 Institute of Agricultural Technology partnership colleges, plus Jackson Community College, Michigan State University’s main campus and Saginaw Valley State University. Contact MFB High School & Collegiate Programs Specialist Katie Eisenberger for more information.