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Big-time local food donations earn Van Buren, Lapeer Champions of Excellence honors

From baby chicks to processed birds, Van Buren County Farm Bureau’s Operation Drumstick connected grassroots resources with local ag businesses to generate 2,000 pounds of meat for food banks.
Date Posted: October 27, 2022

Designed to acknowledge county Farm Bureaus’ efforts in advocating for agriculture and engaging members, MFB’s annual Champions of Excellence recognition is awarded annually in two categories, Involvement and Grassroots.

Let’s meet our last pair of excellent champions for 2022:

Van Buren

With food bank utilization up and donations going in the opposite direction, Van Buren County Farm Bureau’s Operation Drumstick connected existing resources with practical lessons in animal production and community service.

Collaborating with local ag businesses and 4-H members, the county Farm Bureau coordinated the multi-layered project that raised and processed chickens for donation to local food banks under the Harvest for All banner.

Involvement levels stretched from local grass roots to corporate board rooms, with everyone sharing ownership in the project and its results.

Young 4-Hers learned hands-on lessons in poultry production and how their work can make a difference in their community. Their families learned about Farm Bureau’s reach, capabilities and the opportunities it offers — and all said they’d do it again.

Miller Poultry donated the flock of 400 starter chicks, which the county Farm Bureau distributed among almost 20 participating 4-H families. After six weeks growing to market weight on feed donated by Cargill Nutrena, Pease Packing processed the birds at half the usual cost and donated a freezer truck for delivery.

In the end more than 2,000 pounds of locally raised meat were donated to the people of Van Buren County. Of every dozen birds raised, four went to the food banks in Hartford, Lawrence, Bangor and Decatur. Another four birds went to the families that raised them; two to each member’s 4-H club; and two for the 4-H Leaders’ Association.

The value of the 4-H and Leaders’ Association birds were multiplied by auctioning them online, raising funds for each entity and selling out in less than 45 minutes.

More value still came in the form of positive publicity for the Van Buren County Farm Bureau, thanks to thorough coverage of the project in local media.

Finally, the county Farm Bureau scored a huge involvement win, with several new and previously uninvolved members among the 120 total participants.


After their original Seed-to-Spoon Cereal Drive proved such a resounding success in the spring of 2021, local parent-teacher groups reached back out to the Lapeer County Farm Bureau, asking if they’d consider reprising the event.

“Of course we can!” was the predictable answer from Lapeer’s leaders, who got the old band back together for an even more ambitious springtime cereal drive this spring.

The 2022 iteration of Seed-to-Spoon reached two more schools than in year one, and five local food pantries.

To learn more about how this creative effort combines philanthropic charity with a sprinkling of practical ag education, check out this article about the original Seed-to-Spoon Cereal Drive!

Media Contacts
Sarah Pion headshot

Sarah Pion

Southwest Advanced Regional Manager
[email protected]
Laken Polega portrait.

Laken Polega

Thumb Regional Manager
[email protected]

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