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County News

Leader Publications

CASS COUNTY – The Cass County 4-H Program will be hosting “Making the Most of Your Market Animal Project Workshop” for youth raising and showing market animals. Hosted virtually at 5 p.m. on three consecutive Tuesdays: June 1, 8 and 15, the program will allow the youth to be able to attend the workshop in the comfort of their own home.

“Whether you are raising poultry, rabbits, lambs, goats, swine, beef or dairy feeders, you really need to have a plan in order to get the best value out of your product by getting ready for our local livestock sale,” said Cass County 4-H Program Coordinator Hailey Harman “This workshop is designed to do just that.”

The workshop is open to youth ages 9-19 years old, free of charge.  To continue reading, go to Leader Publications.
The Cass County 4-H Program will be hosting “Making the Most of Your Market Animal Project Workshop” for youth raising and showing market animals.

March is finally upon us, ushering in the start of spring and the celebration of one of the most important economic sectors in Michigan: agriculture.  Cass County, home to 798 individual farms, is especially aware of the role agriculture plays in both the economy and our culture.  Nearly $190 million has been generated by these farms, producing every commodity imaginable, from pork & beef, to corn & soybeans, fruits & vegetables, to flowers & maple syrup.  We are home to dairy farms, hog farms, maple syrup producers and apiaries. 

Cass County Farm Bureau is celebrating National Agriculture Month with a poster contest.  The P & E committee is providing third grade classrooms across the county with the book Farm to Table Milk.  They have invited teachers to read the book during Agriculture Week, March 22 through March 26, 2021.  Students are then encouraged to design a poster inspired by Farm to Table Milk.  Posters will be judged on creativity and presentation by a panel of judges from Cass County Farm Bureau and Farm Bureau Insurance.  The winning student will receive a special prize.  The winning student’s teacher will receive a $100 gift certificate for the Michigan Ag in the Classroom store.

Winners will be announced on Friday, May 7, 2021.  Check our website and Facebook for updates.


March is finally upon us, ushering in the start of spring and the celebration of one of the most important economic sectors in Michigan: agriculture. Cass County, home to 798 individual farms, is especially aware of the role agriculture plays in bot
Pauline Harris

Daryl Griner is a motivated leader, seeing the Cass County Farm Bureau board and its members through a year of cancelled events, empty fairgrounds and shuttered offices. You wouldn’t know it judging by the county Farm Bureau’s calendar, though.

Sweeping orders from the State of Michigan have done little to diminish Cass County’s efforts to offer members quality programs. Since the pandemic started the board has held virtual monthly board meetings. They’ve also held several events including an auto reform workshop with local agents, a legislative town hall and the county annual meeting. Their willingness to overcome the challenges of 2020 have continued into the New Year.

‘Membership Means More: Meet Your Legislator’ was the first in a series of events scheduled in 2021 for Cass County members. Membership co-chair Dennis Wooden kicked things off with an update.

“From educating consumers and children about agriculture through events like our annual ice cream social and farm tour to our school FARM Crate program to developing Farm Bureau policy on important ag issues for our members to holding legislative opportunities like this,” Wooden said, “Farm Bureau is here to serve you and agriculture each and every day.”

Attendees were able to engage with special guests Dist. 78 State Rep. Brad Paquette and Dist. 21 State Sen. Kim LaSata. Discussion ranged from hemp production to Governor Whitmer and the current MDHHS directives. Senator LaSata thanked the farmers in attendance, recognizing their efforts as essential workers as they continue to “feed the nation.”

“With these two legislators much light was shed through their viewpoints being in such committees as appropriations and energy,” Wooden said. “As Farm Bureau members, we especially need to have the ear and connections with our legislators any time we can. This was a great opportunity to do so.

“This was a great option for us to reach out and stay connected with our member base.”

Membership co-chair Shane Harris shared similar thoughts.

“I feel that it’s beneficial with respect to access to our local legislators,” Harris said. “As a grassroots organization, we have to work with our local representatives to help cultivate solid relationships that will properly convey Farm Bureau policies.”

Not content to wait for the pandemic to subside, the board is already looking ahead. Planning is underway to partner with MSUE for a virtual conference for students, focusing on ag careers in February. FARM Crate subscriptions were awarded to teachers. A poster contest is scheduled for later in the spring, and the ice cream social and farm tour looms large — a beloved tradition sorely missed by a pandemic-fatigued public.

President Griner summed up his agenda nicely: “Let’s get back to work!”

Luckily, for the members of Cass County Farm Bureau, he never stopped.

Daryl Griner is a motivated leader, seeing the Cass County Farm Bureau board and its members through a year of cancelled events, empty fairgrounds and shuttered offices

State News


“Dale’s an example of a traditional county Farm Bureau board member: Their world is their county — they’re dedicated.”

This article has three simple goals:

  1. Honor the memory of an active Farm Bureau member — one specific man — whose years were recently cut tragically short.
  2. Honor the unsung style of member he was: the strictly local kind, content to do good work in their familiar, comfortable corner of a much larger universe.
  3. Encourage county Farm Bureaus to do more of #2.

The ‘larger universe’ here is the greater Farm Bureau organization, with its award plaques, stage walks and grip-n-grin photos, all in the name of recognizing the indispensable work of outstanding members and counties. In an organization reliant on the efforts of volunteers, recognizing those efforts is essential.

The ‘one specific man’ in this case never saw any of that, simply because he neither sought nor desired it. He is — was — Dale Frisque, who died Aug. 5 at the age of 59, the sole casualty of a fire at the cedar mill where he’d worked his whole adult life.

That mill is in the center of Menominee County, anchoring the south end of Carney, where Dale grew up, attended high school and was the third generation to work his family’s farm. He inherited Frisque Hilltop Farms in the wake of his father’s death, and completed its transition from dairy to beef, hay and oats.

“That was my grandparents’ farm — the farm my mother grew up on,” remembers longtime Menominee leader Pete Kleiman, a first cousin of Frisque’s.

“Dale never did get married; he stayed on the farm with his mother, raised hay, corn, oats to feed the beef… Some chickens, ducks… Sold round bales in the winter to horse people.

“Kind of an old-fashioned farm, really.”

Wasn't Like That

He joined Farm Bureau in 2001, launching an impressive track record of involvement in membership events, annual meetings and other activities central to the organization.

“I was the one who talked Dale into running for the county board in the first place,” Kleiman said. “We were looking for somebody from that area; it’s hard to find folks there.”

With a regular job in town and the farm only a couple miles away, Frisque was busy but always nearby and ready to help.

“He was kind of a homebody and involved in the community as best he could — the Lions and the church and sports clubs.”

And he brought that same sturdy reliability to the Menominee County Farm Bureau board, Kleiman recalls:

“He wasn’t a board member who… Y’know some people come onto a board with an agenda and ‘Once I get done what I want to get done, I’m gone.’

“Dale wasn’t like that. He showed up every month and he was willing to offer his opinion about how to proceed with something and if he didn’t think it was a good idea, he’d say so.

“He was just never going to be that person to serve on a state committee — that just wasn’t something he wanted to do. But when we did Breakfast on the Farm we could always count on him to be there on the weekend to help out.”

Plenty to Do 

The same held true at the mill, where Dale knew every facet of the operation and could always be counted on, even when it meant stepping away for a bit.

“At the mill when things slowed down and they needed somebody to take a week off, Dale was always willing to take a voluntary leave because he always had plenty to do back on the farm,” Kleiman said.

The mill was Peterson Brothers when he started there as a teenager, then Gilbert & Bennet, then Superior Cedar after a group of its own employees bought the place. Over the years it dealt in pulpwood and fence posts and bark mulch — mountains of mulch, feeding city folks’ garden beds by the semi load.

And in an instant, innocent sawdust turned into a lethal inferno.

Most Don't Know

News of Dale’s loss came promptly the next morning, Aug. 6, straight into the gut of MFB’s state staff convening online for an informal weekly meeting. The messenger was Craig Knudson, our seasoned Regional Manager in the Upper Peninsula.

“Most of you probably don’t know him,” he started, before announcing the loss in the succinct, economic way we do when those left behind are still wondering how and why.

That Frisque’s name was unfamiliar even to longtime MFB staffers came as no surprise to Knudson, who’d shepherded Dale’s involvement for almost two decades.

“Dale’s an example of a traditional county Farm Bureau board member: Their world is their county — they’re dedicated,” Knudson said, his voice growing bolder, more insistent.

“You won’t see them at State Annual Meeting, but they’re dedicated to the county Farm Bureau at the local level.

“That’s where Dale fit in.”

Moral of the Story

Our society rewards ambition and glorifies ladder-climbing heroes striving for greatness that skeptical observers may dismiss as out of reach. On the flip side of that, we can overlook those of more moderate aspirations: “Big fish in a small pond” is not a compliment.

The message for county Farm Bureaus is simple: Be sure to support your quiet journeymen, low-profile workhorses and behind-the-scenesters who get things done outside the limelight.

An industry that values humility can’t forget to honor the humble.

The ‘larger universe’ here is the greater Farm Bureau organization, with its award plaques, stage walks and grip-n-grin photos, all in the name of recognizing the indispensable work of outstanding members and counties. In an organization reliant on t

The Emmet County Farm Bureau’s member-appreciation event, a drive-through dinner hosted by the Petoskey Culver’s restaurant, earned it District 11’s Champion of Excellence honors in Grassroots Innovation. Pictured above are Emmet leaders Ben Blaho (left) and Bill McMaster

Michigan Farm Bureau recently announced the winners of this year’s Champions of Excellence Awards, acknowledging county Farm Bureaus’ efforts toward engaging their membership and their innovative means of doing so.

Altogether this year 37 county Farm Bureaus applied for a total of 45 Champions awards in two updated categories: Grassroots and Involvement, each going above and beyond creating innovative and effective member programming.

Counties were also evaluated on their involvement statistics throughout the recently concluded membership year.

Here are our 2021 Champions of Excellence winners, by district:

Grassroots

  • District 1: Cass County Farm Bureau
  • District 2: Jackson County Farm Bureau
  • District 3: Washtenaw County Farm Bureau
  • District 4: Ionia County Farm Bureau
  • District 5: Clinton County Farm Bureau
  • District 6: Lapeer County Farm Bureau
  • District 7: Mecosta County Farm Bureau
  • District 8: Isabella County Farm Bureau
  • District 9: Mason County Farm Bureau
  • District 10: Gladwin County Farm Bureau
  • District 11: Emmet County Farm Bureau
  • District 12: Iron Range Farm Bureau

Involvement

  • District 1: Berrien County Farm Bureau
  • District 2: Calhoun County Farm Bureau
  • District 3: Oakland County Farm Bureau
  • District 4: Kent County Farm Bureau
  • District 5: Shiawassee County Farm Bureau
  • District 6: Lapeer County Farm Bureau
  • District 7: Osceola County Farm Bureau
  • District 8: Saginaw County Farm Bureau
  • District 9: Mason County Farm Bureau
  • District 10: Huron Shores Farm Bureau
  • District 11: Cheboygan County Farm Bureau
  • District 12: Iron Range Farm Bureau

One state-level winner in each category will be chosen by a panel of judges and announced at MFB’s 2022 Council of Presidents’ Conference, Feb. 2-3 in Midland.

Congratulations to all of these outstanding county Farm Bureaus for their exemplary work throughout the 2020-21 membership year!

The ideas and events submitted through the Champions of Excellence Awards process will be shared with all county Farm Bureaus so everyone can strive toward the greatness our winners have achieved.

Michigan Farm Bureau recently announced the winners of this year’s Champions of Excellence Awards, acknowledging county Farm Bureaus’ efforts toward engaging their membership and their innovative means of doing so.

Beyond all the tour hosts and expert speakers, Growing Together attendees enjoy ample opportunity to learn from perhaps their most highly esteemed and trusted resources: each other.
 

Farm Bureau members from across the state will converge Feb. 18-20 at the Amway Grand Plaza in Grand Rapids next winter for MFB’s 2022 Growing Together Conference, where the Voice of Agriculture and Young Farmer Leaders Conference collide!

Open to regular members of all ages, Growing Together focuses on the common ground shared by Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Promotion & Education programs. Attendees will take home new ideas and resources to incorporate into their county programming — everything from reinvigorating youth programming and facilitation tips to human resource applications for your farm business and managing the ups & downs of rural life.

Keynote speaker Bruce Boguski will set the stage with a presentation about how to alter our belief systems and bolster confidence en route to success. Attendees will discover the advantages of a positive attitude and use that knowledge to change frustration and negativity into a ‘can-do’ environment.

Growing Together also offers members opportunities to network during tours, at receptions and during evening entertainment. This year, all Friday tours will converge at the Grand Rapids Public Museum for a private viewing and reception with heavy hors devours. Those looking to keep the evening going can participate in a virtual GooseChase scavenger hunt, completing challenges while enjoying downtown Grand Rapids, complete with prizes for the most points earned!

A pre-dinner reception on the second night will include a county leader reception where county Young Farmer and P&E chairs and co-chairs will be recognized for their leadership. Following that dinner will be an evening of casino fun, where the only required experience will be knowing how to have a fun, laid-back time with friends old and new!

In a new option, 2022 Growing Together attendees can choose between two Friday agendas: the Take Root Farm Succession and Estate Planning Seminar (at a discounted $50 rate) or the customary tour of regional agriculture sites.

Registration will be open Jan. 3-14. Contact your county Farm Bureau to reserve your spot and stay up-to-date at http://www.michfb.com/growingtogether

Farm Bureau members from across the state will converge Feb. 18-20 at the Amway Grand Plaza in Grand Rapids next winter for MFB’s 2022 Growing Together Conference, where the Voice of Agriculture and Young Farmer Leaders Conference collide!

Coming Events

DateEvents
February2022
Wednesday
2
2022 Council of Presidents Conference
111 W Main St
Midland, MI
This is the annual conference for county Farm Bureau presidents.  The conference provides and opportunity to: * Meet peers from across the state * Help guide new county presidents as they take on their new role * Learn current state and national organization issues and develop leadership skills