It’s a special week for Michigan Farm Bureau, with the Feb. 1 birthday of Clark L. Brody, MFB’s secretary-manager from 1921 until 1952 and very much a “founding father” of the organization. Brody went on to serve as vice president for public affairs until 1956 and counsel on public affairs until he retired in 1959. That same year saw the publication of Brody’s book, In the Service of the Farmer: My Life in the Michigan Farm Bureau.
Also, the organization itself celebrates its 99th birthday this Sunday, Feb. 4. Pictured above are Michigan Farm Bureau’s founding group of county presidents in front of what is now known as Justin S. Morrill Hall of Agriculture on the campus of Michigan State University (then MAC—Michigan Agricultural College.)
The photo was most likely taken during Michigan Farmers’ Week, hosted by MAC Feb. 3-7, 1919. Headquartered in room 115 of Ag Hall, Farmers’ Week offered those interested in agriculture an opportunity to come together to share ideas and concerns, and learn about agricultural developments in lectures, demonstrations and lab work.
“On February 4, 1919, the county agents and farmers from fifty-seven county farm bureaus met in the lecture room of the Horticultural Building at Michigan Agricultural College,” Brody wrote in In Service of the Farmer. “There ensued a lengthy, bitter discussion on the ways and the extent to which the Michigan farmer was being exploited.”
It was that discussion that led those counties to form—that same day—the organization originally known as the Michigan State Farm Bureau. Today, MFB remains the largest, most successful farm organization in the state.