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Top Story

Annual Meeting Celebrates Local Farmers

Genesee County Farm Bureau celebrates it's centennial anniversary by showcasing area farmers


Genesee County Farm Bureau celebrated its 100-year anniversary at their 2019 Annual Meeting on September 25, 2019.

Highlights of the event included a video presentation of area farmers who were interviewed regarding agriculture in the Genesee County community through the years and the impact of the Farm Bureau organization.  Members were asked questions including what made them want to join Farm Bureau and what the future of agriculture looked like to them.

“I still think there is a great deal of promise in agriculture” said John Jelinek of Davison adding “I have a couple of grandsons who help on the farm now and I hope at least one of them carries it on in the future.”  John also explained that he joined Farm Bureau because of the legislative initiatives which have kept him a member throughout the years.

Members shared a variety of reasons for their involvement in Farm Bureau including youth leadership opportunities, policy development and the insurance products geared toward farms. "I first joined Farm Bureau almost 60 years ago because the insurance really looked out for farmers and was made specially for farms" said Henry Jennings of Swartz Creek adding "I have had really good care with Farm Bureau Insurance over the years".

The video showcased members sharing heartwarming and interesting details of the hardships they experienced during their lifetime on their family farms.   “I had a new baby, a farm and cows to take care of when my husband left for the war” shared Irma Barden of Mt. Morris when speaking about the hardest time she ever experienced when her husband Joe Barden left for Word War II.  “It was very, very hard”. 

The video project was filmed and produced by volunteer Sonja Lapak and proved to be a rewarding way to include older members who have become less involved over the years and capture their histories in a meaningful way.  “Thank you for making my Mom feel valued” said member Sandy Smith, daughter of Irma Barden. 

The annual meeting also included the presentation of the Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award to Jeffrey Knickerbocker of Knickerbocker farms who was nominated by his peers for his lifetime of commitment and dedication to agriculture. 


Genesee County Farm Bureau celebrated its 100-year anniversary at their 2019 Annual Meeting on September 25, 2019.

County News

Annual Meeting Celebrates Local Farmers

Genesee County Farm Bureau celebrates it's centennial anniversary by showcasing area farmers


Genesee County Farm Bureau celebrated its 100-year anniversary at their 2019 Annual Meeting on September 25, 2019.

Highlights of the event included a video presentation of area farmers who were interviewed regarding agriculture in the Genesee County community through the years and the impact of the Farm Bureau organization.  Members were asked questions including what made them want to join Farm Bureau and what the future of agriculture looked like to them.

“I still think there is a great deal of promise in agriculture” said John Jelinek of Davison adding “I have a couple of grandsons who help on the farm now and I hope at least one of them carries it on in the future.”  John also explained that he joined Farm Bureau because of the legislative initiatives which have kept him a member throughout the years.

Members shared a variety of reasons for their involvement in Farm Bureau including youth leadership opportunities, policy development and the insurance products geared toward farms. "I first joined Farm Bureau almost 60 years ago because the insurance really looked out for farmers and was made specially for farms" said Henry Jennings of Swartz Creek adding "I have had really good care with Farm Bureau Insurance over the years".

The video showcased members sharing heartwarming and interesting details of the hardships they experienced during their lifetime on their family farms.   “I had a new baby, a farm and cows to take care of when my husband left for the war” shared Irma Barden of Mt. Morris when speaking about the hardest time she ever experienced when her husband Joe Barden left for Word War II.  “It was very, very hard”. 

The video project was filmed and produced by volunteer Sonja Lapak and proved to be a rewarding way to include older members who have become less involved over the years and capture their histories in a meaningful way.  “Thank you for making my Mom feel valued” said member Sandy Smith, daughter of Irma Barden. 

The annual meeting also included the presentation of the Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award to Jeffrey Knickerbocker of Knickerbocker farms who was nominated by his peers for his lifetime of commitment and dedication to agriculture. 


Genesee County Farm Bureau celebrated its 100-year anniversary at their 2019 Annual Meeting on September 25, 2019.

2018 Genesee County Annual

Planning for the 2018 County Annual Meeting is in full swing!  Mark your calendars for the event to take place on Tuesday, September 18.  The event will return to a past favorite location,  the Flint Elks Lodge located at 7177 E. Maple Ave., Grand Blanc, Michigan 48439.  A reception will begin at 6:00 PM followed by a buffet dinner at 6:30. 

The evening will include an awards presentation and the Board of Directors election.

Invitations will go out sometime in August, if you have any questions please contact Jennifer at (810) 350-9513.

Mark your calendars for the 2018 Genesee County Annual Meeting! The event will take place Tuesday, September 18 at the Flint Elks Lodge.

State News




The third class of Michigan Farm Bureau’s Academy for Political Leadership is set to convene with a pandemic-adjusted summer schedule instead of its usual winter time frame. COVID-19 restrictions led the group to put off meeting in person until a time when they can, hopefully, convene in person.

Eight participants are scheduled to meet in June, July, August and September:

  • Ed Scheffler — Lenawee County
  • Allan Robinette — Kent County
  • Loren King — St. Joseph County
  • Maria Carlin — Shiawassee County
  • Logan Crumbaugh — Gratiot County
  • Nadene Berthiaume — Saginaw County
  • Byron Fogarasi — Arenac County
  • Brad Lubbers — Allegan County

We’ll learn more about the participants as this year’s academy approaches.

MFB’s Academy for Political Leadership is designed for Farm Bureau members interested in politics and government. Some participants aspire to public office themselves or seek to learn how to support office-holders, while others simply want to learn more about how government works.

Content addressed through the course of the academy includes what it takes to run an effective campaign, election law, fundraising, and more.

The academy takes place every other year in non-election years. Contact your county Farm Bureau if you or someone you know is interested in taking part in a future class.

MFB staff contacts: Matt Kapp, 517-679-5883, and Melissa Palma, 517-323-6740


The third class of Michigan Farm Bureau’s Academy for Political Leadership is set to convene with a pandemic-adjusted summer schedule instead of its usual winter time frame.

By Nicole Jennings



Farm Bureau events like Rep. Moolenaar’s Dinner on the Farm took on a different look during the pandemic. Moving forward it’s important to stay mindful of the some of what we’ve learned over the past year.

If you’re anything like me, you probably look back at 2020 and still wonder, “what the HECK was that?!?”

But in the swirl of uncertainty, a global pandemic, social distancing and stay-at-home orders, county Farm Bureaus across the board still found made massive success. From a fantastic membership year, events abiding by restrictions, county annuals, board meetings, tele-town halls… You name it, the county Farm Bureaus did it. At a time when much of the world took a pause, our members persevered and found alternative ways to accomplish their goals and showcase the value of membership in our organization.

In doing so, leaders and members switched up a lot this past year and walked away with new and exciting ideas. We all mastered the subtle art of virtual meetings, sitting through our fair share of calls via Zoom and WebEx.

Unique ideas like virtual coffee hours with legislators, online trivia nights, online contests, virtual 5-Ks and virtual farm tours are all options that can bring people a little closer together even when we can’t join in person.

Social distancing is a term we’ve all come to know all too well over the past year. Yet many events were still able to take place.

Drive-through county annuals were happening throughout the state! Members revived drive-in movies, organized countywide scavenger hunts and convened outdoor summer picnics and tailgates.

Utilizing some of those skills we’ve all acquired will come in handy as we plod through winter. Sledding, snowshoeing, ice fishing tournaments and skiing are all snowy engagement opportunities that Farm Bureau leaders can provide for members and hopefully take some of the chill out of Old Man Winter.

New ideas are one thing. Now, how do we share our upcoming events with members? Social media, postcards, Farm Gate and your county Farm Bureau website are all great ways to spread the word.

Also, think back on how you got involved in the first place. How did you first find yourself at an event? Most of the time it was because another member personally invited you. Never underestimate the power of a phone call and reaching out to the uninvolved — they may very well be the next great leader your county Farm Bureau’s been looking for.

If any of these event ideas speak to you directly and you think might work in your county Farm Bureau, drop everything and reach out to your county Farm Bureau board or district director. If they don’t already have plans, they can help you make it happen. And they’d just love to hear from you.

MFB Staff have come up with a new planning and promotional guide we hope will help county Farm Bureaus brew up “alternative engagement” plans that fit their needs. Click here to see and download it! 

Originally from a Genesee County grain farm, Nicole Jennings is now an MFB Regional Manager serving members across District 9, in the Benzie-Manistee, Mason, Missaukee, Northwest Michigan and Wexford County Farm Bureaus.

Unique ideas like virtual coffee hours with legislators, online trivia nights, online contests, virtual 5-Ks and virtual farm tours are all options that can bring people a little closer together even when we can’t join in person.

Networking, communications, problem-solving, critical thinking, cultural awareness and social skills are just a few of the qualities today’s employers look for. World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute fosters those skills while encouraging young people to explore a variety of jobs and careers related to food security, science and agriculture.

The Institute is a one-day event coordinated by Michigan State University (MSU) where youth:

  • Present research and recommendations on how to solve key global challenges in a short speech and small group discussions with local experts.
  • Connect with other student leaders from across Michigan to share ideas, identify solutions to these problems and build lasting friendships.
  • Interact with global leaders in science, agriculture, industry and policy.
  • Take part in educational sessions to explore current research and issues in food, agriculture, natural resources, international development and life sciences.
  • Meet innovative professionals, researchers, professors and college students working to end hunger and poverty and improve food security in Michigan and around the world.

This year’s Institute takes place via Zoom from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 6; participation is free.

Students in grades 7-12 during the 2020-21 school year are eligible to register by submitting a two to five page paper (see link below) by April 1. Online registration for youth participants and their adult teachers or mentors begins March 1 at https://events.anr.msu.edu/wfpmiyi2021/

Top-performing participants will be considered as possible delegates to represent Michigan at the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute in Des Moines, Iowa (or virtually) this October.

Check out this video for more information, or contact Katie Eisenberger or your local 4-H county coordinator.

World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute fosters those skills while encouraging young people to explore a variety of jobs and careers related to food security, science and agriculture.

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