There’s a new addition to southwestern Michigan’s trophy case after the county Farm Bureaus in MFB’s District 1 — Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren — earned a national-level County Activities of Excellence Award from the American Farm Bureau Federation.
Originally held in mid-June, District 1’s Leadership Summit was its solution to the COVID pandemic cancelling this year’s usual calendar of statewide core programs, including MFB’s legislative seminars, program-centric conferences and other normal development activities.
The event targeted all county Farm Bureau board members in the five-county district, as well as prospective future leaders and county staff.
All of the nearly 80 attendees completed DiSC Assessments ahead of time to learn more about their own behavior and leadership styles. Guest speakers addressed several leadership topics, with particular focus on how attendees might work toward building influence in their respective communities back home.
“We felt it was imperative to provide an opportunity for both our current board members and promising, up-and-coming leaders to take part in a high-level leadership and personal development opportunity,” said Kalamazoo County vegetable grower Brigette Leach, who represents District 1 on the MFB Board of Directors. “Our focus was on coaching our people on how best to lead their county Farm Bureaus as a team and best understand each other.
“To compliment the DiSC Assessment component, organizers — primarily our county presidents — felt that having an event in the summer, when county leaders could most easily come together, would benefit all the county Farm Bureaus in terms of working together at a regional level.
“Each county president led a portion of the program; it really became a team project for the district and allowed the county Farm Bureaus to identify and develop their leaders and strengthen their succession plans.”
The win makes District 1 eligible for showcasing its winning activity — a districtwide leadership summit — at AFBF’s 2022 Annual Convention in Atlanta alongside 17 other honorees from across the country.