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Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies

Ottawa resets county relations with farm bus tour

Ottawa County Farm Bureau hosted several of its newly elected county commissioners on a recent farm tour, starting from scratch to reestablish relations between the local ag industry and municipal leaders.
Date Posted: September 13, 2023

Elections have consequences! 

Big changes can happen when people show up at the polls, and nobody knows that better than residents in Ottawa County. Last November’s election ushered in eight new county commissioners — eight of 11 total — a 73% turnover!

The Ottawa County Farm Bureau had built and invested in their relationships with the incumbent commissioners and so found itself facing the daunting task of rebuilding similar relations with the newly elected representatives.

Their solution was to welcome the commission on a bus tour designed to highlight Ottawa County’s substantial — and prosperous — agricultural diversity. Farms representing a variety of different commodities and sizes were represented on the tour. 

Tour stops included Victory FarmsZeeland Farm ServicesVisser Farms, Crossroads Blueberry Farm, Grand River Grain & Dairy and Green Vale Farm Creamery.  

“We’ve always had ag representation but after last November’s election we had major turnover on the Ottawa County Commission, with only three incumbent commissioners remaining,” said Mark Schoenborn, president of the Ottawa County Farm Bureau. 

“We took the opportunity to inform them about what we do — the impact agriculture has in Ottawa County and how diverse it is.”

The day concluded with a farm to table to dinner highlighting food raised and produced by several of the tour stops. 

Seven of the 11 commissioners were able to participate.

“I think it went really well and I would highly encourage other county Farm Bureaus to do the same sort of thing,” Schoenborn said. “You never know what the next issue is going to be, or if you’ll need county commissioners on your side. If you don’t proactively build those relationships, then it’s too late.”

Remember: Farm Bureau was founded as an organization to represent and protect agriculture.

“Ottawa’s tour improved dialogue between the local Farm Bureau and the new county commission,” said Lori Schrauben, MFB West Regional Manager. “That’s vital if Ottawa’s farming community needs their help developing solutions on potential issues.”

Your county Farm Bureau is probably the largest agricultural organization in your county. If it doesn’t represent agricultural locally, who will?

Matt Kapp headshot

Matt Kapp

Government Relations Specialist
517-679-5338 [email protected]