NOTE: Transcribed interviews and B-Roll are available for download here.
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It's not every day that you see hundreds of Michigan farmers come together in the same room to talk about the future of agriculture. In fact, it only happens once a year.
Michigan Farm Bureau's 102nd State Annual Meeting kicked off in Grand Rapids Tuesday, brining more than 400 delegates from across Michigan who represent more than 40,000 Farm Bureau members.
"This is huge for our members to be able to come here and take part in this. A lot of farmers are not done harvesting crops right now. There are a lot of crops out there in the field, but they see the need to be here, and they will take time away from their farms; they’ll shut everything down and they’ll come here for two days to talk policy and to talk agriculture," said Michigan Farm Bureau President Carl Bednarski, a Tuscola County sugar beet farmer.
During the two-day event, delegates are discussing and voting on grassroots policy proposals coming directly from farmers, including a new policy focusing on how farms can help sequester carbon.
"Farmers are always looking at the environment. This is what they live on; they need the water and the land, so they are the ones who are going to take care of that, and people don’t realize how much farmers can do to sequester carbon. I mean they are not the problem; they’re the solution," Bednarski said.
Nationwide supply chain issues are also on the minds of farmers, with a focus on what role agriculture can play in getting things back on track.
"We’ve taken a look at supply chain and is there things we can do within our fields here to help alleviate some of the bottlenecks in the supply chain whether in meat packing, food processing, logistics, those types of things. Are there ways that we can help fix some of those issues."
The 2021 State Annual Meeting continues Wednesday.