Even successful programming needs an overhaul now and then, and sometimes it’s just fun to tinker around with stuff: take it apart, see how it works, reassemble.
Next year — 2024 — funds normally earmarked for MFB’s Voice of Agriculture will instead be shared with county Farm Bureaus in support of their local Promotion & Education efforts.
Two webinars later this month will have county Farm Bureau P&E chairs brainstorming ways to connect with non-farm audiences through effective outreach, celebrating and exploring the industry that keeps us all clothed and fed. Ideally these sessions will help identify what tools county Farm Bureaus will most benefit from and how state staff can best support local activities.
County-level P&E leaders are strongly encouraged to take part; your input will guide the development of starter templates MFB staff will roll out in June for counties to use or adapt to their unique needs. Both webinars start at 8 p.m.; click to register: March 16 or March 27.
Up to $1,000 per county Farm Bureau will be made available in the form of grants under the “Connecting Communities” banner.
Connecting Communities initiatives are encouraged to follow one of two recommended themes:
Connect & Celebrate — Celebrate Michigan agriculture by connecting with consumers for fun, social events. Invite consumers to the farm or meet them where they are with resources that highlight modern agriculture. Ideas to consider:
- Dinner on the Farm date night
- Farmers market educational event
- Project RED-type event for adults
Explore & Learn — Help others explore opportunities agriculture offers, both as a career and as cornerstone businesses in your communities. Connect at career fairs, grocery stores, service organization presentations and other community interactions. Ideas to consider:
- Farm tours for pre-career or career-aged audiences
- Promote agriculture’s role in your local economy
- “Meet-a-farmer” in-person events and/or posts on social media
Each county Farm Bureau is eligible for up to $1,000 toward Connecting Communities initiatives that fit either category. Expanding ongoing activities that fit within the grant categories are eligible for grant funding — but not activities targeting Farm Bureau members.
Counties are encouraged to continue their usual P&E activities alongside their Connecting Communities initiative.
Applications will be considered from individual county Farm Bureaus; pairs or small groups of county Farm Bureaus collaborating together; or district-wide efforts involving all the county Farm Bureaus in one of MFB’s 12 districts.
Eligible applications will detail the proposed program’s components, timeline, budget, audience, objectives, content, parameters for success and the role of partnering organizations.
Grant applications will be due Oct. 1, 2023, with the first half of award funds being distributed next January. The balance of grant funds will be disbursed next September, following summary reports from recipients.
Connecting Communities activity among county Farm Bureaus will be complemented by a statewide media campaign managed by MFB, including online/social media, streaming services and web placements.