Contact:Amelia Miller, 517-679-5688
GRAND RAPIDS — For Kathy Walicki, dedication to agriculture reaches far beyond the garden at her Pentwater-area home or her office at the Oceana County Michigan State University (MSU) Extension office. Her work uniting area commodity organizations and dedication to agricultural education have set an exemplary example for volunteers statewide.
In recognition of her extraordinary leadership and dedication, Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) honored Walicki as its 2014 Volunteer of the Year during a Dec. 3 ceremony at MFB's 95th Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids. Chosen from among the previous 12 Volunteers of the Month, MFB's Volunteer of the Year award goes to a member demonstrating outstanding commitment and focused efforts toward a Farm Bureau program or event. Walicki was MFB's Volunteer of the Month in April of this year, and was chosen as Volunteer of the Year by a panel of Farm Bureau staff.
Under Walicki's leadership, several Oceana County commodity organizations came together during National Agriculture Week in March for a celebratory banquet. As lead organizer of the event, she worked individually with each group to coordinate efforts and unite them for a special evening of recognition and honors.
Prior to the banquet, Walicki coordinated a "Taste of Oceana County" reception featuring local food products for attendees to enjoy.
"Kathy is an asset to our organization," said Norm Meyers, her nominator for the Volunteer of the Month honors. "She is constantly recruiting members to get involved with the organization."
Walicki helps lead Oceana County Farm Bureau's promotion and education activities. During the Folk Festival she helps coordinate Project RED (Rural Education Day), which teaches hundreds of kids where their food comes from. She also works with volunteers to arrange Ag in the Classroom, bringing farmers into the classroom to teach agriculture-based lesson plans.
Walicki helps compile the county Farm Bureau's quarterly member newsletter, and as manager of the local MSU Extension office, works directly with farmers on a daily basis to organize annual meetings and seminars.
"Kathy pours an extraordinary amount of time and effort into her work with local agriculture," said Meyers. "Her involvement in Farm Bureau has opened doors for members who otherwise would not have been engaged."
Originally from Dearborn, Walicki relocated to Oceana County 34 years ago. She has helped organize the National Asparagus Festival for the past 18 years, serving in various officer roles on its planning committee. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, baking and decorating cakes.
The Volunteer of the Year award includes a prize of one round trip airfare to anywhere in the continental U.S., sponsored by the MFB Member Services Department.
MFB is the state's largest farm organization, representing more than 46,500 farmer members. The MFB 95th Annual Meeting takes place Dec. 2-4 at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel and DeVos Place in Grand Rapids.
NOTE: Visit /mi/annual for photos from the awards ceremony. For more information after Dec. 4, contact Amelia Miller at 517-679-5688.