County News Archive

Join us at this kickoff event to learn about the new Michigan Manure Hauler Certification Program!

Kickoff Event Details:

  • Free Event
  • Tuesday, March 31
  • 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Located at AgroLiquid - 3055 M-21 St. Johns, MI 48879
  • Refreshments and lunch provided
  • In addition to information about the certification program, educational and regulatory updates will be included.
  • This event serves as an opportunity to learn about the new program. Training and certification is not completed at this event.

About the Michigan Manure Hauler Certification Program:

The Michigan Manure Hauler Certification Program is a voluntary training and certification designed for anyone who hauls and applies manure. Kickoff participants will learn about the details of the new certification program which has the following goals:

  • Prevent manure application problems.
  • Increase nutrient management plan implementation.
  • Demonstrate responsible manure application.
  • Increase the base level of manure management knowledge of all employees.


Kickoff Event Contact:

Tess Van Gorder, Michigan Farm Bureau (517) 323-6711 or [email protected]

Learn more about the new Michigan Manure Hauler Certification Program

Join us at the Hastings Public Library for Family Science Night.  We will be hosting a station on crop science.
Michigan Farm News Media

It’s official. President Trump formally signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) Wednesday, marking the final step here in the U.S. on a three-way trade deal he called a “colossal victory” for farmers.

Attention now turns to Canadian lawmakers who are expected to begin the USMCA ratification process as a replacement to the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, within the next few months, according to reports.

Mexico’s Senate approved the trade deal in June 2019. Once approved by Canada, the agreement would take effect in 90 days.

Under terms of the new trade deal, U.S. agricultural exports are expected to increase by $2 billion and result in an overall increase of $65 billion in gross domestic product (GDP).

According to Michigan Farm Bureau’s National Legislative Counsel John Kran, USMCA, once ratified by Canada, will be good news for Michigan agriculture, particularly the state’s troubled dairy economy plagued with below cost of production prices over the last five years.

“This agreement will resolve a number of long-standing concerns and trade disputes, including the elimination of Canada’s controversial Class-7 for dairy products that allowed surplus milk from that country being dumped into U.S. markets, far below our domestic cost of production,” Kran said. “It also includes updated provisions for advancements in technology, such as bio-technology standards, for the first-time ever.”

Figures from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development indicate $1.1 billion worth of exports already come from agriculture, with $902 million going to Canada and $174 million to Mexico.

Today’s signing increases “optimism” for all American farmers, said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall.

“We’re grateful for the advances, but we’re also realists eager to see results – especially for our dairy and wheat producers,” Duvall said in a statement. “We know it will take time for the new deals to go into effect and translate into increased sales … (but) we’re eager to get back into the full swing supplying safe, high-quality food and agricultural products around the world.”

The formal signing of USMCA comes on the heels of a string of trade successes, including the phase-one agreement with China signed last month and the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement signed last fall.

“Today is a good day for American agriculture,” said U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue.

“Throughout this process, there were many detractors who said it couldn’t be done,” Perdue continued. “But this is further proof that President Trump’s trade negotiation strategy is working. This agreement shows the rest of the world the United States is open for business.”

Perdue said USMCA is critical for America’s farmers, increasing market access to the country’s two closest neighbors. “I am excited to see the economic benefits of this agreement increase the prosperity of all Americans, especially those living in rural America,” he concluded.

President Trump formally signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)

Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) urges members to voice concern with the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to modify the nation’s Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS).

You can help by texting the phrase “MI CORN” to the number “52886,” then following the instructions provided to send a pre-written or customized message to the agency before the comment period closes on Nov. 29.

EPA’s proposal is problematic because they want to use a three-year rolling average of recommended Small Refinery Exemptions instead of the actual average, which is much higher.

Read our related story to understand how the exemptions work:

Comment period closes November 29.

Michigan Farm Bureau's (MFB) state-level policy development (PD) committee deliberated hundreds of policy recommendations from 62 county Farm Bureaus.

This is MFB’s 100th annual meeting, where policies will be considered by nearly 500 voting delegates to set the organization’s course for 2020.

“After 100 years, the fact that this process is still intact today, and that it creates meaningful ideas, proves how grassroots policy debate is what makes this organization so strong,” said Renee McCauley, a dairy farmer and vice-chair of the committee. “This has been a lengthy process that started months ago with the counties having conversations about policy, and each and every policy submitted by the counties to the state committee was discussed.”

Policy Discussion Schedule 

December 3: Delegate Session 1:30 – 5:00 p.m.

#238 National Dairy Program

#252 International Trade

December 4: Delegate Session 9:15 – 11:45 a.m.

#35 TB – Mycobacterium Bovis Tuberculosis

#89 Wildlife Management

#97 Highways and Funding

December 4: Delegate Session 1:45 – 3:30 p.m.

#44 State Energy Policy

#75 Farmland Protection

December 5: Delegate Session 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

#82 Nonpoint Source Pollution and Watershed Management

#86 Water Use in the Great Lakes Basin

Any listed policy not covered in the suggested time slot will be covered during the next scheduled session.

A small sampling of policies with significant amendments are summarized below. The complete slate of recommendations will be available online in early November.

Environmental Protection and Authority

Three amendments are being proposed within the organization’s Environmental Protection and Authority policy to support:

  1. Continuing work with the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy on developing a general permit specific to slaughterhouses, permitting land application of process wastewater without advance treatment.
  2. Allowing Part 117 licensed septic haulers to also haul food processing wastewater and not require Part 121 industrial waste haulers.
  3. Supporting legislative or administrative changes that would require a formal stakeholder committee be involved in all permit developments and rewrites so input is balanced. Additionally, that all National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) writing/rewrite committees should be chaired by an unbiased third party. 

Non-point Source Pollution and Watershed Management

Mark Daniels, a greenhouse grower representing District 8 on the state PD committee, indicated that delegates will review provisions on emerging contaminants. The new language states that before new regulations are developed, the financial impact and liability to the affected community must be determined.

“We have language we’re asking to be inserted which will require that modern, scientific processes are used both in the investigation and the setting of policy when it comes to contaminants such as PFAS,” Daniels said.

There are two additional proposed amendments on other topics important to agriculture: First, in the existing section that supports the establishment of a statewide septic task force, adding language to call for a “set of standards for mandatory time-of-sale inspections." Second, inclusion of language to support creation of a state-funded cover crop and filter strip cost-share program. 

Water Use in the Great Lakes Basin

Staying in natural resources and environmental topics, the committee is also asking delegates to approve language instructing MFB to establish a member task force on water use. The group would be charged with “examining and evaluating uses of Michigan’s vast freshwater resources and to make recommendations of steps to be taken to facilitate better water policy relative to agricultural, economic growth and population stability.”

Highways and Funding

In the highways policy, delegates will consider language that would further define the organization’s support for user fees by adding the examples of “gas tax, registration or other user fees,” in addition to supporting local options for raising dedicated road funds through user-based fees.

Additional language was also added to show support for research related to warranties for proper construction and longevity of road and bridge construction.

“Our members are passionate about where our tax dollars go and how they’re being used to fund roads and other improvements,” said Rob Haag, a sugar beet, bean and grain farmer representing District 6 on the state PD committee. “Making sure we have representation and we’re being heard at the state level is very important to our membership.”

Bovine Tuberculosis (TB)

“There was a lot of discussion about the lack of traction we’ve gained in the past (on TB) and how we can give that policy more teeth moving forward,” said Nate Clarke, one of three Young Farmer representatives on the committee, in reference to the proposed changes delegates will consider in the TB policy. 

The policy currently lists tactics the organization supports to “expedite the eradication of TB.” Proposed additions to the list include supporting:

  1. A bounty for deer taken in any TB-positive or bordering county.
  2. A late hunt; conducted annually in February or March.
  3. Funding the TB program from the Department of Natural Resource’s budget, as opposed to the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development’s.
  4. The year-round harvest of deer by any legal hunter (without a permit) in high-risk areas and TB-positive or bordering counties.
  5. Access to disease control permits for producers with a completed Wildlife Risk Mitigation Plan to reduce deer and elk interaction with livestock feed to prevent disease risk. Additionally, allowing farmers in a TB-infected area to shoot deer at any time within a designated farm perimeter.

Delegates will also vote on including language to further underscore opposition to feeding and baiting. The proposed amendment emphasizes “Strict enforcement of the feeding and baiting ban, including penalties for shooting a deer over a bait pile, be charged and prosecuted the same as poaching throughout the state.” 

International Trade

Delegates will review and potentially move forward select national-level recommendations for consideration at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) annual meeting in January 2020. 

Among them are proposed changes to AFBF International Trade policy to protect American agriculture from scenarios like what Michigan growers experienced this past year when Turkey flooded the U.S. market with highly-subsidized dried tart cherries, or when Mexico and Peru dumped asparagus into American markets.

Language additions include supporting changes to federal Anti-dumping and Countervailing Duty laws to:

  • Change the time frame and data used to determine dumping that recognizes domestic specialty crops and regional seasonal industries' production cycles;
  • Provide a process for regional/seasonal industries to petition for countervailing and antidumping duties.


Overview of policy recommendations to be debated at the State Annual in December. Policy discussion schedule included.

The Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) Youth Discussion Meet is a contest sponsored by the MFB Young Farmer program.

All high school students interested in agriculture, except past Michigan Farm Bureau Youth Discussion Meet state winners, are eligible to compete. While the regional contests are based on FFA boundaries and hosted by FFA chapters, competitions are open to ALL high school youth.

Region I (Barry)
October 15, 2019
Vicksburg High School

RSVP by October 8 to: Noreen Heikes
[email protected]

Contest Guide:

The Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) Youth Discussion Meet is a contest sponsored by the MFB Young Farmer program.

We are looking for Ionia County Members to serve as Delegates at the State Annual Meeting.

December 3-5, 2019

Amway/DeVos Place, Grand Rapids

Registration Deadline: October 25.

    • Meet others dedicated to the future of Agriculture
    • Help steer the Michigan Farm Bureau priorities for the coming year
    • Learn the complexity of the one organization that represents the interests of all Michigan farms

Video: What does it take to be a delegate? From 2018


We are looking for members to serve as delegates at the State Annual Meeting.

Career Focus Conference

Wondering what to do after high school? Be Agriculture!

Who: Any high school students interested in agriculture?

What: An exploration conference to visit agriculture industry businesses, learning firsthand the various careers available to you after high school. Unsure of what's after high school? No Problem! Pick a track that interests you the most and come with a willingness to learn more!

When: October 22, 2019


Where: Lansing Crown Plaza Hotel

Agricultural Labor and Safety Services

Agricultural Labor & Safety Services (ALSS) through Michigan Farm Bureau offers a wide variety of products and services related to regulatory compliance in the agricultural industry and related businesses.

Below are some of the items available to members:

  • ALSS Newsletter Subscription - $145 per year. Includes minimum 6 newsletters per year along with a set of Federal and State mandated Farm Labor Poster Sets, and including Spanish poster.

  • Farm Labor Poster Sets w/o Subscription - $49.95 per set of 3

  • “ALSS Headliner” updates – Just send us your email and we’ll send samples of what’s in our newsletters


Also, offering a variety of on-farm consulting services tailored to meet your needs:

    • Occupational Safety & Health Administration requirements
    • Wage and hour rules
    • Seasonal worker requirements and immigration laws
    • Department of Transportation requirements
    • Good Agricultural Practices certification
    • Food safety and security

Along with expert translation services and bilingual training.

Agricultural Labor & Safety Services (ALSS) through Michigan Farm Bureau offers a wide variety of products and services related to regulatory compliance in the agricultural industry and related businesses.

Lansing Legislative Seminar

Members are invited to attend Lansing Legislative Seminar February 26, 2019 at the Lansing Center.  Michigan Farm Bureau’s Lansing Legislative Seminar provides an opportunity for regular members to learn about issues affecting agriculture from expert speakers, network with Farm Bureau members and meet elected officials.    



Optional Tours

9am State Capitol Building Walking Tour

9:30am Michigan Supreme Court Tour



11am Registration

11:30am Lunch

2pm Issue Sessions (choose one)

                1. Right to Farm protection and zoning

                2. Funding for the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development and MSU

                3. Business planning issues

                4. Environmental topics such as MAEAP funding and water quality.

3:15pm Issue Sessions (choose One)

                1. Right to Farm protection and zoning

                2. Funding for the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development and MSU

                3. Business planning issues

                4. Environmental topics such as MAEAP funding and water quality.

4:30pm Reception with elected officials


Register by February 1st by contacting Barry County Farm Bureau (269)945-3443 or [email protected]


Conference information:


To learn more about Michigan Farm Bureau policy set by members visit: 

Members are invited to attend Lansing Legislative Seminar February 26, 2019 at the Lansing Center.

Hunting Lease Agreement

Hunting is a valuable tool for helping to manage wildlife, particularly the state's deer herd, which can cause significant crop damage and expose livestock to disease.

Hunting seasons for deer and other wildlife provide opportunities for landowners to profit from lease arrangements that provide hunters the ability to engage in the sport on the landowner's privately owned land in return for payment. Yet, many landowners are reluctant to allow hunters on their land due to liability concerns.

Download a sample hunting lease agreement.

Ag. Awareness Day 2019


We are proud to announce that our 14th annual Ag Awareness Day will take place May 16, 2019 at the Barry Expo Center.  This program is a partnership between Barry County Farm Bureau, Barry County Agricultural Society, Hastings FFA, Barry County MSU Extension and the Barry County MSUE 4-H program.

This high quality, hands on field trip provides education about agriculture and food production to over 500 Barry County third grade students from five school districts.  Over 50 qualified volunteer agricultural representatives and presenters donate their time in segmented repeated hands-on experiential workshops, which include topics on animal health, agronomy, dairy robotics, farm equipment and more.  All lessons presented are in accordance with the Michigan Curriculum Framework Standards and Benchmarks. 

If you are interested in getting involved by volunteering, sponsoring or learning more contact the Barry County Farm Bureau office at (269) 945-3443 [email protected]

We are proud to announce that our 14th annual Ag Awareness Day will take place May 16, 2019 at the Barry Expo Center

Growing Together Conference


Pictured: (back left) Austin & Katie Christie, Ella & Andrew Slocum, Tate Ulrich, John Mater (front left) Tom Newton and Trent Neal. 

Barry County Young Farmers attend the Growing Together Conference.  They joined some 500 attendees from all 65 county Farm Bureaus in downtown Grand Rapids to take part in the every-three-years event that layers the Voice of Agriculture and Young Farmer Leaders conferences into a Dagwood sandwich with something for everyone. 
Barry County Young Farmers attend the Growing Together Conference in Grand Rapids.

Farm Bureau offers members a dental plan administered by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.  For plan information and rates visit

To apply contact Barry County Farm Bureau (269) 945-3443

Farm Bureau offers members a dental plan


Farmland Preservation Public Meeting April 11 – 7pm at the Tyden Community Room 121 S. Church St. Hastings, to allow for community input.

They will discuss how to protect and preserve farmland and open spaces in Barry County. The Farmland Preservation is looking to approve an Open Space Preservation Ordinance along with amending the Agriculture Preservation Ordinance.

Farmland Preservation Public Meeting April 11 – 7pm at the Tyden Community Room

The Barry County Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee is inviting young farmers to tour Carbon Green BioEnergy.  Young farmers are ages 18-35     


Friday, April 12th


Carbon Green BioEnergy

7795 Saddlebag Lake Rd

Lake Odessa, MI 48849


RSVP to Young Farmer Chair Andrew Slocum: call/text (269) 223-1952 or email [email protected]

Young Farmers to tour Carbon Green BioEnergy April 12.