With preferences modified and change forced by the pandemic, the state’s largest farm organization is incorporating some hard-learned lessons into revamping its biggest annual event. Michigan Farm Bureau is streamlining its 102nd Annual Meeting into a lean hybrid, wiring remote participation into its traditional in-person delegate body.
Taking place Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 in Grand Rapids, the meeting culminates the organization’s grassroots policy process, distilling and codifying its priorities for the coming year — priorities that represent the united will of 40,000 Michigan farm families producing a dizzying diversity of agricultural products.
More than 400 delegates representing Michigan’s 65 county-level Farm Bureaus will put the finishing touches on hundreds of policy proposals refined through local and regional sessions over the preceding year.
Foremost among the issues those policies address are carbon sequestration and other climate concerns, Michigan’s meat processing sector, bovine tuberculosis, agriscience education, the Michigan Agricultural Environment Assurance Program, federal regulations of waterways, and farm and commercial vehicles.
For a more comprehensive look at this year’s policy slate, see this recent detailed summary. (Not enough? Here’s the full delegate book.)
Farm Bureau’s delegate body will convene both days of the meeting, as will the returning Ag Art Gallery, a popular fundraiser benefitting the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture. Other lighter fare filling out the agenda are rooted in the organization’s outreach and leadership development programming.
Young Farmer Discussion Meet virtual semifinals narrowed the field of contestants to the “Sweet 16” who will face off in person Nov. 30. The final round will take place during that evening’s Leadership Banquet, as well as recognition of the 2021 Young Farmer Award winners and Educator of the Year.
Non-delegates will have time during the day for a sneak peek at the Promotion & Education Showcase of County Activities of Excellence that will take center stage later in the day during an evening reception.
Day two begins with an AgriPAC breakfast, featuring guest speaker Steve Ford, son of President Gerald R. Ford, followed by the High School & Collegiate Discussion Meet, which continues throughout the day as delegate session resumes.
Non-delegates are welcome to join a visit to the nearby Grand Rapids Children’s Museum.
Wednesday’s Member Engagement Luncheon will focus on recognizing Key Club recipients for their membership recruitment efforts, the Agent Charitable Fund’s fight against food insecurity, and the Presidential Volunteer of the Year.
The event concludes with the Ag Art Galley silent auction, Friends of Agriculture Reception, and the Annual Banquet centering on the presentation of this year’s Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award and the annual address from MFB President Carl Bednarski.
For more information, including a detailed schedule of events, visit https://new.michfb.com/annual-meeting.