Tag Archives: michigan farm bureau

Great honor in District 5

In December, Kathy Walicki, district support at the Michigan State University Extension office in Oceana County, was named 2014 Michigan Farm Bureau Volunteer of the Year.

Kathy was Michigan Farm Bureau’s Volunteer of the Month in April of 2014, and a panel of Farm Bureau staff chose her Volunteer of the Year to be honored during a Dec. 3 ceremony. Chosen from among the previous 12 volunteers of the month, Michigan Farm Bureau’s Volunteer of the Year award goes to a member demonstrating outstanding commitment and focused efforts toward a Farm Bureau program or event.

Specifically, Kathy showed exemplary leadership by bringing together several Oceana County commodity organizations during National Agriculture Week in March for a celebratory banquet. As lead organizer of the event, she worked individually with each group to coordinate efforts and unite them for a special evening of recognition and honors.

She tells her Michigan Farm Bureau story best in her interview, which you can see here:

Congratulations, Kathy!

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4-H gala launches campaign and recognizes awardees

I’m very excited to share that on Oct. 3, the Michigan 4-H Foundation hosted the 4-H Town and Country Gala for Michigan’s Youth at the Downtown Market in Grand Rapids. This gala launched the Campaign for Michigan 4-H’s Future, and honored recipients of the Michigan 4-H Citation Award, the members of the 4-H Emerald Clover Society Class of 2014 and the Michigan Farm Bureau 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Award winners.

Kent County 4-H alumnus Dick Posthumus, former Michigan lieutenant governor who was inducted into the 4-H Emerald Clover Society in 2002, served as the master of ceremonies
The following awards were presented:

  • Michigan 4-H Citation Award is the highest recognition presented by Michigan 4-H. The contributions of honorees have served to expand the capacity of Michigan 4-H to make positive impacts on the lives of Michigan’s young people in significant and meaningful ways.
  • The Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society honors Michigan 4-H alumni whose professional leadership and community service reflect the ultimate outcome of 4-H membership – extraordinary use of an individual’s head, heart, hands and health to make communities, the country and the world better places in which to live.
  • The Michigan Farm Bureau 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Award (funded by the Michigan Farm Bureau 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Endowment Fund) recognizes outstanding achievements of Michigan 4-H volunteers or groups who have exhibited excellence in 4-H youth education and leadership development in the areas of 4-H beef cattle; dairy cattle; goats; horses; horticulture, crops and soils; poultry; rabbits; sheep; swine; or veterinary science. Honorees designate a $1,000 award to a 4-H agricultural program of their choice.

4-H Citation Award recipients were Pamala R. Babbitt of Muskegon and the Michigan Division of the Woman’s National Farm and Garden Association.

The Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society inductees were Jamie Clover Adams, Lansing; Kelly Boles Chapman, Bellevue; state Sen. Judy K. Emmons, Sheridan; state Sen. Joseph R. Hune, Fowlerville; Betsy McPherson Knox, East Lansing; Harmony L. Nowlin, Elwell; Matthew T. Shane, Manchester; Douglas A. Sprik, Hamilton; Doris Stuever, Lynn; Susan L. Safford Traubenkraut, Frankenmuth; and Karen L. Waite, Mason.

The Michigan Farm Bureau 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Award recipients were Marci René Charest, Lansing; Patti Christmas, Eaton Rapids; and Ray Kuehnlein, Monroe.


Congratulations to all recipients!

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Senior Extension educator receives Michigan Farm Bureau Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award

Fresh off a holiday where we note why we are thankful and approaching another where we attempt to put in perspective what truly matters, it’s never been a better time to talk about one of Michigan State University Extension’s best and brightest – Natalie Rector.

Natalie, senior MSU Extension educator specializing in manure nutrient management, was honored with Michigan Farm Bureau’s Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award at MFB’s recent annual meeting. The award is one of many Natalie, who retired Oct. 1, has received in her career, including the National Association of County Agricultural Agents Distinguished Service Award in 1994 and a Distinguished Academic Staff Award from MSU in 2004. The accolades she has received are too numerous to count, and her impact on Extension and on behalf of Extension is nearly impossible to put into words.

However, Wayne Wood, president of MFB, might have come close when he described Natalie’s contributions as “extraordinary and unrivaled.”

She has been an educator and an innovator since she started her career with Extension in 1983, first as a field crops agent and then crossing over into manure nutrient management education. She has had a profound impact on the thousands of farmers throughout Michigan she has helped, the hundreds of colleagues she has worked alongside of and the many who view her as a mentor. She’s been an inspiration for me and a great example of what makes Extension professionals special.

Visit the MFB website to read an article about Natalie’s award and to view a photo of her receiving it from MFB Vice President Mike Fusilier: http://www.michfb.com/annual/index/96/2652.

In addition, read this Battle Creek Enquirer article.

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Michigan Farm Bureau honors MSU Extension staff member

Kathy Walicki is Michigan Farm Bureau’s Volunteer of the Month for July 2012.

Kathy, support staff member for District 5 and Oceana County Michigan State University Extension office, received the award for her “unyielding dedication to the agricultural community and passion for educating youth.”

Kathy serves as co-chair of the Oceana County Farm Bureau Promotion and Education Committee, organizes the annual Oceana County Agricultural Banquet during National Agriculture Week, serves on the Board of Directors and chairs the Oceana County Farm Bureau’s Communications Committee.

Congratulations, Kathy!

Read more here

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GLLA honors leadership for common good award winner and graduates, kicks off endowment campaign

On June 11, the Great Lakes Leadership Academy (GLLA) held its Graduation Ceremony and Endowment Campaign Kickoff.

In addition, Dr. Russ Mawby, former president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) and trustee emeritus of Michigan State University, was honored as the third recipient of the William Milliken Award for Leadership for the Common Good. Dr. Mawby helped to develop the original model for an agricultural leadership program that was funded by the WKKF in the 1960s. It became known as the Kellogg Farmer Study Program that was presented by the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The program was replicated in dozens of states and other countries, and gave rise to subsequent leadership programs in Michigan, including the Michigan Agricultural Leadership Program in the 1980s and the Great Lakes Leadership Academy in recent years. Dr. Mawby’s legacy also includes having helped to create the Michigan 4-H Foundation. He and his wife Lou Ann were present at the GLLA banquet to receive the award. A summary of Dr. Mawby’s legacy was captured in this video, produced as an in-kind gift by the Michigan Farm Bureau.

Three MSU Extension colleagues were recognized as recent graduates of GLLA programs:

Sonia Joseph Joshi, outreach specialist for Michigan Sea Grant Extension and the NOAA Center of Excellence for Great Lakes and Human Health, graduated from the Leadership Advancement Program.

Bethany Prykucki, Extension educator, and Dixie Sandborn, 4-H horticulture specialist, graduated from the Emerging Leader Program.

The mission of the GLLA Leadership Advancement Program is to promote positive change, economic vitality and resource conservation, and enhance the quality of life in Michigan by encouraging leadership for the common good. The program is designed for those who are preparing for top leadership positions.

The Emerging Leader Program is a leadership development initiative designed to equip individuals who are interested in their community and the food systems and agricultural, natural resources and environment, and business and manufacturing sectors with tools for successful leadership.

Vicki Pontz, GLLA director, announced the launch of the Capital Campaign for an endowment to support the ongoing success of GLLA. With a goal of $2.5 million, Vicki announced more than $400,000 in gifts and pledges to launch the campaign. The plan is to reach the campaign goal over the next year. With these initial gifts, the campaign is getting off to a great start.

Congratulations to Dr. Mawby, to our graduates and to Vicki for a great evening of celebration!

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Michigan AgrAbility session takes place at Ag Expo

Kelly Ewalt, Michigan State University Extension AgrAbility educator, will present a session at Ag Expo this year, explaining the program, “Michigan AgrAbility – What is it?” at 2:30 p.m. on July 19 and 20 and at 9:30 a.m. on July 21 in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) tent.

 AgrAbility is a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant-funded partnership of MSUE, Easter Seals Michigan, United Cerebral Palsy of Michigan and Michigan Farm Bureau, as well as Michigan Rehabilitation Services. Michigan AgrAbility helps people with disabilities who are employed in agriculture to continue to farm and to live independently.

 Clients’ needs can vary widely. For example, through AgrAbility, clients with amputations might have additional steps put on their tractors. They might install drive-through gates so they don’t have to mount and dismount their tractors when entering pastures, and they may put in squeeze chutes to help control their animals. A client who doesn’t have the strength to push the brake or clutch petals down might receive advice on putting hand controls on tractors. One may need specially designed stairs to safely access the cab of a skid steer over the bucket.

 AgrAbility staff members will make an on-site farm assessment, locate the equipment, help with installation and assist the farmer with learning to use it.

 At Ag Expo, Kelly will demonstrate some common equipment modifications and discuss the services that AgrAbility offers.

 Visit the Michigan AgrAbility website to find out more about the program: www.michiganagrability.org

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MSUE and Farm Bureau partner to educate students about agriculture

To celebrate National Ag Week, March 13–19, and March Is Reading Month, Gratiot County Farm Bureau members and Michigan State University Extension staff members combined their talents to offer Ag in the Classroom lessons to elementary and middle school students in Gratiot County.

Three hundred students from four schools participated in activities based on the Ag in the Classroom curriculum from Michigan Farm Bureau that featured Michigan agriculture products. The students learned how farmers care for their animals, land and the environment. The activities, which match up with the state grade level content expectations for English, social studies, math and science, were a useful way to begin educating students about the value of agriculture to Michigan’s economy.

 Local farmers, Extension educators and Farm Bureau members read books to the children about agriculture and shared personal stories. 

Dan Rossman, MSUE Gratiot County senior Extension educator, reads to children.

Dan Rossman, MSUE Gratiot County senior Extension educator, reads to children during National Ag Week at Hillcrest Elementary School in Alma.

 Students created a farm charm with each bead on this handmade bracelet representing one item farmers care about.

 According to Katie McCune-Eisenberger, 4-H Youth Development Extension educator, MSUE is combining March is Reading Month, National Ag Week and Nutrition Month to promote a hands-on, interactive educational experience involving food, farmers and youth. Each elementary class is participating in a three-to-seven week in-class series of nutrition education and physical fitness through Jump Into Foods and Fitness and Pyramids Between the Pages.

 “It’s important when we’re talking about food, we also talk about who grows and cares for the food. This collaborative effort helps students put a face to their food,” says Katie. “One farmer who read to the children grows sugar beets in the field right next to the class’s window. The class learned how the sugar on their cereal is grown right outside their window! The class now plans to intentionally observe what is happening this spring when the farmer is planting. Seven of the classes will then participate in the county’s Project Rural Education Day this fall to continue the educational process.”

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4-H educator receives MFB Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award

Katie Eisenberger, Michigan State University Extension 4-H educator in Gratiot County, won Michigan Farm Bureau’s (MFB) Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award. Katie was honored Dec. 1 at MFB’s 91st Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids. The Excellence in Agriculture Award recognizes young farmers, between the ages of 18 and 35, who do not derive the majority of their income from a personally owned agricultural operation but who actively contribute to and grow through their involvement in Farm Bureau and agriculture. Read more about Katie, her work in Extension and the award here.

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Ag Day at the Capitol

It’s not every day that you can stroll through our state Capitol building and sample pickled asparagus spears, pick up a pine seedling for your yard, sip on Michigan grape juice, salivate over Michigan-smoked sausages and admire a blooming tulip. In fact, you can only do that once a year. And unless you were at the Capitol yesterday, you missed your chance.

Yesterday was Ag Day at the Capitol, an annual event that features Michigan agriculture and food industries to educate legislators and promote Michigan grown products to the public. Michigan Farm Bureau provides leadership for this program, and this year more than 30 commodity groups and organizations, including MSU Extension and the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station greeted legislators and their staff members as they discussed agriculture’s role in the state’s economy.

We were fortunate that the MSUE/MAES state council meeting corresponded with the event. Council members were able to talk with key legislators about the impacts of MAES research and MSUE education programs in their communities and the promise they provide for helping to strengthen Michigan’s economy. It’s always amazing to see the breadth and reach of Michigan agriculture at this event, and a reminder of how fortunate we are to work with producers, processors and consumers in this fundamentally important industry.

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Filed under Agriculture, Economic development, Farming, Food, Funding, natural resources