GRAND RAPIDS — Former Michigan legislator and Hiawathaland Farm Bureau member Tom Casperson’s lifetime commitment to agriculture is being remembered with Michigan Farm Bureau’s Distinguished Service to Agriculture award — the organization’s highest honor.
Casperson’s family attended Farm Bureau’s 102nd State Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids with wife Diane receiving the award in his honor. He died in 2020, but his legacy in the Michigan House and Senate still benefits Michigan’s agriculture community.
Casperson represented the 108th district in the Michigan House of Representatives from 2003 to 2009. He served as the vice chair of the House Transportation Committee and a member of the Agriculture and Resource Management; Land Use and Environment; and Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security committees. He then served in the Michigan Senate from 2011 to 2018, representing the 38th district.
business for 27 years. | Photo by Michigan Farm Bureau
During Casperson’s tenure in the state House, he authored 20 Public Acts, two of which directly affected the forestry industry. One was the “Crib Truck Bill” which addressed the cause of a fatal log spill accident, a tragedy that led to Casperson's first run for elected office. The other was the “Healthy Forest Package,” a group of bills requiring the Department of Natural Resources to certify Michigan's forests as sustainable forests.
While in the state Senate, Casperson introduced a wide variety of bills, with 25 signed into law during his first term, including the transformative Land Cap, which provides restrictions on land that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources can purchase. Another of Casperson’s bills ensures the state fulfills its obligation to pay local units of government payments in lieu of taxes based on the state's land ownership. He also authored legislation to grant the Michigan Natural Resource Commission the authority to establish a wolf hunt season.
Prior to his service in the state House, he worked at his family's log trucking business, Casperson and Son Trucking, for 27 years. He owned the business for a decade.
“Tom was a dedicated supporter of the UP, its citizens and natural resource production,” said MFB President Carl Bednarski.
“He had a common-sense approach to solving problems. His passion for the forestry industry was evident. He was an outstanding ambassador for the trade and advocate for those involved. And he took time to listen to the concerns of his fellow Farm Bureau members, no matter the issue.”
Along with MFB’s two Silver Plow Awards, Casperson was the recipient of numerous others, including Advocate of the Year from the Michigan Manufacturers Association, The Tuebor Award presented by Michigan Forest Products Council, legislative leadership awards from Great Lakes Timber Professionals and the County Road Association, the Special Volunteer Award presented by the Michigan Association of Timbermen, and the National Logging Safety & Innovations Award from the American Logging Council.
Click here to watch the video presentation of the award.