Michigan farmers log in for policy debates


Michigan farmers log in for policy debates

Policy remained at the core of Michigan Farm Bureau’s annual meeting this week as members tuned in virtually.

Vice President Andy Hagenow says while difficult at times, adapting to a virtual format shows the tremendous responsiveness of the state’s largest farm organization. “Grassroots policy is the reason for us as an organization to be here,” he says.

Top discussions centered on amendments to Farm Bureau’s Bovine Tuberculosis policy, ag labor housing and zoning, along with three new policies for the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program, Transportation Improvement, and the Michigan Meat Processing Industry.

Delegates also passed 16 national policies to be taken up at the American Farm Bureau Federation convention next month which will also be virtual. Policies supported creating a taskforce to simplify milk pricing in the next farm bill and a livestock marketing committee to address market and packer consolidation, supply chain issues, and market disruptions.

Chris Heck of Monroe County won this year’s Discussion Meet which was virtual as well and Steve Rigoni, of the Countryside Academy in Benton Harbor, was recognized as the 2020 Educator of the Year.

Young farmer winners were also honored during the event including Terry Page of Ionia County as the Agriculture Achievement Award winner, Katelyn Thompson of Eaton County as the Excellence in Agriculture Award winner, Katelyn Packard of Washtenaw County for the Agriculture Leader Award, and Tera Baker of Berrien County received the Agriculture Employee Award.