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County News


2019 County Annual Minutes                                                                Approved | Denied

2019 Review of Financials                                                                      Approved | Denied

MFB State Annual Delegates selected by Board of Directors          Approved | Denied

 

Election of 2020 Shiawassee County Board of Directors

  • District 2 – Courtney Kingsbury

  • District 4 – Will Willson

  • At-Large – Bob Carlin (District 4)

  • At-Large – Tim Kiesling (District 3)

  • Promotion & Education Committee ChairHanna Dutcher

  • Young Farmer Committee ChairWyatt Demerly

     

County Annual Award Winners

  • Distinguished Service to Agriculture – Jamie Zmitko-Somers

  • Volunteer of the Year – Ken Deschepper

  • Agricultural Educator of the Year – Juliana Forbush

Door Prize Winners

  • Stihl Chainsaw – Gary Solgat

  • Toolbox – Richard Semans

  • Battery-operated Grease Guns – David Williams

  • Cooler – Anthony Chunko

  • Canopy – Carol Seidel

  • Cornhole Boards – Patricia Crothers

  • Murtle’s Handmade Chocolates Gift Card – Holli Denson

  • Murtle’s Handmade Chocolates Gift Card – Robert Misjak

  • Mancinos Pizza & Grinders Gift Card – James Laureta

  • Mancinos Pizza & Grinders Gift Card – Clifford Free

  • Family Farm & Home Gift Card – Sally Pajtas

  • Family Farm & Home Gift Card – Francis Osika

     

Policy Resolution -

  • MFB/CFB POLICY RESOLUTIONS

    • Submission#: 2020-78-1

As we evolve to a more and more digital society with added technology and complications from pandemic events we should question the value of the current library system.

 

Colleges and K-12 schools are quickly moving to on-line instruction to cope with a myriad of logistical issues. This form of education relies heavily on high- speed internet service.

 

Shiawassee County Farm Bureau supports a change in the Library Law that would allow municipalities to opt-out of a library system if the funds were diverted to support internet service for the residents.

 

Member Action:             Approved                    Denied   

 

    • 038-Agriscience, Food and Natural Resources Education and The FFA Organization

Title: High demand for Agriscience teachers

Submission#: 2020-78-5

 

Teachers provide the foundation to a student that often guides them down the road to success. The agricultural educators that provide direction to those students not only educating them on a host of agriculture issues also developing leadership abilities and helping them become successful members of their communities. Now it is time to provide those who are interested in becoming Agriscience, Food and Natural Recourse Education (AFNRE) teachers’ clear guidelines, facts and statistics on how to become an Ag educator.

 

Shiawassee County Farm Bureau supports:

 

MFB would expand and promote the development of Ag teachers by providing virtual resources for people interested in entering this field providing them the information needed to start on the path of becoming an AFNRE educator.

               

Member Action:             Approved                    Denied    ☐

 

    • 047-Agricultural Labor

Title: Pandemic Employer Liability

Submission#: 2020-78-4

 

Pandemic related guidelines, practices and procedures continue to rapidly evolve. These guidances, practices and procedures are recommendations at this point in time. They are not standards or regulations and therefore are not legal obligations.

 

Shiawassee County Farm Bureau supports the following:

 

1. Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as State and local public health authorities on how to best protect agricultural employees.

 

2. The MFB legal team continuing talks with Michigan Department of health and Human Services to assist them in decisions appropriate for agricultural employees and staff in regards to pandemic safety requirements and feasibility.

 

3. That H2-A workers qualify as employees under the Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP).

 

4. Employers provide appropriate PPE and pandemic testing for employees and are provided financial assistance for such practices through federal grants.

 

5. Pandemic legal protections for businesses that are making good faith efforts to comply with ever changing requirements for worker safety.

 

6. Pandemic liability waivers.

 

Member Action:             Approved                    Denied   

 

    • 080-Nonpoint Source Pollution And Watershed Management

Title: Local Government

Submission#: 2020-78-2

 

Recently PFAS and related chemicals have become a concern to farmers in Michigan and the US. These are used in fire retardants and foams in addition to water proofing textiles these chemicals pose health concerns for humans and animals when these chemicals are applied to farm land in the form of bio solids from municipal treatment systems.

 

Shiawassee County Farm Bureau supports the following:

 

1. Ag land found to be contaminated by PFAS, PFOS and/or PFOA by scientific testing methods that exceed State or Federal agency safe standards be diverted to non food production uses while cleanup occurs. Solar and wind renewable energy generation being examples of possible uses.

 

2. Legislation establishing a program to provide funds to MDARD to purchase lands with legacy chemical contamination from owners. This will allow farmers the ability to recover losses and provide an exit from future litigation.

 

Member Action:             Approved                    Denied    ☐

 

    • 088-Wildlife Management

Title: Deer Damage

Submission#: 2020-78-6

 

Deer are a serious health concern to livestock a safety issue to the motoring public and a significant economic problem for crops. There are many programs in place to deal with the over population of the deer herd however, the current harvesting scenario is too late in the year to alleviate the earlier mentioned concerns.

 

Shiawassee County Farm Bureau supports:

 

An increase from 10 to 25+ crop damage/ nuisance permit tags available at the same time the current system allows from June 1 to September 1. This would be similar to the deer management assist permit available in the fall.

 

Member Action:             Approved                    Denied   

 

  • AFBF POLICY RESOLUTIONS

    • 505-Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Management

Title: Local Government

Submission#: 2020-78-3

 

Recently PFAS and related chemicals have become a concern to farmers in Michigan and the US. These are used in fire retardants and foams in addition to water proofing textiles these chemicals pose health concerns for humans and animals when these chemicals are applied to farm land in the form of bio solids from municipal treatment systems.

 

Shiawassee County Farm Bureau supports the following:

 

1. Ag land found to be contaminated by PFAS, PFOS and/or PFOA by scientific testing methods that exceed State or Federal agency safe standards be diverted to non food production uses while cleanup occurs. Solar and wind renewable energy generation being examples of possible uses.

 

2. Legislation establishing a program to provide funds to MDARD to purchase lands with legacy chemical contamination from owners. This will allow farmers the ability to recover losses and provide an exit from future litigation.

               

Member Action:             Approved                    Denied   


Final results of the 2020 County Annual Meeting voting and election ballots.

Eisenhower Office Building at The White House

By Robert Carlin



 Pictured from left to right are Bob Carlin - Shiawassee County, Todd Stubbs - Oakland County, Emily Calderone - Ingham County, Erin Humm - Gratiot County, Larry Walton - St. Joseph County, Chris Machiela - Allegan County, and Matt Nilson - Van Buren County. Not in attendance is Anders Swenson - Kalamazoo County.
All of this years Academy members are farmers or involved in Agribusiness. Each class member has enrolled in the Academy to gain a deeper understanding of the political process in our nation and how politics effect agriculture. At the White House the class discussed issues involving trade, marketing, immigration policy and financial sustainability. Suggestions were discussed on programs effectiveness for 2019.

Matt Kapp and Melissa Palma are the mentors and contacts for the academy. Without there dedication and help the Political Leadership Academy would not exist. A special thanks goes out to Sarah Black of MFB and John Kran of MFB for their help and support for the class in Washington D.C.


All of this years Academy members are farmers or involved in Agribusiness.

State News

Creative membership events like Berrien County’s belt sander races helped county Farm Bureaus statewide achieve a second straight year of overall regular membership growth.

Another successful membership year is in the books, and it shines with all the hard work, diligence and dedication of our most driven Farm Bureau volunteers! For the second year in a row, we achieved statewide Target — growth in our regular memberships. That’s a major achievement regardless of the circumstances, but in a year when associate membership slipped, it’s a significant milestone and testament to the hard work happening in our 65 county Farm Bureaus.

Some of the exciting things from the 2020/2021 membership year:

  • 39 county Farm Bureaus reached Target
  • Statewide regular membership increased by 78 members
  • 144 agents and volunteers qualified for Key Club, and 34 volunteers qualified for Carhartt Club
  • The statewide regular member retention rate was 94.95%
  • Statewide inactive regular members (2,208) decreased by 228 from last year — 1,285 less than three years ago!
  • 2,105 total new regular members, 376 of them being new regular members written by 170 volunteers
  • 348 new members written the previous year jumped in and got involved in Farm Bureau events and programs

We also saw a tie for our Top Writer Award: Lenawee County Farm Bureau President Thomas VanWagner (Dist. 2) and Missaukee County Force of Nature Ellen Vanderwal (Dist. 9) each signed up 10 new regular members!

Here are the remaining top writers, per district:

  • Dist. 1 — Tod Kubiszak, Van Buren: 7 new regular members
  • Dist. 3 — Lisa Kelley, Wayne: 7
  • Dist. 4 — Scott Phelps, Allegan: 5
  • Dist. 5 — Devin Richards, Shiawassee: 8
  • Dist. 6 — Ben Zaleski, Huron: 8
  • Dist. 7 — Breann Bonga, Montcalm: 6
  • Dist. 8 — Jeffrey Fulton, Saginaw: 8
  • Dist. 10 — Amanda Rodabaugh, Gladwin: 6
  • Dist. 11 — Ben Blaho, Emmet: 9
  • Dist. 12 — Dean Shepeck,Menominee: 6

Farm Bureau Insurance Agent Jason Scramlin wrote 48 new regular members this last year, followed closely by Agent Mark Hop with 45. Statewide, 144 agents and volunteers qualified for Key Club, writing at least five new regular members each.

This year we also saw an increase in Carhartt Club qualifiers, with 34 volunteers writing five or more new regular members, five they wrote last year renewing this year, or a combination of the two totaling five.

On the vital retention front, Northwest Michigan Farm Bureau in Dist. 9 earned Super Defender honors with an amazing 97.64% regular member retention! Top Defender winners by district are as follows:

  • Dist. 1 — Cass: 96.05% regular member retention
  • Dist. 2 — Lenawee: 94.95%
  • Dist. 3 — Washtenaw: 95.56%
  • Dist. 4 — Ionia: 95.74%
  • Dist. 5 — Clinton: 95.27%
  • Dist. 6 — Lapeer: 96.30%
  • Dist. 7 — Osceola: 96.71%
  • Dist. 8 — Bay: 95.54%
  • Dist. 10 — Arenac: 96.59%
  • Dist. 11 — Presque Isle: 96.09%
  • Dist. 12 — Hiawathaland: 94.88%

Congratulations to all of our award winners, hard-working membership volunteers and resilient county Farm Bureaus. We look forward to recognizing them all over the coming months with prizes and recognition. The hard work and dedication happening statewide is evident in the success of this year’s membership campaign.

Take a moment to stop, breathe and celebrate your success, big or small — you’ve earned it! Then stay tuned for some exciting announcements coming soon about next year’s campaign, which we’re already a few weeks into!

Laura Lunceford manages MFB’s Membership Development department.


Another successful membership year is in the books, and it shines with all the hard work, diligence and dedication of our most driven Farm Bureau volunteers!

Members looking to join the state board of directors are asked to express their candidacy in writing — email works — to MFB Secretary Andy Kok on or before the Annual Meeting Kickoff Nov. 3.
 

Ambitious Farm Bureau members looking to take their involvement game to the next level may consider contending for a seat on the MFB Board of Directors. This year’s state board election will decide who represents Farm Bureau members in Michigan’s odd-numbered districts, currently occupied by the following:

  • Dist. 1 — Brigettte Leach (Kalamazoo)
  • Dist. 3 — Mike Fusilier (Washtenaw)
  • Dist. 5 — Stephanie Schafer (Clinton)
  • Dist. 7 — Mike DeRuiter (Oceana)
  • Dist. 9 — Ben LaCross (Northwest Michigan)
  • Dist. 11 — Pat McGuire (Antrim)

Two at-large positions are also up for reelection:

  • At-Large — Andy Hagenow (Kent)
  • At-Large — Doug Darling (Monroe)

The third at-large position is occupied by President Carl Bednarski (Tuscola), who will be up for re-election next year.

Members looking to join the state board of directors are asked to express their candidacy in writing — email works — to MFB Secretary Andy Kok on or before the Annual Meeting Kickoff Nov. 3.

MFB’s State Annual Meeting Rules Committee instituted a new rule last year asking candidates for MFB director positions to provide a written statement describing how they meet the bylaw qualifications for directors, attesting that they are “directly and actively engaged in farming as owners and/or operators of farms whose primary interest is in farming” — and that they are not employed full-time in an occupation other than farming, nor serving in a county, state or national elective office.

“This move was recommended by a statewide committee several years ago,” Kok said, “to help the delegates understand how each candidate meets the ‘full-time farmer’ eligibility requirement for service on the board of directors.”

Statements will be shared with delegates prior to elections taking place.

Prospective candidates should contact Kok directly for the necessary form or more information.

Not up for reelection this year are those directors representing even-numbered districts:

  • Dist. 2 — Jennifer Lewis (Hillsdale)
  • Dist. 4 — Jeff Sandborn (Ionia)
  • Dist. 6 — Travis Fahley (St. Clair)
  • Dist. 8 — Michael Mulders (Bay)
  • Dist. 10 — Leona Daniels (Arenac)
  • Dist. 12 — David Bahrman (Hiawathaland)

Every year half of the MFB Board of Directors are up for election or re-election: even-numbered districts in even numbered years, odd-numbered districts in odd years. Two/Three at-large directors (from anywhere in the state) are also up for reelectio
The Great Mississippi Tea Company is out to prove high-quality tea can be produced in America. ProFILE participants toured the operation and learned about the specialized harvesting equipment the company uses to pluck the topmost leaves from established tea plants.

The 2020-21 ProFILE class found better luck with its capstone trip than its kickoff junket in March of last year, which wrapped right as the world slipped headlong into a global pandemic. As the latest cohort of MFB’s elite leadership program wraps up on schedule after its 15-month agenda, COVID is still with us but it didn’t dampen the experience for Michigan’s best and brightest young farmers.

In a decidedly unfamiliar corner of the Deep South bearing little in common with Michigan’s commodity lineup, our ProFILErs did what they always do: dial in on the common denominators that tie all farm sectors together — and do it so seamlessly you’d scarcely notice where the northerners end and their southern kin begin.

ProFILE coordinator Alex Schnabelrauch, director of MFB’s Center of Education and Leadership Development, said the logistical and environmental challenges this trip posed may’ve made its payoff all the sweeter for those taking part.

“Michigan’s county Farm Bureaus — and the industry as a whole — have some truly exceptional young leaders and we’re excited to see how they use what they’ve gained to improve their farms and communities.”

This year’s class includes Emily Boeve (Ottawa County), Casey Bozung (Van Buren), Sara Bronkema (Ottawa), Alisha Gibson (Kalamazoo), Brandon Hotchkin (Jackson), Charles Loveland (Jackson), Matt Marston (Livingston), Mike Mathis (Oakland), MaryAnne Murawski (Huron), Dirk Okkema (Mecosta), Terry Page (Ionia), Mike Sell (Wayne), Brenda Sisung (Clinton), Amanda Sollman (Saginaw) and Cody Tyrrell (Huron).

Altogether the group made nearly a dozen stops around the Mississippi Delta region, seeing firsthand the production of such key regional commodities as rice, cotton, tea and catfish. More familiar than the commodities were the challenges their producers face: labor, processing, logistics, water management and at least one wildlife pest —bears! — nobody saw coming.

“Our Michigan members put all their skills and knowledge to use, serving as tour-stop emcees, engaged learners and savvy reporters providing coverage along the way,” Schnabelrauch said. “Our hosts in Mississippi and Louisiana remarked how impressed they were with the depth and breadth of our group’s questions.”

MFB Digital Editor Tony Hansen was along for the ride and filed his coverage straight from the sweltering south; follow these links to read his detailed accounts: Day 1Day 2Day 3 and Day 4.

More than 70 young farmers have been nominated by their county Farm Bureaus to be part of the 2022-23 ProFILE class.


The 2020-21 ProFILE class found better luck with its capstone trip than its kickoff junket in March of last year, which wrapped right as the world slipped headlong into a global pandemic.

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