Delegate action at Michigan Farm Bureau’s 103rd Annual Meeting brought few changes to the leadership lineup atop the state’s largest agricultural organization. The meeting’s second day, Nov. 30, began with the organization’s 400-member delegate body electing some trusted names to the MFB Board of Directors.
MFB President Carl Bednarski (Tuscola County) was reelected to his at-large seat and position as board president. First elected president in 2014, Bednarski farms near Caro with his wife Lisa and their three sons, growing corn, dry beans, sugar beets, soybeans and wheat.
District 7 Director Michael DeRuiter will continue as the board’s Vice President. Other members of the board’s executive committee include third-member Mike Fusilier from Washtenaw County, Ben LaCross from Leelanau County, and Jennifer Lewis from Hillsdale County.
New leaders helming MFB’s state-level Young Farmer and Promotion & Education Committees will represent those vital program areas on the MFB Board of Directors.
Incoming chairs Lane Grieser (left) and Jess Erler will represent MFB’s state-level Young Farmer and Promotion & Education Programs on the organization’s board of directors.
Montcalm County’s Lane Grieser succeeds outgoing Young Farmer Chair Mitch Kline on the MFB board. Grieser and his wife Holly raise cattle, sheep and hay near Six Lakes.
Osceola County horseman Jess Erler succeeds Nancy Thelen as chair of the state Promotion & Education committee. Erler works alongside his parents on their cow-calf operation near Reed City. He and his wife Chelsea operate Cowboy Logic LLC, a horsemanship services provider near Chase.
Eligible candidates for MFB district director positions must be “directly and actively engaged in farming as owners and/or operators of farms whose primary interest is in farming,” and may not be employed full-time in an occupation other than farming, nor serving in a county, state or national elective office.
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. Incumbent directors reelected to the board were:
- Jennifer Lewis — District 2 (Branch, Calhoun, Hillsdale, Jackson, Lenawee)
- Jeff Sandborn — District 4 (Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Ottawa)
- Travis Fahley — District 6 (Huron, Lapeer, Sanilac, St. Clair, Tuscola)
- Michael Mulders — District 8 (Bay, Gratiot, Isabella, Midland, Saginaw)
- Leona Daniels — District 10 (Arenac, Clare, Gladwin, Huron Shores, Iosco, Ogemaw)
- David Bahrman — District 12 (the entire Upper Peninsula)
Not up for reelection this year are at-large directors and those representing odd-numbered districts:
- Brigette Leach — District 1 (Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, Van Buren)
- Mike Fusilier — District 3 (Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Washtenaw, Wayne)
- Stephanie Schafer — District 5 (Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, Ingham, Shiawassee)
- Michael DeRuiter — District 7 (Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Osceola)
- Ben LaCross — District 9 (Benzie, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Manistee, Missaukee, Wexford)
- Patrick McGuire — District 11 (Alcona, Alpena, Antrim, Charlevoix, Crawford, Emmet, Iosco, Kalkaska, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle, Roscommon)
- Doug Darling — at-large, Monroe County
- Paul Pridgeon — at-large, Branch County
Michigan Farm Bureau is the state’s largest farm organization, representing the interests of more than 40,000 farmer members.