Daryl Griner is a motivated leader, seeing the Cass County Farm Bureau board and its members through a year of cancelled events, empty fairgrounds and shuttered offices. You wouldn’t know it judging by the county Farm Bureau’s calendar, though.
Sweeping orders from the State of Michigan have done little to diminish Cass County’s efforts to offer members quality programs. Since the pandemic started the board has held virtual monthly board meetings. They’ve also held several events including an auto reform workshop with local agents, a legislative town hall and the county annual meeting. Their willingness to overcome the challenges of 2020 have continued into the New Year.
‘Membership Means More: Meet Your Legislator’ was the first in a series of events scheduled in 2021 for Cass County members. Membership co-chair Dennis Wooden kicked things off with an update.
“From educating consumers and children about agriculture through events like our annual ice cream social and farm tour to our school FARM Crate program to developing Farm Bureau policy on important ag issues for our members to holding legislative opportunities like this,” Wooden said, “Farm Bureau is here to serve you and agriculture each and every day.”
Attendees were able to engage with special guests Dist. 78 State Rep. Brad Paquette and Dist. 21 State Sen. Kim LaSata. Discussion ranged from hemp production to Governor Whitmer and the current MDHHS directives. Senator LaSata thanked the farmers in attendance, recognizing their efforts as essential workers as they continue to “feed the nation.”
“With these two legislators much light was shed through their viewpoints being in such committees as appropriations and energy,” Wooden said. “As Farm Bureau members, we especially need to have the ear and connections with our legislators any time we can. This was a great opportunity to do so.
“This was a great option for us to reach out and stay connected with our member base.”
Membership co-chair Shane Harris shared similar thoughts.
“I feel that it’s beneficial with respect to access to our local legislators,” Harris said. “As a grassroots organization, we have to work with our local representatives to help cultivate solid relationships that will properly convey Farm Bureau policies.”
Not content to wait for the pandemic to subside, the board is already looking ahead. Planning is underway to partner with MSUE for a virtual conference for students, focusing on ag careers in February. FARM Crate subscriptions were awarded to teachers. A poster contest is scheduled for later in the spring, and the ice cream social and farm tour looms large — a beloved tradition sorely missed by a pandemic-fatigued public.
President Griner summed up his agenda nicely: “Let’s get back to work!”
Luckily, for the members of Cass County Farm Bureau, he never stopped.
Pauline Harris is the administrative manger for the Cass County Farm Bureau.