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Top Story

Byline Kathy Chase

Help the youth showing their animals at the Eaton County Fair!  The fair has closed to the public this year due to COVID-19.  However, the fair is allowing the kids to show their animals to be judged with only family and friends present.  The fair will then put the animals up on a virtual auction.  These young people have put a lot of effort and money in these animals and need our support.  Eaton County Farm Bureau is a proud sponsor of the Eaton County Fair's 2020 Virtual Youth Livestock Auction.  Please support the youth in this county by participating in the virtual auction.  Go to www.eatoncountyfair.com for details.   

Help the youth showing their animals at the fair by participating in the Eaton County Fair Virtual Auction.

County News

Byline Kathy Chase

Help the youth showing their animals at the Eaton County Fair!  The fair has closed to the public this year due to COVID-19.  However, the fair is allowing the kids to show their animals to be judged with only family and friends present.  The fair will then put the animals up on a virtual auction.  These young people have put a lot of effort and money in these animals and need our support.  Eaton County Farm Bureau is a proud sponsor of the Eaton County Fair's 2020 Virtual Youth Livestock Auction.  Please support the youth in this county by participating in the virtual auction.  Go to www.eatoncountyfair.com for details.   

Help the youth showing their animals at the fair by participating in the Eaton County Fair Virtual Auction.
By Katelyn Thompson and Hannah Lange

Agriscience Educator Kylie Thompson is eager to launch a new FFA chapter this fall in Bellevue.


Eaton County Farm Bureau board member Kylie Thompson truly embodies this line from E.M. Tiffany’s FFA Creed: “I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words, but of deeds…”

After decades of inactivity, Thompson’s pulled off an achievement for the envy of rural communities statewide: She’s brought her home FFA chapter back from the dead.

Bellevue’s FFA chapter fizzled out in the early 1990s after several decades of activity. And it’s taken all of Kylie’s passion for agriculture, students and FFA itself to raise this phoenix from the ashes.

“It can seem like a daunting task, but if you surround yourself with others who believe in your cause, all things are possible,” she said.

Re-igniting an ag program at Kylie’s alma mater started with the interest from Bellevue Superintendent Kathy Mohney. Seeing area schools with FFA chapters and agriculture programs, she started to wonder: “Why not Bellevue?”

That was really all that was necessary to set Kylie in motion. Finding elated community support, she quickly saw students signing up for agriculture classes scheduled to be offered in the fall of 2020 — a benefit to the students and a promising asset for Bellevue Schools overall.

“The foundation being laid for Bellevue FFA is a strong one, built on leadership, community and passion,” Kylie said.

That truth was verified by a successful fundraiser held last weekend — a clever drive-through chicken dinner hosted at Bellevue Elementary School and benefitting the district’s nascent agriculture and FFA program.

Donations totaling $6,700 from approximately 550 hungry community supporters.

Knowing hers isn’t the only community in need of a new or rekindled FFA program, Kylie has several tips for likeminded leaders looking to spark the same kind of progress she’s made in the southwest corner of Eaton County.

Once identifying the district in need — the self-evident starting point for most would-be FFA-starters — the key components of Kylie’s process break down like this:

  • School support is essential from the get-go, so getting the staff and superintendent on board with your plan is vital.
  • Contact state FFA staff early on to learn important timelines and program requirements.
  • Convene an advisory committee of community members to help maintain that community’s support for your program and to ensure its priorities are incorporated.
  • Coordinating with the school district’s financial staff, draft a budget to cover classroom needs, FFA project supplies and event expenses.
  • Begin fund raising- be resourceful and reach out to supporters
  • In coordination with your school district’s curriculum officials, develop class structures and lesson plans, always keeping in mind your students’ needs and interests.
  • Develop an outreach plan to keep your community informed about — and convinced of! — the value of your program.

Maybe most importantly, she adds: “Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Good ag education is worth it!”

Katelyn Thompson represents District 5 on MFB’s state P&E committee. Hannah Lange is MFB’s regional manager for the central region.


After decades of inactivity, Kylie Thompson, Eaton County Farm Bureau Board Member, has pulled off an achievement for the envy of rural communities statewide: She’s brought her home FFA chapter in Bellevue, back from the dead.

By Kathy Chase


As farmers, Eaton County Farm Bureau members dedicate their lives to feeding people and producing healthy food for families.  Because of this dedication and the early closing of the schools due to Covid-19, the board of directors decided to donate funds toward the school lunch programs for kids in need in our county.  Eaton County Farm Bureau had allocated funds to conduct Ag education programs in the schools.  Unfortunately, we were unable to do the programs before they closed.  It is these funds that our board of directors decided to donate to the county’s school districts.  Bellevue, Charlotte, Eaton Rapids, Grand Ledge, Olivet and Potterville school districts each received $200 toward their lunch program for students in need.  In addition to the funds, the school districts were given links to educational material from My American Farm/American Farm Bureau and Michigan Farm Bureau for their teachers to use in virtual lessons.


Eaton County Farm Bureau members dedicate their lives to feeding people and producing healthy food for families. Because of this dedication and the early closing of the schools due to Covid-19, the board of directors decided to donate funds toward t

State News


In late May, Michigan Farm Bureau, alongside a coalition of commodity organizations and more than 120 farms, took historic action to challenge the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy’s permit regulating the state’s large livestock farms by filing an administrative appeal with the Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules.

The undertaking has strong roots in your member-developed policy that – in many instances – conveys support for common sense and science-based regulation while admonishing regulations that are unfounded or overly burdensome. Your policy also carries messages that emphasize a need to balance environmental protection with economic realities. This balance is what ensures farms remain in business and that our natural resources are well cared for.

As county Farm Bureau members, you first demonstrated a grassroots response to the large livestock permit in December 2019 when the draft was published by the department. More than 800 farmers, and many commodity organizations, voiced their opposition by communicating the economic devastation the permit would have on Michigan agriculture because of its far-reaching impacts.

You responded, I believe, because you recognize that extending these regulations beyond livestock producers to the crop farmers that utilize their manure nutrients – among other ill-conceived provisions – sets a dangerous precedent for broader, future industry regulation that’s not based in science.

Michigan Farm Bureau isn’t giving up and we know you won’t either. The Michigan Milk Producers Association, Michigan Pork Producers Association, Michigan Allied Poultry Industries, Dairy Farmers of America, Select Milk Producers, Foremost Farms and more than 120 individual permit holding farmers have united in this process to challenge the provisions with the goal of striking them from the general permit.

Through Michigan Farm Bureau, the coalition hosted two media roundtables on June 3 to proactively provide an opportunity for select media to speak with issue experts, including permitted farmers, to better understand large livestock farms and the impact the permit has on the agriculture sector.

We encourage you to utilize the resources below on the issue and share them with fellow Farm Bureau members. You can also continue following Michigan Farm Bureau publications for updates, as the administrative challenge process can go on for months.

Questions related to the legal aspects of the challenge can be directed to Allison Eicher at 517-679-5315 while questions related to the technical aspects of the permit can be directed to Laura Campbell at 517-679-5332.

In late May, Michigan Farm Bureau, alongside a coalition of commodity organizations and more than 120 farms, took historic action to challenge the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy’s permit regulating the state’s large livest
Megan Sprague & Amelia Miller


Function over form: Online meetings can be clunky, but they get the job done keeping people on task and in the good company of friendly faces. 

COVID-19 brought a whole new set of frustrations to the farming community, with in-person gatherings put on hold across Michigan. Even so, Farm Bureau members have found ways to connect virtually, sharing information, conducting business and checking in on friends and neighbors.

Young Farmers at the county, district and state level have been using video conferencing tools to update each other on topical industry issues and more light-hearted topics like new animal additions and quarantine hobbies.

Bridget Moore, District 7 representative on the state Young Farmer committee, brought county chairs together virtually via Zoom.

“Normally it’s important and enjoyable to talk with fellow farmers and friends, but during COVID it’s made us realize our farming friends and Young Farmer programs have become even more important to us,” she said. “Sharing what is positive in our lives has kept us uplifted and trending toward a summer of hope.”

The state committee’s District 9 representative, Jeff Dreves, has met remotely with his county chairs as well.

“Meeting virtually and being able to actually see people’s faces is a really interesting way for us to stay connected through this,” he said. “This truly shows us how strong we are as an organization, going to any lengths to discuss hot-button issues and see how everyone is doing.”

Promotion and Education volunteers are also taking advantage of virtual meetings. Several districts have hosted chair gatherings online to commiserate in the cancelation of spring events, to brainstorm virtual engagement opportunities for connecting with students and teachers, and to support each other as spring farming rolls along.

Counties have created videos for teachers whose students were unable to attend an in-person Project RED this spring. Teachers used these videos as a part of their virtual teaching. Other counties have delivered snacks to healthcare workers or shared agricultural information on Facebook to connect with their community.

Participants on District 3’s P&E chair call agreed a virtual meeting was in some ways easier than meeting in person: nobody had to drive, it took almost exactly an hour, and the planning was minimal. In an unsettling time, even meeting online provides some normalcy and the comfort of seeing familiar faces.

If you’re interested in hosting a virtual Young Farmer or Promotion & Education meeting, reach out to your MFB Regional Manager or your district’s representative on the state Young Farmer or Promotion & Education committees.

Megan Sprague and Amelia Miller manage MFB’s Young Farmer and Promotion & Education programs, respectively.

Young Farmers at the county, district and state level have been using video conferencing tools to update each other on topical industry issues and more light-hearted topics like new animal additions and quarantine hobbies.

Submit your Farm Bureau policy idea and be entered to win a LG TONE PRO HBS-780 Wireless Stereo Headset. 

Michigan Farm Bureau’s policy development process is time-tested and successful. It thrives on consistent and quality input from county Farm Bureau members like you.

You don’t have to join a committee, attend an event or even do extensive research to offer your input. Any member can weigh in on the more than 100 policies that guide Michigan Farm Bureau’s work to represent, protect and enhance the agriculture sector.

We’re looking to capture your ideas, whether they’re based on challenges you’ve experienced locally or statewide opportunities you see for the agriculture sector.

We're rolling out some prizes too: We'll be giving away a LG TONE PRO wireless stereo headset every two weeks through the end of July. 

All you have to do is take a few minutes and share your ideas for policy development via the electronic submission option.

To help members get discussion and ideas flowing, we’ve prepared briefs on emerging issues impacting the agriculture sector. Topics include:

Looking to learn more on how to engage in policy development? Contact your county Farm Bureau.

Submit your Farm Bureau policy idea and be entered to win a LG TONE PRO HBS-780 Wireless Stereo Headset.

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