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Hillsdale County News

By Janelle Walworth, County Administrative Manager

This year’s Michigan Farm Bureau Annual Meeting will be offered as a hybrid event, incorporating several familiar in-person activities and some of last year’s virtual components.

After 2020’s pandemic restrictions, making for an almost entirely virtual meeting, feedback gave way to mixed responses from the members who attended. Members mostly missed the collaboration and efficiency from in-person interactions. On the other hand, some were glad to meet virtually who lived long distances from Grand Rapids or were unable to attend due to obligations on the farm.

This year’s annual meeting will be an early virtual kickoff event on the evening of Wednesday, November 3 for dispensing with reports and other formalities, followed by in-person district meetings the following week. Hillsdale County and their fellow county farm bureaus in District 2 will join forces in-person at Olivia’s Chophouse in Jonesville on the evening of Tuesday, November 9. The district meetings will allow delegates to nominate and elect their district director (odd-numbered districts only this year) and review the policy agenda prior to the full delegate body convening three weeks later.

The final component will provide delegates the option of meeting virtually or in-person in Grand Rapids that has been condensed to a two-day format on Tuesday, November 30 and Wednesday, December 1. In addition to the delegate session, the two-days in Grand Rapids will be packed with Young Farmer discussion meets, the Ag Art Gallery, Promotion & Education content and more.

Last month President Kayla Lewis was voted as delegate chair joined by Bruce Lewis, Terry Finegan, Chris Brooks, Barney Traylor, Ron Oates, and Mark Kline.

The primary purpose of being a delegate at the Michigan Farm Bureau Annual Meeting is to set direction for the organization by adopting policies, electing directors to the MFB Board of Directors and to recognize outstanding member and county activities.

There are limited seats still available to attend. If you’re interested in becoming a delegate, please contact President Lewis by email at [email protected] or by phone at (517) 282-6194. You can also contact our county manager Janelle Walworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (517) 437-2458.

This year’s Michigan Farm Bureau Annual Meeting will be offered as a hybrid event, incorporating several familiar in-person activities and some of last year’s virtual components.
By Kayla Lewis, County President

Pictured: Member Scott Welden

On behalf of Hillsdale County Farm Bureau, I am excited to announce that Farm Bureau will be taking on Project R.E.D., rural education day for 4th grade students in Hillsdale County.

Project R.E.D. has been a part of the agriculture community in Hillsdale County, facilitated by the Ag Council, for almost 10 years providing 4th grade students with a variety of agriculture-based education and materials for their classrooms.

When the Ag Council announced they would no longer be able facilitate this program, I attended a few meetings to learn more. In August, I expressed my eagerness to continue this project to my fellow directors and proposed that our county farm bureau assume this role of facilitating Project R.E.D. moving forward. Without hesitation, the county farm bureau board of directors agreed and voted to accept the challenge!

While this year may continue to pose challenge with in-person activities, we are confident students will have a Project R.E.D. even if we move to transition it to a virtual format.

I will be working closely with volunteers who have helped facilitate on Project R.E.D. in the prior years to ensure we maintain the work as it has been done in the past.

We are very lucky to have great volunteers that have offered their support in volunteering with the event that served on Ag Council, but we will be looking for more!

Please be sure to watch our website hillsdale.michfb.com and Facebook page @HillsdaleCountyFarmBureau for updates about this activity.

If you are interested in volunteering, we have many opportunities available! Please contact me by email at [email protected] or by phone at (517) 282-6194. You can also contact our county manager Janelle Walworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (517) 437-2458.


Best Regards,

Kayla Lewis
President
Hillsdale County Farm Bureau

On behalf of Hillsdale County Farm Bureau, I am excited to announce that Farm Bureau will be taking on Project R.E.D., rural education day for 4th grade students in Hillsdale County.
By Janelle Walworth, County Administrative Manager

Membership Captain Allison Grimm (Left) & County President Kayla Lewis (Right)


Allison Grimm (left), Sarah Headley (center) and children


2021 Fair Booth Hillsdale CFB & Hillsdale Conservation 


2021 Parade






































Hillsdale County Farm Bureau’s Membership and Promotion & Education Committees indulged in a variety of activities at the county fair held September 26th to October 3rd.

Promotion & Education Committee Chair Joe Draper wanted to do an activity that would provide educational materials to local elementary schools. Sunday through Wednesday of fair week, fair goers could walk through the Educational Exhibit and then head back to the county farm bureau booth to vote for their favorite school’s artwork. The voting display was created by Joe’s children. The fair theme this year was Together Again. “Thank you for everyone that participated” said Joe who is excited to announce that Camden Elementary is the recipient of the Farm Crates for their school.

Membership Captain Allison Grimm set the course for the rest of the activities.

The county farm bureau shared a booth with Hillsdale Conservation District in the new merchant’s building. The booth display provided fair goers with a Michigan Farm Fun Directory and more information about the county farm bureau. The display board showcased the Help, Meet, Learn, Save initiative. Each area demonstrated how members provided support in each of these areas including access to educational resources, developing leadership skills, advocating for agriculture, and connecting with legislators.

On Monday of the fair, members Barney & Teresa Traylor, George Pierce, Kayla Lewis, and Allison Grimm walked through the parade giving out candy and a “sheep” hot/cold pack for the kids. They were joined by Farm Bureau Insurance Agent Mike Neely, County Farm Bureau Manager Janelle Walworth and Michigan Farm Bureau Regional Manager Kim Kerr. “This is our second-year walking in the fair parade and I think it is a great way to get our name out there and promote to our local community,” said Allison.

After the parade, regular members (those involved in agriculture) could visit the county farm bureau booth for a free milk ticket. “I wanted to provide regular members with a member benefit and support a local agriculture industry,” said Allison who shared what inspired her to provide this opportunity. “When Allison first reached out to me, I thought it was a fantastic idea,” said Jennifer Lewis, treasurer of the Hillsdale County Dairy Promoters. “Other county farm bureau’s do a similar activity at their local fairs. Anytime you can give back to your members to make them feel appreciated, it’s a great thing.”

Many great conversations inspired ideas for the 2022 fair. Watch for updates on our county activities on our website hillsdale.michfb.com or Facebook page HillsdaleCountyFarmBureau.

Hillsdale County Farm Bureau’s Membership and Promotion & Education Committees indulged in a variety of activities at the county fair held September 26th to October 3rd.

State News


“Dale’s an example of a traditional county Farm Bureau board member: Their world is their county — they’re dedicated.”

This article has three simple goals:

  1. Honor the memory of an active Farm Bureau member — one specific man — whose years were recently cut tragically short.
  2. Honor the unsung style of member he was: the strictly local kind, content to do good work in their familiar, comfortable corner of a much larger universe.
  3. Encourage county Farm Bureaus to do more of #2.

The ‘larger universe’ here is the greater Farm Bureau organization, with its award plaques, stage walks and grip-n-grin photos, all in the name of recognizing the indispensable work of outstanding members and counties. In an organization reliant on the efforts of volunteers, recognizing those efforts is essential.

The ‘one specific man’ in this case never saw any of that, simply because he neither sought nor desired it. He is — was — Dale Frisque, who died Aug. 5 at the age of 59, the sole casualty of a fire at the cedar mill where he’d worked his whole adult life.

That mill is in the center of Menominee County, anchoring the south end of Carney, where Dale grew up, attended high school and was the third generation to work his family’s farm. He inherited Frisque Hilltop Farms in the wake of his father’s death, and completed its transition from dairy to beef, hay and oats.

“That was my grandparents’ farm — the farm my mother grew up on,” remembers longtime Menominee leader Pete Kleiman, a first cousin of Frisque’s.

“Dale never did get married; he stayed on the farm with his mother, raised hay, corn, oats to feed the beef… Some chickens, ducks… Sold round bales in the winter to horse people.

“Kind of an old-fashioned farm, really.”

Wasn't Like That

He joined Farm Bureau in 2001, launching an impressive track record of involvement in membership events, annual meetings and other activities central to the organization.

“I was the one who talked Dale into running for the county board in the first place,” Kleiman said. “We were looking for somebody from that area; it’s hard to find folks there.”

With a regular job in town and the farm only a couple miles away, Frisque was busy but always nearby and ready to help.

“He was kind of a homebody and involved in the community as best he could — the Lions and the church and sports clubs.”

And he brought that same sturdy reliability to the Menominee County Farm Bureau board, Kleiman recalls:

“He wasn’t a board member who… Y’know some people come onto a board with an agenda and ‘Once I get done what I want to get done, I’m gone.’

“Dale wasn’t like that. He showed up every month and he was willing to offer his opinion about how to proceed with something and if he didn’t think it was a good idea, he’d say so.

“He was just never going to be that person to serve on a state committee — that just wasn’t something he wanted to do. But when we did Breakfast on the Farm we could always count on him to be there on the weekend to help out.”

Plenty to Do 

The same held true at the mill, where Dale knew every facet of the operation and could always be counted on, even when it meant stepping away for a bit.

“At the mill when things slowed down and they needed somebody to take a week off, Dale was always willing to take a voluntary leave because he always had plenty to do back on the farm,” Kleiman said.

The mill was Peterson Brothers when he started there as a teenager, then Gilbert & Bennet, then Superior Cedar after a group of its own employees bought the place. Over the years it dealt in pulpwood and fence posts and bark mulch — mountains of mulch, feeding city folks’ garden beds by the semi load.

And in an instant, innocent sawdust turned into a lethal inferno.

Most Don't Know

News of Dale’s loss came promptly the next morning, Aug. 6, straight into the gut of MFB’s state staff convening online for an informal weekly meeting. The messenger was Craig Knudson, our seasoned Regional Manager in the Upper Peninsula.

“Most of you probably don’t know him,” he started, before announcing the loss in the succinct, economic way we do when those left behind are still wondering how and why.

That Frisque’s name was unfamiliar even to longtime MFB staffers came as no surprise to Knudson, who’d shepherded Dale’s involvement for almost two decades.

“Dale’s an example of a traditional county Farm Bureau board member: Their world is their county — they’re dedicated,” Knudson said, his voice growing bolder, more insistent.

“You won’t see them at State Annual Meeting, but they’re dedicated to the county Farm Bureau at the local level.

“That’s where Dale fit in.”

Moral of the Story

Our society rewards ambition and glorifies ladder-climbing heroes striving for greatness that skeptical observers may dismiss as out of reach. On the flip side of that, we can overlook those of more moderate aspirations: “Big fish in a small pond” is not a compliment.

The message for county Farm Bureaus is simple: Be sure to support your quiet journeymen, low-profile workhorses and behind-the-scenesters who get things done outside the limelight.

An industry that values humility can’t forget to honor the humble.

The ‘larger universe’ here is the greater Farm Bureau organization, with its award plaques, stage walks and grip-n-grin photos, all in the name of recognizing the indispensable work of outstanding members and counties. In an organization reliant on t

The Emmet County Farm Bureau’s member-appreciation event, a drive-through dinner hosted by the Petoskey Culver’s restaurant, earned it District 11’s Champion of Excellence honors in Grassroots Innovation. Pictured above are Emmet leaders Ben Blaho (left) and Bill McMaster

Michigan Farm Bureau recently announced the winners of this year’s Champions of Excellence Awards, acknowledging county Farm Bureaus’ efforts toward engaging their membership and their innovative means of doing so.

Altogether this year 37 county Farm Bureaus applied for a total of 45 Champions awards in two updated categories: Grassroots and Involvement, each going above and beyond creating innovative and effective member programming.

Counties were also evaluated on their involvement statistics throughout the recently concluded membership year.

Here are our 2021 Champions of Excellence winners, by district:

Grassroots

  • District 1: Cass County Farm Bureau
  • District 2: Jackson County Farm Bureau
  • District 3: Washtenaw County Farm Bureau
  • District 4: Ionia County Farm Bureau
  • District 5: Clinton County Farm Bureau
  • District 6: Lapeer County Farm Bureau
  • District 7: Mecosta County Farm Bureau
  • District 8: Isabella County Farm Bureau
  • District 9: Mason County Farm Bureau
  • District 10: Gladwin County Farm Bureau
  • District 11: Emmet County Farm Bureau
  • District 12: Iron Range Farm Bureau

Involvement

  • District 1: Berrien County Farm Bureau
  • District 2: Calhoun County Farm Bureau
  • District 3: Oakland County Farm Bureau
  • District 4: Kent County Farm Bureau
  • District 5: Shiawassee County Farm Bureau
  • District 6: Lapeer County Farm Bureau
  • District 7: Osceola County Farm Bureau
  • District 8: Saginaw County Farm Bureau
  • District 9: Mason County Farm Bureau
  • District 10: Huron Shores Farm Bureau
  • District 11: Cheboygan County Farm Bureau
  • District 12: Iron Range Farm Bureau

One state-level winner in each category will be chosen by a panel of judges and announced at MFB’s 2022 Council of Presidents’ Conference, Feb. 2-3 in Midland.

Congratulations to all of these outstanding county Farm Bureaus for their exemplary work throughout the 2020-21 membership year!

The ideas and events submitted through the Champions of Excellence Awards process will be shared with all county Farm Bureaus so everyone can strive toward the greatness our winners have achieved.

Michigan Farm Bureau recently announced the winners of this year’s Champions of Excellence Awards, acknowledging county Farm Bureaus’ efforts toward engaging their membership and their innovative means of doing so.

Beyond all the tour hosts and expert speakers, Growing Together attendees enjoy ample opportunity to learn from perhaps their most highly esteemed and trusted resources: each other.
 

Farm Bureau members from across the state will converge Feb. 18-20 at the Amway Grand Plaza in Grand Rapids next winter for MFB’s 2022 Growing Together Conference, where the Voice of Agriculture and Young Farmer Leaders Conference collide!

Open to regular members of all ages, Growing Together focuses on the common ground shared by Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Promotion & Education programs. Attendees will take home new ideas and resources to incorporate into their county programming — everything from reinvigorating youth programming and facilitation tips to human resource applications for your farm business and managing the ups & downs of rural life.

Keynote speaker Bruce Boguski will set the stage with a presentation about how to alter our belief systems and bolster confidence en route to success. Attendees will discover the advantages of a positive attitude and use that knowledge to change frustration and negativity into a ‘can-do’ environment.

Growing Together also offers members opportunities to network during tours, at receptions and during evening entertainment. This year, all Friday tours will converge at the Grand Rapids Public Museum for a private viewing and reception with heavy hors devours. Those looking to keep the evening going can participate in a virtual GooseChase scavenger hunt, completing challenges while enjoying downtown Grand Rapids, complete with prizes for the most points earned!

A pre-dinner reception on the second night will include a county leader reception where county Young Farmer and P&E chairs and co-chairs will be recognized for their leadership. Following that dinner will be an evening of casino fun, where the only required experience will be knowing how to have a fun, laid-back time with friends old and new!

In a new option, 2022 Growing Together attendees can choose between two Friday agendas: the Take Root Farm Succession and Estate Planning Seminar (at a discounted $50 rate) or the customary tour of regional agriculture sites.

Registration will be open Jan. 3-14. Contact your county Farm Bureau to reserve your spot and stay up-to-date at http://www.michfb.com/growingtogether

Farm Bureau members from across the state will converge Feb. 18-20 at the Amway Grand Plaza in Grand Rapids next winter for MFB’s 2022 Growing Together Conference, where the Voice of Agriculture and Young Farmer Leaders Conference collide!

Coming Events

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November2021
Tuesday
30
2021 MFB State Annual Meeting
187 Monroe Ave NW
Grand Rapids, MI
The State Annual Meeting brings together delegates from across the state to conduct the vital grassroots policy work that drives the organization’s actions and positions throughout the year. Delegates from each district engage in policy resolution debate and deliberation and elect members to the MFB Board of Directors. The State Annual Meeting also serves as a time to connect and engage with members from across Michigan.
February2022
Wednesday
2
2022 Council of Presidents Conference
111 W Main St
Midland, MI
This is the annual conference for county Farm Bureau presidents.  The conference provides and opportunity to: * Meet peers from across the state * Help guide new county presidents as they take on their new role * Learn current state and national organization issues and develop leadership skills
February2022
Friday
18
2022 Growing Together Conference

Grand Rapids, MI
This exciting conference is bringing together the Voice of Agriculture and Young Farmer Leaders Conference.   Growing together is open to members of any age, and will provide new ideas, farm business resources, leadership development, and much more to Farm Bureau members!  Members who are interested in improving their communication skills, promoting Michigan agriculture, teaching school children about agriculture or furthering their farm business with the latest technologies should attend. Members involved in county Promotion and Education, Young Farmer or Communications programs are encouraged to participate.
February2022
Tuesday
22
2022 Lansing Legislative Seminar
333 E Michigan Ave
Lansing, MI
Michigan Farm Bureau’s Lansing Legislative Seminar provides an opportunity for members passionate about Farm Bureau policy and issues affecting agriculture to meet members with shared interests, concerns and goals. Participants will help demonstrate to legislative and regulatory leaders the significance of our member-developed policy and strength of our county Farm Bureaus and learn from expert speakers about proposals being considered in Lansing that would impact Michigan farmers and the food and agriculture economy.