By Jeremy C. Nagel
The progeny of Mac-Luce-Schoolcraft royalty, Adrianna Nance is the Meghan Markle of Germfask, only a whole lot easier to connect with. The graduate of MSU’s two-year ag-tech program—and daughter of longtime Mac-Luce leaders Scott and Kris Nance*—is now finding her own place in Michigan’s farm scene, for now a good deal farther south than her homeland in the central U.P.
“I finished school about a year ago—last March—with my certificate in ag industries,” Nance said during a break at MFB’s recent Growing Together Conference in Grand Rapids. She quickly found a position as a farrower at a swine farm in Oceana County near Walkerville.
“I helped pigs have piglets,” she said, until her fortunes turned during a trip back home in the Upper Peninsula.
Then, last summer (remember summer?), she was helping staff the FARM Science Lab at the U.P. State Fair when she struck up a fortuitous conversation with MFB’s Tonia Ritter who, when she’s not working the state Young Farmer and P&E committees, helps her husband Brad with their 200-head dairy near Byron in Shiawassee County.
Turns out the Ritter Farm was in need of an assistant herdsman—or herdswoman. One thing led to another and now Nance is among the newest crop of Young Farmers in the Shiawassee County Farm Bureau.
“I help with milking every morning and go over all the cows to make sure everybody’s doing okay,” she said.
“Also I feed cows all day and do a lot of work moving collars,” she added, referring to the important task of managing the tracking collars that monitor each animal’s activity, rumination and other vital stats.
“You can definitely see if anybody’s getting sick—their activity changes and there’s a noticeable decrease in their rumination.”
Even at her still-young age, Farm Bureau events like Growing Together are familiar territory for Nance.
“My parents got me involved at a really young age, and I always loved Farm Bureau events,” she said. “It’s a great way to say connected, stay in touch with friends from college and meet new people my age.”
MFB’s Young Farmer program provides networking and camaraderie that carries with it a sense of security and reassurance in knowing her peers across the state—and across the industry—are all experiencing similar challenges as they transition from college into the dreaded “real world.”
“We’re all on the same page, and they’re really a lot like a family at this point,” she said of her Young Farmer cohorts.
After growing up in the Far North, adjusting to life downstate poses challenges as well.
“Obviously I miss my family a lot,” she said, “but to be honest I also kinda like having the city within reach.”
*Longtime president of the Mac-Luce-Schoolcraft Farm Bureau, Scott Nance is a logger, bus mechanic and transportation director for Manistique schools. His wife Kris is a seasoned P&E veteran working toward a bachelor’s degree en route to her next career as a preschool teacher.