Michigan Farm Bureau’s 2022 Presidential Volunteer of the Year award winner is Jackson County farmer Hank Choate.
“Hank Choate is one of our most exemplary assets,” said Loren Faist, Jackson County’s Promotion & Education chair. “He is a true man of agriculture, a true community asset, a wonderful person and member of the Jackson County Farm Bureau.”
Choate has extended Jackson County Farm Bureau’s reach by involving hundreds of its members and forging relations beyond its borders. Praising his continuous pursuit for the best possible information and clarification of complex subject matter, Faist hints toward a trait Choate himself says has developed steadily over time.
“As I became older I recognized the importance of being engaged and involved,” Choate said on his way to namechecking the three organizations he’s closest to: Farm Bureau, Michigan Milk Producers Association and GreenStone Farm Credit Services.
“If you’re going to be an advocate for agriculture — such as I pride myself to be — I recognized that I needed to be aware of exactly what the issues regarding agriculture pertain to,” he said. “I truly believe that if we’re going to stay strong in agriculture, we need to have all farmers, young and old, become knowledgeable of the issues that impact us — and get engaged.”
Much of Choate’s advocacy work is focused on the legislative process, where he’s proven particularly adept at “understanding and interacting with our legislators, understanding the policies they set and how they impact us — legislation they’re considering and how that may impact us — and just having conversations with them, trying to make certain they understand the impact that it’s going to have on Michigan agriculture.”
His state-level activities include participating in state annual meeting, advisory committees, Lansing and Washington Legislative Seminars and other committees and conferences.
Locally he attends several programs and serves on the candidate evaluation and policy development committees, finding time to volunteer and make a difference every day as a Farm Bureau member.
“Hank’s passion for policy and drive to sustain agriculture bleeds into everyone he touches — an excellent trait that the county Farm Bureau values,” Faist wrote in nominating Choate for this year’s Volunteer of the Year Award. “He demonstrates his passion and knowledge of agriculture with everyone he encounters.”
In addition to the organizations already named, Choate has devoted his efforts to United Dairy Industry of Michigan, Advisory NorthStar Cooperative and the Liberty Township Planning Committee.