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County Farm Bureaus investing $50K+ to build community relationships

Local fairs are prime venues for community outreach activities, like the passport activities several county Farm Bureaus are planning for 2024.
Date Posted: October 30, 2023

The 2024 Connecting Communities Grant program has awarded 54 county Farm Bureaus $1,000 grants to host farm to consumer programming in the coming year. From locally sourced community dinners to harvest road safety campaigns to streaming TV advertisements to high school career exploration events, the applications highlight innovation and creativity in bridging the farm-to-table gap. 

Share the Road

Half a dozen county Farm Bureaus will encourage safe driving around large farm equipment during planting and harvest seasons. 

Campaigns will include press releases explaining how to safely travel roads around farm equipment and inviting reporters to farms to showcase the agricultural season. Yard signs will be placed along prominent roadways throughout the county where a significant amount of farm traffic is mixed with passenger vehicles as reminders of the ways to stay alert around this equipment. 

Finally, a social media series will be provided for posting on county Farm Bureau social media channels.

Stamp Your Passport

Community members won’t have to board an international flight to fill their passport with stamps in 2024. 

A grouping of county Farm Bureaus will be using Connecting Communities grant funds to host ag tourism-related events throughout their counties. Attend the event, visit the farm, find the item at the county fair — and get a stamp on your passport! 

Fill your passport to be entered into a drawing for local agricultural prizes.

On-Farm Events

Service clubs such as the Lions and Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, and other community leaders often gather to learn about local businesses on main streets across America — but only rarely do they leave town to visit some of the oldest, and maybe even largest businesses in their communities. 

Connecting Communities grants are offering several county Farm Bureaus the opportunity to host these groups on the farm. 

Copper Country plans to host a date-night event, inviting couples, small groups, or friends to share a classy night out on a local farm and a meal made with local ingredients. 

Other counties are planning “taste of the county” receptions, while others will host tours of specific agricultural entities. Each is giving their event a localized spin to showcase the value agriculture brings to the county. 

Northwest Michigan Farm Bureau plans to take the farm to the city by hosting an agricultural event at a Pit Spitters Minor League Baseball game. Hillsdale County is planning a tour of one of its more unique agricultural processors — a brewery!

Now Hiring

It’s no secret employers across all industries are struggling to attract top talent, from entry-level jobs to executive roles. Nearly every local business has a help-wanted sign out front, and agriculture is no different. 

Several county Farm Bureaus will use Connecting Communities grants to showcase the types of jobs offered in agriculture, food and natural resources. 

Livingston County is planning to work with a post-secondary training program for young adults with special needs, preparing them to work in local greenhouses or start a personal garden at home. 

Wayne County Farm Bureau seeks to connect students with agricultural and food processing jobs in Detroit and elsewhere around the state through an event held at an urban farm in the city.

Media Blitz

Live — from a farm, it’s — National Agriculture Week! 

A number of county Farm Bureaus will be using grant funds to host local radio and tv personalities on farms during National Agriculture Week in March 2024. 

Lenawee County plans to host a popular country radio station for a live broadcast. Macomb County Farm Bureau plans to partner with Michigan Ag Council to run streaming TV ads targeting residents in their suburban county. 

The creativity of county Farm Bureaus’ member-driven brainstorming is evident in these 50-plus applications. Five categories isn’t enough to capture all 55 projects!

Other concepts include a game show-type contest hosted at a local fair; a ladies night out modeled after other community organizations’ similar events; and a video series of local farmers looping on screens in public venues. 

Be proud of your county Farm Bureau’s dedication to building relationships with local consumers, and watch for highlights of Connecting Communities grant projects as they happen throughout 2024! 

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