More Local History grants headed to county Farm Bureaus
Well-deserved grant awards are being disbursed to 11 county Farm Bureaus that laid out exciting plans for sharing their local agricultural history with their members and communities in the coming months. Here’s a quick look at what they have in store!
Ottawa County’s Local History Team is sharing the organization’s legacy as part of an A-to-Z exhibit at the Tri-Cities Historical Museum in Grand Haven: “F is for Farm Bureau.”
The Local History Team in Ottawa County has a lot of ground to cover but an equal amount of passion and know-how among its members.
Ottawa’s already been chosen to partner with a local museum on an exhibit celebrating its own 100th anniversary. In an exhibit running the length of the alphabet, ‘F’ is represented by the local Farm Bureau. When that exhibit closes, the historical items on display there will travel to a local library, then a nearby farm museum.
The displays are a key component of Ottawa’s strategy to reach a large segment of the non-farming public.
To document its strong and diverse farming heritage, Ottawa County plans to compile a photo book and may seek to publish an article in Michigan History Magazine.
A dinner devoted to honoring past county presidents is on tap to thank them for their hard work toward serving the interests of local farmers.
Calhoun County’s Local History Team is making tri-fold table tents with a then-and-now theme for distribution to area restaurants. One side will be devoted to historic images related to the county Farm Bureau, another to county and state ag facts, and the third focused on national facts.
They’re developing educational displays using similar content for use at the county fair milk booth and the county annual meeting.
Team members are also working on video interviews with members sharing their memories of Calhoun County Farm Bureau’s past, issues of the day and the value of belonging to the organization. The video will be shared at the county annual meeting.
“We look forward to involving our members in gathering our history,” said County President Andrea Boughton. “A large group of members will be involved with the interviews. We’re also reaching out to family members of former presidents and state board members to borrow pictures and mementos.”
Long-time members will be recognized at Calhoun’s annual meeting, and creating a member-designed float for entry in area parades is under consideration.
“Having tri-folds in restaurants and a float in local parades will be a great way to reach the non-farming community,” Boughton said. “That is one of our goals in this project, to share our county Farm Bureau with our non-farming community: what we do, how long we’ve been around and our impact on the community.”
Efforts here are focused on the county annual meeting in August at the Gratiot County Fairgrounds. Team members there will man a local history display, serve up Farm Bureau’s Centennial Ice Cream and hand out to attendees engraved centennial ice cream scoops.
Exploring a path not many counties have explored, Gratiot wants to involve local 4-H and FFA kids at its county annual as well.
“Not all of them are current members but this is a great opportunity to showcase our impact and longevity in agriculture,” said Gratiot’s county president, Erin Humm, who hopes to drive home Farm Bureau’s strength and dedication to it members and the greater community.
“We’re also extending invitations to our annual meeting to local media, organizations and elected officials to continue communicating and showcasing the value and strength of our grass roots.”
Centennial celebrations in Ionia County will focus on the county annual dinner in August with a display of memorabilia and member recognition. Ionia’s Local History Team is focused on member appreciation, thanking those who have contributed to the organization for their efforts supporting local farmers over the past 100 years.
Program books will feature historical photographs and highlight some of the county Farm Bureau’s milestones. Veteran members will be recognized and gifted with tokens of appreciation for their service to the local farming community.
All regular members of the Ionia County Farm Bureau are invited to attend, in addition to several special guests and local media, in hopes of further sharing with the greater community the contributions area farmers have made over the years.
In Clare County a member-appreciation barbecue will feature displays illustrating the area’s agricultural history and tableware emblazoned with MFB’s throwback centennial logo. Attendees will also take home a special commemorative keepsake marking the event.
Coverage of the event will include additional historical information and will be shared via the local newspaper, county Farm Bureau website and social media.
Like Clare, Gladwin is adopting a centennial theme at their county annual meeting and sending attendees home with “swag bags” stuffed with door prizes.
Beyond that, attendees to the Mid-Michigan Farm and Garden Show in Gladwin found big binders full of pictures and historical documents, a large table strewn with vintage images of local farming’s yesteryear and a massive 5-by-7-foot display filled with the history of Gladwin County Farm Bureau.
Monroe County’s Local History celebrations started early, with a presentation of the county’s original articles of incorporation to the current county Farm Bureau board of directors by 103-year-old member Marion Yoas. An early-April event at local country club honored the service of the county organization’s past presidents at a morning breakfast event.
The parade at this summer’s Monroe County Fair Parade will boast a past-and-present theme directed specifically at the county Farm Bureau. Promotion and Education volunteers are creating a parade float to honor the past—in the form of a covered wagon—while the present will be embodied by Monroe’s Young Farmers group.
In August Monroe County’s regular members are all invited to a Heritage Picnic. A menu of classic picnic fare will be served up by the county’s Farm Bureau Insurance agents and concessions staff, and auction proceeds will benefit Harvest for All.
Additional plans include a public tour of centennial farms, a display of historic material at the county annual meeting, promotion in local media and special recognition of Monroe County’s Community Action Groups.
Lenawee County’s non-farming community is the target chosen by their Local History Team, which is planning to raise the profile of agriculture at several public-facing events, festivals and facilities throughout the year.
Large crowds of non-farmers attending midsummer parades and fairs will find a strong presence from the farming community in the form of poster exhibits, giveaway items, farm implement “floats” and farmers themselves.
Other focal points will be local museums located in Adrian and Blissfield, where exhibits will illustrate the deep roots agriculture has set down in the county’s deep, rich soils.
Mecosta County Farm Bureau members are in for a treat at their joint annual meeting with Montcalm, where they’ll take in a slide show of vintage photographs documenting the history of local agriculture.
Longtime members will also be a focus of the festivities. Twenty-three Mecosta County Farm Bureau members have been on the rolls there for more than 50 years—two of them for an amazing 70 years!
“We hope our members realize and take pride in being part of such an amazing organization,” said Mecosta CAM Jenn Marfio. “It says a lot about the quality of an organization to have members celebrating 50- and 70-year anniversaries!”
Celebrating their history jointly with neighboring Mecosta County at their combined annual meeting, Montcalm County Farm Bureau members will contribute to and enjoy a slide show and history exhibit focused on the region’s rich farming heritage.
Historic material will also be on display at the county fair in late June, where the county Farm Bureau’s popular ice cream booth attracts tremendous foot traffic from members and non-members alike.
“This is a great way to showcase the progress and longevity of local agriculture,” said Breann Bonga, a member of the county’s Local History Team.
The exhibits will offer members an opportunity to peruse old materials uncovered from the county office’s archives, and commemorative gifts for longstanding members will honor their service and role in the organization’s success.
St. Clair County’s 4-H and Youth Fair will host the county Farm Bureau’s centennial celebration with historical exhibits, kids’ activities and refreshments. The activities will be free to all fair attendees that day.
The same historical displays will be used at St. Clair’s annual meeting in August and again at their Project RED in September.
St. Clair’s Local History Team is also planning to share the old photos, documents and artifacts they’ve uncovered on its Facebook page.