Michigan Farm Bureau’s policy machine for 2022 is coming to life and building a head of steam as the calendar pages flip toward December. County and regional policy development (PD) sessions are under way, and the coming weeks will see a flurry of activity among the state-level commodity and issue-advisory teams that also feed into the process.
County policy development committees are forming, meeting, discussing issues and drafting the recommendations they’ll present for approval at the county annual meetings that start this month. That’s right: August!
Now is the time for policy-minded regular members to pitch in and contribute their voices to Farm Bureau’s grassroots process. To be part of your county’s policy development team, reach out to your county PD chair through the county office.
It’s also time to raise your hand if you’re interested in representing your county as a voting delegate at MFB’s 2022 State Annual Meeting, Nov. 29-30 in Grand Rapids. Again, contacting your county administrative manager (or MFB Regional Manager) is a good place to start.
Delegates will also convene earlier in November at district-level PD meetings that form a central component of the PD process. (More on those below.)
Another door into the PD party is perfect for those still preferring remote means: Members can submit recommendations remotely using MFB’s online Policy Amendment Form.
Some regional policy kickoffs are also happening, like the District 11 forum last week in Charlevoix.
“As expected, bovine tuberculosis was a hot topic,” reported MFB North Regional Manager Matt Frollo after the event. “The importance of being able to control deer population on state land and getting rid of deer feed plots in the TB area were identified as major priorities.”
Less anticipated was the extent of discussion around cannabis, but several members in attendance felt strongly that MFB should have policy on cannabis propagation, processing, testing and safety standards — like any other commodity.
Other topics on northern members’ minds include wind and solar power, meat processing, input costs, access to federal guest-worker programs and holding politicians accountable for squaring their voting records with MFB policy. The common themes of government overreach and rogue regulatory agencies led to talk of Michigan matching its policy to AFBF’s on regulatory review and reform.
“The open dialog allowed for everyone to be heard,” Frollo said. “Those who spoke were met with compassion, support and respect. It was a great start to our policy development season and a great reminder that member-written policy adds tremendous value to the Farm Bureau membership.”
Commodity, issue advisory
Also feeding MFB’s policy engine are 13 state-level commodity and issue-advisory committees:
- Aquaculture & Commercial Fishing
- Direct Marketing & Agritourism
- Dry Bean & Sugar Beet
- Economic Development
- Feed Grains, Oilseeds & Wheat
- Fruit & Vegetable
- Livestock & Poultry
- Natural & Environmental Resources (NERAC)
- Nursery & Greenhouse
Most of these groups have upcoming meetings scheduled for conferring on policy recommendations that will feed directly into the state PD committee meetings in early October, parallel with the counties’ input.
District PD dates
One change the pandemic wrought upon Michigan Farm Bureau’s State Annual Meeting is the innovation of district-level PD meetings in the weeks leading up to the full delegate body meeting in Grand Rapids. Members were quick to adapt to the format and chose to retain it even as pandemic restrictions continue to lift.
Dates, times and venues for all 12 districts are now set:
- District 1 — Nov. 14, 6:30 p.m.; Delta Hotel, 2747 S. 11th St, Kalamazoo
- District 2 — Nov. 17, 6 p.m.; Olivia's Chop House, 205 E. Chicago St. Jonesville
- District 3 — Nov. 10, 6:30 p.m.; Weber's Hotel & Restaurant, 3050 Jackson Road, Ann Arbor
- District 4 — Nov. 10, 6 p.m.; Stonewater Country Club, 7177 Kalamazoo Ave., Caledonia
- District 5 — Nov. 3, 6:30 p.m.; Comstock Inn, 300 E. Main St., Owosso
- District 6 — Nov. 3, 7 p.m.; Beagio's Pizza, 5795 Sanilac Rd., Kingston
- District 7 — Nov. 10, 6:30 p.m.; The Shack, 2263 W. 14th St., White Cloud
- District 8 — Nov. 10, 6 p.m.; Courtyard by Marriott, 2400 East Campus Dr., Mt Pleasant
- District 9 — Nov. 10, 6 p.m.; Evergreen Resort, 7880 Mackinaw Trail, Cadillac
- District 10 — Nov. 3, 9:30 a.m. to noon; Buck's Country Cookin’, 105 Plaza Dr., West Branch
- District 11 — Nov. 3, 6 p.m.; Big Buck Brewery, 550 S. Wisconsin Ave., Gaylord
- District 12 — Nov. 3, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Holiday Inn, 1951 US-41, Marquette
At these meetings State Annual Meeting delegates will put the finishing touches on proposals vetted by the state-level PD committee in October, completing the slate the whole delegate body will consider Nov. 29-30 in Grand Rapids.