Michigan Farm Bureau’s 2018 Annual Meeting marks the beginning of the yearlong centennial celebration, and attendees will walk through an immersive timeline exhibit documenting our first 100 years of service to the state’s farmers. Decade by decade from its inception in 1919, the historical display planned for this year’s annual meeting showcases MFB’s milestones and offers practical guidance for how your county Farm Bureau can participate in our celebration throughout 2019.
The Welsh Lobby—an obligatory pass-through for all attendees making their way from the hotel into the convention center—will host the primary centennial exhibit, welcoming members to meander through the history of Michigan Farm Bureau from its 1919 formation to the present day. The timeline spotlights major milestones, achievements and personalities that have come to define your state Farm Bureau over the past 100 years.
A trio of room mock-ups and several display cases will be used to exhibit artifacts and genuine archival materials collected from over the past 100 years of MFB history.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to Mason County Farm Bureau members Ron and Neva Wood for their work inventorying and cataloging a small mountain of material that, before a few years ago, was collecting dust in our warehouse,” said Jeremy C. Nagel, one of several MFB staff and members orchestrating the yearlong centennial celebration.
“Worse than collecting dust, it was completely unorganized, but Ron and Neva took care of that. They have extensive experience with hands-on history work, and were able to whip our collection into shape.
“Now we know what we have, and we’re much better positioned to share it with our members.”
Centennial planners have the near future in mind as well in designing the exhibit. Many of its components will be portable, meaning a travelling history exhibit will be available for use at various state and county Farm Bureau events in 2019 and beyond.
Parallel with the main timeline theme will be a series of auxiliary displays showcasing the progress of county Farm Bureaus’ Local History Teams.
To date 40 out of 65 county Farm Bureaus have appointed Local History Teams. All are encouraged to please share a brief description of their plans for the coming celebratory year. Standing history teams will be recognized for organizing, and materials and guidance will be available for counties that have yet to appoint a team.
The member-engagement theme will include with a video booth for recording members’ “Farm Bureau Stories,” to document and share the ordinary—and extraordinary—experiences of our members’ lives in Farm Bureau.
“Those of us lucky enough to work directly with our members—on their farms and in their homes—we’ve all heard the most beautiful stories come pouring out of them,” Nagel said. “My favorites are the personal ones, from folks who have forged lifelong friendships or even met their future spouses through programs like the Junior Farm Bureau.
“One of the reasons Farm Bureau is so effective is because we actively culture those genuine social bonds.”
Members with a good Farm Bureau story to share are encouraged to sign up for an appointment at the video booth, where Nagel will facilitate and record for posterity the voices of our grass roots.
Attendees will also get a sneak peek at MFB’s Centennial Time Capsule. Handouts will prompt members to begin thinking about what artifacts and totems their county Farm Bureau might contribute that best represents them.
The capsule itself will be buried as part of our all-members-welcome Centennial Celebration, June 14, 2019 at Farm Bureau Center.