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Top Story

Sparks Cedarlee Farm to host free ice cream social, farm tour

By Angie Marciniak
 

CASSOPOLIS — The sweet sound of children laughing, playing and enjoying ice cream cones will soon drown out the usual mooing that can be heard coming from the 1,600-acre dairy farm.

 

Once a year, the farmers at Sparks Cedarlee Farm, 59085 Gards Prairie Road, Cassopolis, opens the proverbial gates and let the community in to see what life is like on an active dairy farm. To sweeten the deal, they give away free ice cream and organic milk samples from Horizon Organic to anyone who attends.

The ice cream social and farm tour, now in its fifth year, will be hosted from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 25. Funded through the Cass County Farm Bureau and the United Dairy Industry of Michigan, the event offers a variety of activities for families. Folks who attend the event will park about a quarter-mile away from the barns, and will be treated to a horse-drawn wagon ride to and from the action. While there, participants can tour the farm, observe cows being milked in the milking parlor, get their face painted or play in the one-of-a-kind “sandbox.”

“One thing that’s always a big hit is a corn sandbox — kind of like a sandbox but made with corn. The kids can spend the whole day in there,” said Ken Sparks, co-owner of the farm.

Along with all of the family-friendly activities, attendees will get a free family photo taken that day that they will mail to their address after the event.

Perhaps the most-anticipated feature is the ice cream. According to Sparks, it comes directly from Plainwell Ice Cream company, served in a cake or waffle cone, and is available in eight flavors.

“We go all out to be sure everyone has the experience of eating ice cream on a real dairy farm,” Sparks said.

In past years, Sparks said they have gotten between 700 and 800 people attending the event.

“We just really enjoy being able to do this for the community. We love to open up our farm and support dairy in our community,” he said.

Among the 1,600 acres of certified organic farmland, there are 500 cows producing 3,000 gallons of milk a day, four chicken barns full of hens that lay 30,000 eggs each day and fields of corn they raise themselves to feed their animals.

To continue reading, follow this link.

County News

Sparks Cedarlee Farm to host free ice cream social, farm tour

By Angie Marciniak
 

CASSOPOLIS — The sweet sound of children laughing, playing and enjoying ice cream cones will soon drown out the usual mooing that can be heard coming from the 1,600-acre dairy farm.

 

Once a year, the farmers at Sparks Cedarlee Farm, 59085 Gards Prairie Road, Cassopolis, opens the proverbial gates and let the community in to see what life is like on an active dairy farm. To sweeten the deal, they give away free ice cream and organic milk samples from Horizon Organic to anyone who attends.

The ice cream social and farm tour, now in its fifth year, will be hosted from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 25. Funded through the Cass County Farm Bureau and the United Dairy Industry of Michigan, the event offers a variety of activities for families. Folks who attend the event will park about a quarter-mile away from the barns, and will be treated to a horse-drawn wagon ride to and from the action. While there, participants can tour the farm, observe cows being milked in the milking parlor, get their face painted or play in the one-of-a-kind “sandbox.”

“One thing that’s always a big hit is a corn sandbox — kind of like a sandbox but made with corn. The kids can spend the whole day in there,” said Ken Sparks, co-owner of the farm.

Along with all of the family-friendly activities, attendees will get a free family photo taken that day that they will mail to their address after the event.

Perhaps the most-anticipated feature is the ice cream. According to Sparks, it comes directly from Plainwell Ice Cream company, served in a cake or waffle cone, and is available in eight flavors.

“We go all out to be sure everyone has the experience of eating ice cream on a real dairy farm,” Sparks said.

In past years, Sparks said they have gotten between 700 and 800 people attending the event.

“We just really enjoy being able to do this for the community. We love to open up our farm and support dairy in our community,” he said.

Among the 1,600 acres of certified organic farmland, there are 500 cows producing 3,000 gallons of milk a day, four chicken barns full of hens that lay 30,000 eggs each day and fields of corn they raise themselves to feed their animals.

To continue reading, follow this link.

2018 State Annual Meeting



MFB’s 2018 State Annual Meeting marks the kickoff of our yearlong centennial celebration, commemorating the first 100 years    of your state Farm Bureau. This year’s annual meeting will focus on celebrating the growth, accomplishments and challenges of our first century. At the 2019 annual, we’ll recap what we’ve learned and uncovered, then set our sights on Michigan Farm Bureau’s second century!

Nearly 1,000 farmers, family members and special guests from across the state will gather in Grand Rapids for Michigan Farm Bureau's (MFB) 99th Annual Meeting.

       

Core activities include: 

  • Policy adoption
  • Award ceremonies & Young Farmer contests
  • MFB president's annual address
  • Guest speakers & special activities
  • MFB board of directors elections

For more information, including the agenda, click here
MFB's 2018 State Annual Meeting marks the kickoff of our yearlong centennial celebration, commemoration the first 100 years of your state Farm Bureau.

2018 AgriPac Endorsements


Following are the candidates designated as “Friends of Agriculture” by the Michigan Farm Bureau AgriPac Committee.  The designation constitutes an election endorsement for the November 6, 2018 General Election. 

Michigan Governor / Lt. Governor 

Bill Schuette (R) / Lisa Posthumus Lyons (R)

Attorney General

Tom Leonard (R)

Secretary of State

Mary Treder Lang (R)

Supreme Court

Kurtis T. Wilder; Incumbent
Beth Clement; Incumbent

MSU Board of Trustees

Dave Dutch (R)

U.S. Senate

Debbie Stabenow (D)

U.S. House of Representatives

District
1 Jack Bergman (R)
2 Bill Huizenga (R)
3 Justin Amash (R)
4 John Moolenaar (R)
6 Fred Upton (R)
7 Tim Walberg (R)
8 Mike Bishop (R)
9 Candius Stearns (R)
10 Paul Mitchell (R)
11 Lena Epstein (R)
12 Jeff Jones (R)

Michigan State Senate

District
7 Laura Cox (R)
8 Peter Lucido (R)
10 Michael MacDonald (R)
12 Michael McCready (R)
13 Marty Knollenberg (R)
14 Ruth Johnson (R)
15 Jim Runestad (R)
16 Mike Shirkey (R)
17 Dale Zorn (R)
19 John Bizon (R)
20 Margaret O’Brien (R)
21 Kim LaSata (R)
22 Lana Theis (R)
23 Curtis Hertel Jr. (D)
24 Tom Barrett (R)
25 Dan Lauwers (R)
26 Aric Nesbitt (R)
27 Jim Ananich (D)
28 PeterMacGregor (R)
29 Chris Afendoulis (R)
30 Roger Victory (R)
31 Kevin Daley (R)
32 Ken Horn (R)
33 Rick Outman (R)
34 Jon Bumstead (R)
35 Curt VanderWall (R)
36 Jim Stamas (R)
37 Wayne Schmidt (R)
38 Ed McBroom (R)

Michigan House of Representatives

District
2 Joe Tate (D)
3 Wendell Byrd (D)
14 Cara Clemente (D)
16 Kevin Coleman (D)
17 Joe Bellino Jr. (R)
20 Jeff Noble (R)
24 Steve Marino (R)
26 Jim Ellison (D)
30 Diana Farrington (R)
32 Pamela Hornberger (R)
33 Jeff Yaroch (R)
34 Sheldon Neeley (D)
37 Christine Greig (D)
38 Kathy Crawford (R)
42 Ann Bollin (R)
45 Michael Webber (R)
46 John Reilly (R)
47 Hank Vaupel (R)
48 Sheryl Kennedy (D)
49 John Cherry (D)
50 Tim Sneller (D)
51 Mike Mueller (R)
52 Donna Lasinski (D)
56 Jason Sheppard (R)
57 Bronna Kahle (R)
58 Eric Leutheuser (R)
59 Aaron Miller (R)
61 Brandt Iden (R)
62 Dave Morgan (R)
63 Matt Hall (R)
64 Julie Alexander (R)
65 Sarah Lightner (R)
66 Beth Griffin (R)
67 Leon Clark (R)
69 Julie Brixie (D)
70 James Lower (R)
72 Steven Johnson (R)
73 Lynn Afendoulis (R)
74 Mark Huizenga (R)
77 Tommy Brann (R)
78 Brad Paquette (R)
79 Pauline Wendzel (R)
80 Mary Whiteford (R)
82 Gary Howell (R)
83 Shane Hernandez (R)
84 Phil Green (R)
85 Ben Frederick (R)
86 Thomas Albert (R)
87 Julie Calley (R)
88 Luke Meerman (R)
89 Jim Lilly (R)
90 Bradley Slagh (R)
91 Greg VanWoerkom (R)
92 Terry Sabo (D)
93 Graham Filler (R)
95 Vanessa Guerra (D)
96 Brian Elder (D)
97 Jason Wentworth (R)
98 Sarah Schulz (D)
99 Roger Hauck (R)
100 Scott VanSingel (R)
101 Jack O’Malley (R)
102 Michele Hoitenga (R)
103 Daire Rendon (R)
104 Larry Inman (R)
105 Triston Cole (R)
106 Sue Allor (R)
107 Lee Chatfield (R)
108 Beau LaFave (R)
109 Sara Cambensy (D)
110 Gregory Markkanen (R)

Statewide Ballot Proposals

Proposal 1 - NO
Proposal 2 - NO
Proposal 3 - NO


Following are the candidates designated as "Friends of Agriculture" by the Michigan Farm Bureau AgriPac Committee.

State News

Michigan Farm Bureau

Michigan Farm Bureau’s marquee grassroots lobbying event, Lansing Legislative Seminar, is slated for Feb. 25, 2020 and promises an exciting day for members passionate about advocating for agriculture and Farm Bureau policy and learning about state legislative and regulatory issues.

Members interested in participating are encouraged to contact their county Farm Bureau before the Feb. 7 registration deadline.

While the main program begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Lansing Center, members looking to arrive early to the capital city have options for starting their day.

State Capitol Building Tours 

If you’ve never been inside Michigan’s historic capitol building — or it’s just been a while — a visit won’t disappoint! Lansing Legislative Seminar attendees can take a free guided tour of the landmark.

Tours depart the Lansing Center at 8:45 a.m. and 9:45 a.m.; pre-registration is not required. It’s a quarter-mile walk to the capitol, so dress for the weather.

AgriPac Fundraiser 

MFB’s political action committee, AgriPac, welcomes members to show their support for the organization’s efforts to elect farm-friendly candidates by attending a fundraiser at 10:15 a.m. Special guest and political speaker Patrick Haggerty promises to entertain attendees while imparting his insight into the 2020 election and his expertise on grassroots advocacy. A $50 minimum contribution is required; personal checks should be made payable to AgriPac and business checks should be made payable to FarmPac. Credit card payments will be accepted on-site. Pre-registration is encouraged and available here. 

Luncheon Program 

Lansing Legislative’s hallmark lunch program will begin promptly at 11:30 a.m. in the Lansing Center ballrooms, starting with opening remarks from MFB President Carl Bednarski.

The organization has invited the state’s four most influential legislative leaders for a panel discussion: House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering), Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake), House Minority Leader Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills) and Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint).

One ambitious county Farm Bureau will also be recognized with MFB’s annual Excellence in Grassroots Lobbying Award. The recipient will receive a $500 grant and recognition plaque for outstanding efforts to inform and influence elected officials.

Issue Sessions and Networking Break 

That afternoon, members will choose breakout sessions to attend before and after a networking break (featuring MSU Dairy Store ice cream!)

Topics will include legislative or regulatory issues impacting farms and agribusinesses, including environmental policy and water use, state budget items pertinent to the farm sector, a 2020 election preview, grassroots advocacy and more.

Legislative Reception 

Starting around 4:30 p.m. state representatives, senators and dozens of other government and regulatory leaders will begin arriving for the legislative reception, where members will visit with elected officials and discuss current agricultural issues and Farm Bureau policy priorities.

Michigan Farm Bureau’s marquee grassroots lobbying event, Lansing Legislative Seminar, is slated for Feb. 25, 2020 and promises an exciting day for members passionate about advocating for agriculture and Farm Bureau policy and learning about state le
Michigan Farm Bureau

The Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies is partnering with Talons Out Honor Flight to give Farm Bureau members who are veterans of World War II or the Korean War an opportunity to visit their respective war memorial in Washington D.C. and return to a welcome-home celebration May 9, 2020.  

The Family of Companies’ $25,000 pledge will allow for 24 veterans and 24 guardians to attend — two veteran-guardian pairs per district.

“This truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our members who’ve served their country overseas in some of the most horrible conflicts of the 20th century,” said MFB President Carl Bednarski. “The Honor Flight is about commemorating them and their service, and our priority is on honoring the most senior of our member-veterans.

“As younger men and women, they were fortunate to survive wars halfway across the globe — then returned home to work the land and help build the greatest agricultural industry the world has ever known.”

All participating veterans must be accompanied by an able-bodied guardian, responsible for physically assisting veterans prior to and during the flights to and from D.C., and during visits to memorials and Arlington National Cemetery — an active, 18-hour day. (See preliminary agenda here.)

Guardians may not be spouses or significant others and must be between 18 to 70 years of age. To make the most of this rare opportunity, county Farm Bureaus are encouraged to find guardians who are also veterans themselves.

If a district has more than two nominees, they will be selected based on the order applications were received. County Farm Bureaus can sponsor additional veterans and guardians at a cost of $500 per person (totaling $1,000 per vet-guardian pair).

Separate application forms for veterans and guardians are under development and will soon be made available to county Farm Bureau offices.

Farm Bureau members who served in WWII or Korea are encouraged to apply directly to their county Farm Bureau. The county Farm Bureau must submit completed applications to [email protected] by 4:30 p.m. Jan. 31.

For more information, contact Nicole Guilford (517-679-5665) or Jeremy C. Nagel (517-323-6585).

The Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies is partnering with Talons Out Honor Flight to give Farm Bureau members who are veterans of World War II or the Korean War an opportunity to visit their respective war memorial in Washington D.C. and return
Michigan Farm Bureau

Do you know where the latest version of your membership card is?

Most of our members say they don’t carry the card or have an expired one in their wallet. As you can imagine, the membership packet and ID card are expensive items to produce. Each year, Michigan Farm Bureau mails more than 200,000 packets to members when they join or renew their membership.

In an effort to minimize some of those costs and provide timely member information, Michigan Farm Bureau will begin emailing the membership ID card to members with valid email addresses in 2020. The email will contain the same information and resources that are sent in the mailed packets but can be more easily accessed just by pulling up the email.

The email campaign will officially launch in early 2020.

So, next time you renew your membership, be sure to look to your email inbox. Your membership card will be right there waiting for you!

For more information, email our membership services department or call 517-323-6552.


 

Coming Events

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January2020
Wednesday
29
2020 Council of Presidents Conference
111 W Main St
Midland,
Open to all county Farm Bureau presidents
February2020
Wednesday
5
2020 Voice of Agriculture Conference
800 Harker Street
Port Huron, MI
Learn new tools for connecting with consumers via social media, direct outreach, school-based events or news media at the Voice of Agriculture Conference. Hear from keynote speakers who understand the challenges of working in agriculture. Meet Farm Bureau members from across the state to share ideas for county programming. Tour agricultural businesses and farms in Michigan’s Thumb region
February2020
Friday
21
2020 Young Farmer Leaders Conference
100 Grand Traverse Village Blvd
Acme,
The Michigan Farm Bureau Young Farmer Leaders Conference is for young members between the ages of 18 and 35. This two-and-a-half-day conference unites 350 young agriculture leaders and industry experts, centers on these members’ professional and personal growth and addresses issues relevant to this generation, including leadership training, management skills and business/family relationships.
February2020
Tuesday
25
2020 Lansing Legislative Seminar
333 E. Michigan Ave.
Lansing, MI
Lansing Legislative Seminar provides an opportunity to learn from expert speakers on policy issues impacting agriculture, help legislative and regulatory leaders understand Farm Bureau policy, and share ideas and talk about local issues with fellow members.