Help

HelpAdvocate for initiatives to protect and sustain natural resources, statewide and in your community

Meet

Network with farmers locally and across the state and Influence elected officials, agency directors and policy makers

Learn

Access resources and current industry information

Discover what's happening in your local community

Save

SaveTake advantage of discounts in your own backyard
Receive discounts statewide on hotels, vehicle purchases and car rental

Top Story

Farm News Media

The case was found through routine surveillance testing required by the state’s current Memorandum of Understanding with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This is Michigan’s 81st cattle herd to be identified with bovine TB since 1998. | Photo by The Guardian

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is reporting another case of confirmed bovine tuberculosis in a Cheboygan County beef herd, located in Michigan’s Accredited Free Zone (AFZ).

The case was found through routine surveillance testing, as required by the state’s current Memorandum of Understanding with the United States Department of Agriculture. This is Michigan’s 81st cattle herd to be identified with bovine TB since 1998.

“As with all new findings of this disease in a cattle herd, additional testing will be done in the herd, and an epidemiologic investigation has been started to rule out the possibility of additional cases stemming from the affected herd,” said State Veterinarian Nora Wineland, DVM.

A key part of the investigation, says Wineland, will be whole genome sequencing, a comprehensive analysis of DNA from the TB bacteria found within this sample.

“This analysis will help to determine the source of the infection,” Wineland said, adding that it may take three months for the genome sequencing to be completed.

Bovine TB is a bacterial disease that can affect all mammals, including humans. It is known to be present in the free-ranging white-tailed deer population in specific areas of northeastern lower Michigan, and the disease can be transmitted between deer and cattle.

As a result, there are currently two TB zones within the state: a four-county area in northern lower Michigan called the Modified Accredited Zone; the remainder of the state is referred to as the Accredited Free Zone.

Although Cheboygan County is a part of the AFZ, it is also categorized as a buffer county, which is a county adjacent to the four counties of the MAZ (Alpena, Alcona, Montmorency, and Oscoda counties). As required by the Memorandum of Understanding, MDARD has been testing herds in buffer counties over the past year. This herd was identified as part of that surveillance program.

This is the first recorded case of a bovine TB-positive cattle herd in Cheboygan County; however, the disease was detected in two free-ranging white-tailed deer from the county in 2010.

While state and federal agencies are taking significant steps to manage the disease, the continued hunting of deer in this area is an important tool in maintaining healthy deer and cattle populations.

More information about bovine TB can be found at Michigan.gov/bovineTB.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is reporting another case of confirmed bovine tuberculosis in a Cheboygan County beef herd, located in Michigan’s Accredited Free Zone (AFZ).

County News

Farm News Media

The case was found through routine surveillance testing required by the state’s current Memorandum of Understanding with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This is Michigan’s 81st cattle herd to be identified with bovine TB since 1998. | Photo by The Guardian

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is reporting another case of confirmed bovine tuberculosis in a Cheboygan County beef herd, located in Michigan’s Accredited Free Zone (AFZ).

The case was found through routine surveillance testing, as required by the state’s current Memorandum of Understanding with the United States Department of Agriculture. This is Michigan’s 81st cattle herd to be identified with bovine TB since 1998.

“As with all new findings of this disease in a cattle herd, additional testing will be done in the herd, and an epidemiologic investigation has been started to rule out the possibility of additional cases stemming from the affected herd,” said State Veterinarian Nora Wineland, DVM.

A key part of the investigation, says Wineland, will be whole genome sequencing, a comprehensive analysis of DNA from the TB bacteria found within this sample.

“This analysis will help to determine the source of the infection,” Wineland said, adding that it may take three months for the genome sequencing to be completed.

Bovine TB is a bacterial disease that can affect all mammals, including humans. It is known to be present in the free-ranging white-tailed deer population in specific areas of northeastern lower Michigan, and the disease can be transmitted between deer and cattle.

As a result, there are currently two TB zones within the state: a four-county area in northern lower Michigan called the Modified Accredited Zone; the remainder of the state is referred to as the Accredited Free Zone.

Although Cheboygan County is a part of the AFZ, it is also categorized as a buffer county, which is a county adjacent to the four counties of the MAZ (Alpena, Alcona, Montmorency, and Oscoda counties). As required by the Memorandum of Understanding, MDARD has been testing herds in buffer counties over the past year. This herd was identified as part of that surveillance program.

This is the first recorded case of a bovine TB-positive cattle herd in Cheboygan County; however, the disease was detected in two free-ranging white-tailed deer from the county in 2010.

While state and federal agencies are taking significant steps to manage the disease, the continued hunting of deer in this area is an important tool in maintaining healthy deer and cattle populations.

More information about bovine TB can be found at Michigan.gov/bovineTB.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is reporting another case of confirmed bovine tuberculosis in a Cheboygan County beef herd, located in Michigan’s Accredited Free Zone (AFZ).
Michigan Farm Bureau

In a Dec. 3 message to county Farm Bureau leaders, MFB President Carl Bednarski broke the bad — but not surprising — news that the organization’s winter 2021 Core Programs were canceled to safeguard the health and well-being of members and staff alike. Using feedback collected by the MFB State Board of Directors over the past month, the following alternative structure has been approved for 2021.

In lieu of traditional Core Programs (Growing Together, Lansing Legislative Seminar and President’s Capital Summit) those dollars will be used to fund in-person or virtual district-level programming, structured at each district’s discretion and meeting at least one of these objectives:

  • Improve the effectiveness of county Farm Bureau boards, provide concentrated leadership development to county leaders and build organizational discipline.

  • Provide resources, training and leadership development for county Membership, Promotion and Education and Young Farmer chairs. 

  • Enhance member relationship building with state and federal officials while building their issue knowledge and advocacy skills. 

  • Build collaborative relationships amongst counties and districts through idea sharing, networking and best practice brainstorming. 

  • Host a hands-on Young Farmer leadership development activity in the form of district Discussion Meets, emphasizing need for and support of the MFB membership pipeline.

    With the help of home office staff, the meeting(s) will be hosted and coordinated by key leaders of the district including district directors, county Farm Bureau presidents, state P&E and Young Farmer committee members and MFB Regional Managers.

    All events or programming must be conducted before Nov. 1, 2021. Each district will have a budget of $12,500 to use toward their district event(s) to cover location, meals, speakers, programing, etc. Core Program staff will set up a system to ensure the events meet the meeting criteria and will streamline the survey and reporting process to ensure we have good feedback to gauge member satisfaction to this alternate format.

    In addition to these district meetings/programming, MFB will hold a series of virtual sessions/training, meeting the above objectives, that members can participate in at no charge. More information will be forthcoming regarding topics and dates.

    MFB program areas that traditionally deliver Core Programs will work with corresponding state committees (if applicable) to provide county-customizable resources and templates to execute local virtual and in-person programming during the continued uncertainty of 2021. 

    MFB staff contact: Justin Hein, 517-679-4781

In a Dec. 3 message to county Farm Bureau leaders, MFB President Carl Bednarski broke the news that the organization’s winter 2021 Core Programs were canceled to safeguard the health and well-being of members and staff alike.
Michigan Farm Bureau

Michigan Farm Bureau President Carl Bednarski, in delivering his annual address to the organization's membership virtually, focused on several wins for agriculture, the challenge of COVID-19, the work of the MFB Family of Companies to provide for those in need during the pandemic, and finally, the election. (Photo by Michigan Farm News)

LANSING MI, Nov. 4, 2020 — Despite several major challenges in 2020, headlined by fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan Farm Bureau President Carl Bednarski, a Tuscola County farmer, urged Farm Bureau members to recognize the economic turnaround in major commodity markets, setting the stage for a better 2021.

Delivering his annual address virtually on Nov. 4, during the opening session of the organization's virtual 101st state annual meeting — themed “Building for the Future,” Bednarski commended members for their ingenuity and creativity as county Farm Bureau leaders and as farmers.

“Our lives changed; the world changed,” Bednarski said regarding COVID-19. “There was panic, and people were scared. But agriculture knew we needed to continue what we do best — produce food.”

Bednarski focused on several wins for agriculture amid the challenges of COVID-19, noting the organization’s focus and success in reversing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order issued in early April, effectively shutting down greenhouses, nurseries, and landscapers. 

“The timing could not have been worse,” Bednarski said. “With product ready to be shipped to consumers, why didn’t (Gov. Whitmer) at least give growers the option to show they could abide by the rules?”  

Bednarski said more than 56,000 responses were generated from an MFB-issued Action Alert to members, adding the response was 33 times bigger than any previous alerts issued by the organization. 

“We were able to call out the flaws in the EO and make accommodations for producers to sell their products and get back to work in the fields,” Bednarski said. “I was extremely proud of our members for how they handled this issue. It showed the strength and unity in agriculture and the role Farm Bureau played.” 

Bednarski said the organization was called upon to assist members and their employees in their legal challenge to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services mandated testing requirement of farmworkers, citing civil rights and discrimination concerns.

“Even though farmers and farmworkers knew they faced an uphill battle, and ultimately lost their case, they knew this organization stood behind them in their efforts,” Bednarski said. “It’s another great example of how your organization is constantly working for you and for Michigan agriculture.”

MFB also assisted members in June to take legal action challenging the new National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit issued by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy that, according to Bednarski, “largely ignores livestock industry recommendations and the most basic agronomic standards.”

“The potential implications of EGLE’s unrealistic permit requirements is just the first step toward more overly-burdensome regulations impacting all of Michigan agriculture — livestock and crop operations alike,” Bednarski said. “Regardless of farm size and regardless of whether we’re talking manure or commercial fertilizers, the threat is real.”

On the economic front, Bednarski acknowledged the “tough spot” farmers were put in due to retaliatory tariffs during intense trade negotiations with China and the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, but commended the Trump administration’s support of agriculture throughout process. 

“It was a breath of fresh air to hear President Trump make agriculture a priority during trade negotiations with China, Japan, Canada, Mexico and now the European Union,” Bednarksi said. “Those of us in agriculture recognized the game that was being played — we had seen it before.” 

As a result of those tough negotiations and the new Phase-1 trade deal signed last January, Bednarski predicted better days ahead for producers, with China making record purchases of U.S. corn and soybeans, which are reflected in the markets during fall-harvest.

With his annual address coming just a day after arguably one of the most contentious and controversial elections in recent memory, Bednarski commended the work of County Candidate Evaluation Committees for recommending “Friends of Agriculture” endorsements to MFB’s AgriPac. 

“Yesterday’s results at polls reflect on successes and change,” Bednarski said. “Amid a volatile election cycle, many of Michigan Farm Bureau’s AgriPac-endorsed Friends of Agriculture proved victorious in their general election races — including several hard-fought and highly contested races.  

“Unfortunately, it appears we’ll have to wait a few more days before we know if President Trump will continue to be there for our farmers, as he has been throughout the last four years,” he added.

Calling it a memorable election for agriculture, Bednarksi thanked members for their efforts to meet with candidates on their farms to understand the needs of farmers and rural communities, noting their efforts will need to continue.

“As final official election results are determined, Michigan agriculture will face additional challenges and opportunities to assist those newly elected officials to understand agriculture’s concerns and the impact of their future policy decisions,” Bednarski said.

In addition to assisting farmer members navigate the challenges of a pandemic, he said the Farm Bureau Family of Companies staff, insurance agents and members stepped up to help those in need in a big way, including the “We’re in This Together” initiative to support local restaurants, and the “Million Meals Challenge.”

“Together, in a one-week campaign, Farm Bureau agents, members, insureds and staff raised more than $183,000 for families in need,” Bednarski said. “Those dollars helped the organization surpass their goal, raising enough for 1.1 million meals for Michigan children and families affected by the pandemic.” 

Watch President Bednarski's annual address here.
Despite several major challenges in 2020, Michigan Farm Bureau President Carl Bednarski urged Farm Bureau members to recognize the economic turnaround in major commodity markets, setting the stage for a better 2021.

State News

By Katie Eisenberger

Teenagers!?! Am I right??? We want to connect with them, but sometimes figuring that out isn’t as straightforward as reaching elementary students.

Our kindergarteners enjoy meeting a farmer and reading an ag-accurate book while sitting on their classroom rug. Third-graders look forward to the FARM Science Lab arriving for a day of hands-on learning. Fifth-graders engage with the FARM Crate or a county Project RED (Rural Education Day) event.

Then we have our middle schoolers, who turn into high schoolers, who then graduate to attend a trade school, college or head into the workforce. To help county Farm Bureaus develop stronger engagement points for grades 6-12 and beyond, the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture has set up the 2021 MFA High School and Collegiate Pail Program. (Play your cards right and it might also strengthen your membership pipeline at the same time.) 

County Farm Bureaus can recognize, connect and strengthen relationships with high school students and Collegiate Farm Bureau members with MFB feed buckets pails filled with resources that can spark conversations and connect the county with these future members. Four add-on packages can boost your county’s giveaway game at career fairs, honor state FFA degree recipients or graduating students, and boost brand awareness at county fairs and farm visits.

Each basic pail ($9) includes Collegiate Farm Bureau and Young Farmer program promotional material; an “Engage at Any Age” postcard (customizable for your county); networking and engagement tips; a panel of county-specific information (customizable); and suggestions for other county Farm Bureau touch points, like scholarship information, Young Farmer contests, social media and website links.

Four add-on packages are available for an additional $3 per pail:

  • Be Agriculture is for use at career fairs or college nights. Present one to FFA chapter officers or 4-H county representatives during National FFA/National 4H Week, or as giveaways or participation prizes during farm or industry tour. Contents include a career-themed Ag Mag, ‘Be Agriculture’ sticker and a Be Agriculture student handout.
  • On the Farm packs are great for giving to youth participating in youth safety events, livestock shows or county fairs. Connect with FFA Greenhands (first-year members) during your local FFA chapter’s Greenhand Ceremony, or give them away at farm visits to help promote Farm Bureau events. Contents include an MFB-branded first aid or sewing kit, a copy of Michigan Farm News and an MFB-branded emergency phone number magnet.
  • Recognition add-ons are good for presenting to county FFA and 4-H members earning state awards in Proficiency, Academic Excellence or State Degrees during their chapter/club annual banquet. Use them to award top showman in each livestock specie/age division at the county fair or local livestock show; to honor graduating FFA, 4-H or Collegiate members, or your county scholarship recipients. Contents include a customizable congratulations certificate and an MFB vinyl file folder with Collegiate membership and Young Farmer program information.
  • Be Mindful packages are aimed at encouraging students to practice good wellness and mindfulness practices. They’re good gifts for 4-H or FFA seniors as they move into their next phase of life, whether in post-secondary education or the workforce. Contents include a farm-stress post card, MFB stress ball or fidget spinner, and a Farm Bureau-themed journal/coloring booklet.

Through cost-share support from the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture, county Farm Bureaus will get half off their first $600 of pail purchases made by April 30 through the Michigan Agriculture in the Classroom store. Orders must be made by the county administrative manager from March 1 through April 30; click here.

Direct your questions and orders through your county administrative manager. Like I do with my 13-year-old, set some phone reminders and post a checklist on the bathroom mirror so you don’t miss the April 30 deadline. Your county won’t want to miss a chance to recognize, connect and strength relationships with your future members!

Also feel free to contact me with any questions!

Last year was tough and we’re all eager for 2021. Even if the New Year isn’t magical it still gives us a sense of light at the end of the tunnel and a new beginning. With that new beginning, one thing remains the same: We’re still all in this togethe


Tricia McDonald joined Gratiot County Farm Bureau in 2017, first getting involved simply because she had friends to go to events with. Fast forward three short years and Tricia notched an outstanding achievement as the top membership writer statewide. In the 2019-20 membership year, she signed up 15 new regular members.

As Gratiot’s then-new Young Farmer chair, McDonald originally set out simply to share some of the value she’d found in the organization, starting with some friends who weren’t yet members. But she quickly encountered an obstacle that dogs membership writers everywhere: Many of her prospects had been members previously but lost sight of that membership’s value.

The question is legendary and worth a good think: What does Farm Bureau membership offer that’s valuable enough to attract prospective members?

Tricia started with her own Young Farmer group’s current events and how they might be enhanced to provide more value.

“That really lit a fire and led to our Young Farmer group committing to hosting events and facilitating programs that met members’ needs and showcased the value of membership,” McDonald said. “We did a Young Farmer barbecue, which was later paired with a membership ice cream social.

“It also led to us developing our Feed-a-Farmer program.”

Feed-a-Farmer was the brainchild of a previous Young Farmer chair who ran out of time to execute it. When COVID restrictions made traditional events difficult — or impossible — McDonald thought it warranted revisiting as a way to demonstrate membership value even within healthy safeguards.

The way Gratiot’s Young Farmers drew it up, Feed-a-Farmer eligibility only required the recipient farm’s primary contact to be a member — but the whole crew got fed a solid meal livened up with a generous sprinkle of Farm Bureau seasoning…

Back at the clubhouse, McDonald turned her attention to striking a better balance between new-member recruitment and existing-member retention.

She encouraged her Young Farmer peers to bring a non-member friend to the group’s annual chili cookoff and cornhole tournament — a fun networking opportunity already on the calendar. Each cornhole team was to have at least one current Farm Bureau member onboard to help ensure good interaction between existing and prospective members…

Next thing you know? Tricia’s the state’s top volunteer writer of new regular members.

“Farm Bureau impacts every individual in the ag industry in a different way, but it’s valuable to everyone in some way,” McDonald said. “Find someone in agriculture, whether a farmer or industry professional, and really listen to them.

“Learn what’s important to them, and it’ll help you find the value they’re looking for. Once you know their interests, talk about how the organization could benefit them through its various programs, discounts, or just the ability to network and meet others in the area and industry.

“Most importantly, remember it doesn’t hurt to just ask. Now might not be a good time for them to join, but at least you’ve planted a seed for the future.”

Planting seeds. That is how we grow.

Tricia McDonald joined Gratiot County Farm Bureau in 2017, first getting involved simply because she had friends to go to events with. Fast forward three short years and Tricia notched an outstanding achievement as the top membership writer statewide

Continuing our series of real talk with real experts about the real issues facing Michigan farmers, Farmers After Hours: Rural Access, Wellness and You will explore the struggles and resources available for rural healthcare, wellness and support. By breaking down the building blocks of overall health — medical healthcare, rural health trends and mental health — this series will help viewers build awareness of their current health habits and connect with resources to improve their overall well-being.

  • March 17: Live Farmer Panel
  • March 24: Rural Access: The Struggle is Real; healthcare & broadband; Eric Frederick, Connect Michigan
  • March 31: Creating Connectivity: Resources for Rural Areas; healthcare & broadband; The Rural Broadband Association and Rural Health Association
  • April 7: Rural Health Trends; mental health, suicide and cancer; Drs. Elena Stoffel and Joe Himle, University of Michigan
  • April 14: Rural Trends: Diffusion and Meaningful Solutions; mental health, suicide and cancer; Kim Vapor and Dr. Joe Himle, University of Michigan
  • April 21: Farm Stress: The Physical and Mental Toll; real-life stressors, tolls and stigma reduction; Charlotte Halverson, AgriSafe
  • April 28: Combating Stress: Tactics, Resources and Networks; Eric Karbowski, MSU Extension
  • May 5: Live Ask-the-Expert Panel

Register for the new Farmers After Hours series here. Catch up on previous series here on YouTube.

MFB staff contact: Kate Thiel517-679-5741


Continuing our series of real talk with real experts about the real issues facing Michigan farmers, Farmers After Hours: Rural Access, Wellness and You will explore the struggles and resources available for rural healthcare, wellness and support.

Coming Events

DateEvents
There are no records.