Junior Farm Bureau

To help set the stage for another Young Farmer Leaders’ Conference (Feb. 9-11 in Kalamazoo), here’s a photo of some Junior Farm Bureau members—the forerunner of today’s Young Farmer program—inside the Michigan House of Representatives, circa 1951-1952.

Gary Randall’s inquiry about this image led former Dist. 108 State Representative—and Iron Range Farm Bureau member—Ed McBroom to seek the insights of Michigan State Capitol Historian Valerie Marvin. Seeing it was taken inside the House Chamber, Ms. Marvin consulted a manual containing names that perfectly match the roster board (top right corner) and dating it to 1951 or 1952. Her research suggests the man on the right (shaking hands with the student) is Rep. Einar Erlandsen of Delta County. “It’s a little hard to tell, as this is a side shot, but he seems to be the closest match to any of the U.P. reps from that era,” Marvin said. She’s also confident the light-suited man standing in the foreground (left) is Rep. James Goulette of the Dickinson District, comprised of Dickinson and Menominee counties.

Junior Farm Bureau began in 1935 for members aged 19-26—too old for 4-H Club and vocational work, but who would likely soon be farming. The program changed its name to Farm Bureau Young People in 1957 and again in 1966 to Farm Bureau Young Farmers. Despite the name changes, the program’s goals remained consistent: leadership training, education, social networking and community service for the up-and-coming generation of Michigan farmers.

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