As the dividing line between the organization’s first and second centuries, Michigan Farm Bureau’s 100th annual meeting, Dec. 3-5 in Grand Rapids, offers attendees a unique opportunity to take part in an historic event.
Some routine features of the three-day conference will uphold and reinforce the comfort of routine — the annual changing of Farm Bureau’s seasons, out with the previous year and in with the new.
Other components will encourage members to take stock of what their now century-old organization has accomplished, just as it challenges them to meet the lofty expectations of a new age.
For the 14th consecutive year the event will take place at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel and DeVos Place Convention Center in downtown Grand Rapids.
All attendees should start at the beginning; registration will be open daily in the DeVos Secchia Lobby:
- 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3
- 7 a.m.–7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4
- 9 a.m.–noon Thursday, Dec. 5
The heartbeat of annual meeting is delegate session, taking place each day in DeVos Ballroom A:
- 1:30 p.m.–5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3
- 9:15 a.m.–11:45 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4
- 1:45 p.m.–3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4
- 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5
This year’s annual offers two opportunities for attendees to meet with their districts, some of which are new starting at this very event; MFB’s new redistricting plan means many members’ districts have changed.
District kickoff meetings (10–11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3) are the first official function of the annual meeting. District breakfasts begin the meeting’s final day (7:30–8:45 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 5).
Both sets of district meetings take place in various rooms in the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel; attendees should see their weeklong schedule booklet for details and maps.
Attendees should review the new arrangement and note whether their district as of Dec. 3 is different than they’re accustomed to. Redistricting will also affect several elections taking place during the meeting.
Meals & Receptions
All meal functions take place in DeVos ballrooms B-C-D; receptions are in the Grand Gallery pre-function area.
- President’s Luncheon — 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3
- Reception — 5:30–6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3
- Awards Banquet — 6:30–8:45 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3
- Promotion & Education Breakfast — 7:30–9 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4
- Centennial Lunch — noon–1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4
- Reception — 5:15–6:15 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4
- Centennial Gala — 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4
Tuesday is the day for Youth and Collegiate Discussion Meets, with preliminary rounds (9:15–11:15 a.m.) and the finals (1:45–2:30 p.m.) taking place in the DeVos Grand Gallery rooms. Winners will be announced at that evening’s awards banquet.
The same rooms on Wednesday will host the preliminary and semifinal rounds of the Young FarmerDiscussion Meet:
- 8:30–9:30 a.m. — registration
- 10–11:45 a.m. — rounds 1 & 2
- 1:30–2:15 p.m. — semifinal round
- 3:30–4:15 p.m. — final round (delegate stage, DeVos A)
The “sweet 16” semifinalists will be announced during the Centennial Luncheon (noon–1:30 p.m.); the finalists will be announced at 2:45 p.m. The winner will be announced during the pre-gala reception, approximately 5:30 p.m.
Ag Art Gallery
Members bringing their entries into the inaugural Agricultural Art Gallery should drop off their items at registration in the DeVos Secchia Lobby 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, Dec. 3. The live auction of the Art Gallery’s biggest vote-getters will take place during the Centennial Gala, starting at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday evening.
Awards & Recognition
MFB’s 2019 Presidential Volunteer of the Year will be announced during the President’s Luncheon, Tuesday, Dec. 3.
At Tuesday evening’s Awards Banquet, special guest AFBF President Zippy Duvall will help Michigan recognize its winners of Key Club honors, Young Farmer Leadership Awards and county Harvest for All.
MFB’s 2019 Educator of the Year will be recognized during the Promotion & Education Breakfast, Wednesday morning.
Other Fun Stuff
MFB’s 2019 Young Farmer Excellence winner, Lapeer County’s Joe Ankley, will preview his presentation for interested attendees 5:30–6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3 in the DeVos Grand Gallery D. Ankley will represent Michigan on the national stage at AFBF’s 2020 Annual Meeting and Convention, Jan. 17-22 in Austin, Texas.
After the Awards Banquet Tuesday night, fans of Spartan hoops can enjoy each other’s company at a basketball game watch party in the Ambassador Ballroom (Amway Grand Plaza Hotel). Izzo’s ballers will take on the Duke Blue Devils starting at 9:30 p.m.
Delegates bringing their youngsters should know there will be a field trip to the Grand Rapids’ Children’s Museum 9–11:45 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4. The excursion will gather and depart from the DeVos Grand Gallery pre-function area.